Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rough Luxe Bookcase Styling


I think I may have done a post about this way back when forgive me if so.  I am working with a couple of clients that need a little styling help with their bookcases so I thought I would do a little post about styling.There is nothing like a well styled bookcase filled with books, accessories, collectibles, and photos that add layers and uniqueness to a space. Seek out well-loved accessories with a story behind them on Craigslist or eBay, and at flea markets or antique stores. If you have a collection, show it off! All of that history and personality will add to your home's character.

If you remember in one of my previous posts we were debating which shelving unit to purchase for one of my clients here    We ended up purchasing the Restoration Hardware version and now it is time to “style” it.

#1 First and Foremost add Books!

Bookcases without books look…well naked…For this look of course old leather-bound books are the best.  You can find them at any flea market,antique shop or second hand store. I have to say I  am not a big fan of the current trend of tearing off the covers of books so they all look the same. It turns them into skeletons.

Providence Ltd Design - ProvidenceLtdDesign

                               via Providence Ltd.

                                Vary the way books are stacked and displayed for interest.

low bookshelf and wingback chair

                                                                         image source unknown

via Traditional Home  Michael del Piero

                                     Michel delPiero

 #2 Add Some Natural Elements

I always like to add some natural elements into the mix. Coral is always great because it comes in so many different textures and colors.  I don’t think one has to have a beach house or “beachy” look to pull this off.

ciao! newport beach: bookcase styling



Lovely Display of coral,etc. in this beautiful cabinet in a beach house in Miami by Cindy Christensen. Love the Design!


I love how the inside is painted

#3 Vary the sizes and shapes of the objects

via jill hinson

#4 Add items that reflect your own personality

Include items from your travels, small pictures or paintngs, or photographs that hold particular meaning for you.

love display


via the style saloniste: Designer Jonathan Rachman

Jonathan Rachman

#5 (perhaps the most important) Hide the Uglies!

There are so many great baskets and boxes available there is no need to have toys, remotes, or other essentials on display

Nice shelving idea - painted to disappear.



dan marty via World of Interiors

Basket storage


#6 Add some antique and vintage items for character

Look for well loved accessories with a story behind them. If you have a collection, display it! All of that history and will add another layer of interest to your bookcase.

Centsational Girl » Blog Archive » Analysis of a Well Styled Bookcase

Old world elements on the bookshelf.  Makes if very interesting.

Gianetti Home


The bookcases at our lake house have a mixture of elements, old and new baskets, coral, vintage bowling pins, and new baskets to house magazines, books and games that aren’t very pretty to look at.


This bookcase by Beth Webb is on of my all-time favorites. It is beatifully styled but not “overstyled”. It looks like they might actually use the things on the bookcase if you know what I mean?

beth webb  love this

In my next post I will give you some ideas and inspiration for styling bookcases with a more transitional/traditional look.


  1. There's a common theme here, and you said it so well. "Hide the ulgy"
    So true, so true!!!

  2. Great tips here, Cindy, and fabulous photos! Thanks for the inspiration.


  3. I love doing this, it makes me happy to move things around as we clean and polish and I end up with a new and different look, so we don't get bored, ever. xx's

  4. Excellent guide and top-notch examples. I was drawn to how you have used the green on the ship lap or t&g paneling. It not only acts as a good backdrop, setting off the objects on display, but makes the space dance as the eye picks-up on the other greens in the room. The dark framing and shelves play a similar role. Imagine how dead and stagnant that end of the room would be had the book shelves been painted all one color to match the wall!

    In a different vain. I like how Jonathan Rachman has picked-up on the somber blue-gray of the shelves with books bound in a like color. In this case, using this solid color sets a mood and tone so fitting to the old world flavor of the items displayed.

    So much to inspire!

  5. Love your bookcase inspirations here Cindy. I just shared them on Google plus to remember these ideas. Gorgeous!
    Have a lovely weekend!
    xx, Heather

    1. Thanks Heather! Your blog just keeps getting better and better...loved the post on introverts and extroverts!

  6. Love This Post! My bookcases so need a makover.

  7. Hi Cindy,

    Great examples of bookcase styling. I constantly struggle with this and it's easier said than done! I'm going to save this post:) Thanks for sharing all these great ideas!

    Have a nice weekend!


  8. I love every single one of these. They're wonderful!

  9. There is so much inspiration to pull from these examples. Thanks, Cindy.

  10. ALWAYS such a great subject. The examples are gorgeous too!

  11. Wow, you put a lot of effort into this post - well done - so many great ideas and tips here. (And lovely pictures) x Sharon

  12. Cindy,
    Great post. I think my shelves get a bit stagnant this time of year and I need some inspiration. I really love all the natural elements. Your lake home is gorgeous! Love those wicker chairs by the fireplace and how you styled the bookcases!

    Think I'll re-do all the bookshelves tomorrow!


  13. This was a perfect post for me...I'm styling a bookcase for a client...

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! Wonderful tips and examples, Cindy. We all have bookcases, and they can be so problematic and overwhelming to style.

  16. Beth Webb is one of my favorite designers. All of the images are wonderful examples of great styling.


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