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7 Simple Tips To Achieve Artistic Bookshelves to Look like a Pro

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

Function or beauty?

How about mixing it up?

Add your personality, and let your home decor by you!

Here's how to do it with confidence whether you have a pile of books or a handful.

Tip 1- Symmetry

Think of the Rocky Mountains. Where does your eye naturally travel? Up … up ..up, sky-high to the peak.

That is how your bookshelves work.

If you want harmony and equilibrium, then place your tallest items on the shelf in the middle, forming a peak. Notice even the vertical books are stacked lowest to highest.

Bookshelves with Kate Moynihan mini framed paintings

Tip 2 – Balance

To strengthen uniformity, place your items pointing toward the middle of the book shelf. This will decrease the visual noise, or as my mother calls it: Topsy-turvey. Notice in the photograph above, left to right:

· The vase with the houses on the top shelf faces toward the center

· The bird’s beak points inward

· The cat faces toward mid-point

· The tallest edge of the silver bowl is toward the center

· All the framed art paintings are tipped facing the middle

Tip 3 – Height

Go beyond shelving your books vertically. Lay them horizontally and use them for height. Varying the rise and fall will add interest.

Framed birch tree note cards by artist Kate Moynihan

Tips for artistic bookshelves that are evenly spaced across.

In the symmetrical bookshelves, below, it is important to vary the height. This will add energy to that flat and stagnant bookshelf.

Small framed leaf painting by Kate Moynihan on bookshlef

Tip 4 – Texture

Keep things interesting by varying the texture.

The books add color, but your treasures will add texture.

Shiny, bumpy, knobby, rough, woven – if you like to spice things up, rely on texture. The luscious waxy green leaves of plants, natural or faux, add wonderful textures.

Tip 5 – Space

Don’t be afraid to leave some empty space.

Negative space is a place for the eye to rest, sort of like taking a break to catch your breath.

Tip 6 - Color

Bookcase cabinet with green accessories home of Lindsay Moynihan
Green book with green accessories.

Your books will offer a variety of color. There's several choices for how to display those colors.

-Sort by color.

For more impact gather all books in the same color family, and then display them together.

To increase the drama of a particular color, accessorize with that same color, too.


If you don't like the outside color, remove paper jackets. There's another option just waiting for you to decide how to display your favorite title.

-Add 'fillers.'

Head to the used book store and select by color!

Tip 7 – Personalize

The most important tip of all! You are styling your home for you and the people who live in it.

Personalize your shelves with things that you and your family love.

In my house, my favorite pieces to decorate shelves with are ... small art!

The #1 Tip for Artistic Bookshelves

Remember add YOUR personality to your home!

It doesn't have to be PERFECT, click link to read why.


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