Tips For Decorating Your Bookcase Shelves

Real Estate Agent with Shahar Management

Whether or not you are getting your home ready for sale these are excellent tips for re-organizing your bookcase shelves from Sharon Tara in New Hampshire. 

Original content by Sharon Tara

 NH Home Makeovers - Tips For Decorating Your Bookcase Shelves

Too often bookcases and built-ins become a convenient catch-all.  They get over stuffed with books, magazines, remotes, dvd's, photos, and collectible figurines.   The contents of the shelves remain there, not because of value or sentimental attachment, but because the homeowner doesn't have the time to sort through them and has no clue how to decorate the shelves.

Bookcases are not just for books, adding interesting and colorful pieces is a good idea.  Too often, though, the line between decorative and cluttered becomes cloudy.  You don't want your shelves to look like a place where knick-knacks and tchotchkes go to die.

Start by completely clearing the shelves.  Determine what will return to the shelves and what will be discarded.  (Trash, donate, or sell)


Choose medium to large size items, rather than a bunch of really small items. 

decorating shelves


When placing books, stand some up and stack some on their side.

 A shelf can have any combination of books and decorative pieces or just one or the other. 

decorating shelves


Don't crowd the shelves.  Leave some open space.  It's ok to leave some shelves empty.

decorating shelves


Combine items of different sizes and heights.  Give a small item additional height by placing it on a stack of books.

You can use framed photos, artwork or trays to fill spaces.

decorating bookshelves


decorating shelves



Be Creative and Have Fun:


Cover some or all books with white paper for a more cohesive, decorative look.


Use decorative storage boxes or baskets to hide remotes or other small items.


Try using items all the same color.


Try using items that are the same color but in different prints and patterns.


Go with a theme....nautical, animal, or ethnic, etc.  



If it's too overwhelming, do yourself a huge favor and call in a professional home stager for help.  You will get advice on using what you already have and suggestions for new pieces to buy.  Sometimes it takes fresh eyes and a creative approach to get that new look! 




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Debbie Walsh, GRI, CNE, CHMS, REM | Office (845) 283-3036 |

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If you are Buying, Selling or Relocating to the Hudson Valley area and need help from a professional REALTOR®, I would be happy to assist you! Please visit my Hudson Valley website for property searches and to sign up for free listing alerts and other information.


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Comments (9)

Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Happy you found the info worthy of sharing!  Thanks for the reblog!

Jun 24, 2013 10:02 AM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Hi Debra, this is a great reblog from Sharon!  Those side by side comparisons are amazing.  Hope you are cooled off by now!!!!   When momma ain't happy ain't nobody happy!!!!     ^_~

Jun 24, 2013 10:03 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hey!  What a great choice for a reblog.  I'm listing a gret condo with a big wall of empty bookcases, and this gives me great ideas. 

Jun 24, 2013 10:20 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Debra, what a great post.  I like shelves, and have quite a few of them in most rooms.  BUT... I must admit that most of them look like the "before" shelves rather than the "after" ones.  It appears that "white space" is just as desirable on shelves as it is on the printed page.

Jun 24, 2013 02:43 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional
Hi Debra,This is a very good reblog. I will have to stop by and compliment Sharon on a terrific post illustrating how to thin things done and making them look so much better.
Jun 24, 2013 03:18 PM
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Good choice for a re-blog. Lots of great advice and seeing the before and after photos really tell a good story.

Jun 24, 2013 07:19 PM
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource
Debbie, this is a great post for me and anyone else in these matters. I'm definitely a before photo kind of guy
Jun 25, 2013 12:28 PM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Nice selection for a re-blog. Some of us need to donate some books to make space on our bookshelves.

Jun 25, 2013 09:01 PM
Debbie Walsh
Shahar Management - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036

Definitely a great post from Sharon!  I think we will all refer back to this time and again over the years.

Jun 29, 2013 04:08 AM