How to Design Bookshelves

How to Design Bookshelves

Here at MGD — we love styling bookshelves. Yes, we said it. We’re in it for the #shelfie. From family photos and heirlooms to fun accessories and collectibles, bookshelves offer practicality and versatility. But, similar to hanging plates, shelf styling can seem intimidating. Let me be the first to tell you that your dreams of a Pinterest worthy shelf are not impossible! All it takes is intention, thoughtful planning, and our tried and true six tips. Get started, below!

Source and collect

Whether you gather accessories from around the house, raid your grandmother’s storage unit, or choose to buy everything new, make sure you have plenty of options to choose from. The worst case scenario is that you’ll have too much, and that’s a better problem to have than not having enough (and nine times out of 10 in a project we end up using everything we have!).

Start with books

We think books are the unsung hero of the shelfie! Whether laid on their side or standing up between bookends ( coffee table books work great here), they make a bookshelf look finished. Start by adding those in. Then, insert plates (the MGD touch!), boxes, bowls, framed artwork, family pictures, or whatever else you’ve got.

Group your collections

Bookshelves are great for showing off all the unique things you’ve collected throughout your life (like all those souvenirs from your travels). When displayed together on your shelf, they’ll make a bigger impact design-wise, plus they’ll spark memories and create conversations.

Less is more

Too many small frames makes you lose sight of the faces in the pictures (and creates visual overload). Try to pick three of your favorites in different sizes. And though most of the time we stay away from being too matchy-matchy, this is the time we recommend it. If your frames are all the same, the shelf will look cleaner. Our current favorites are silver and bamboo options!

Symmetry is key

Create balance and add symmetry by adding items to each side of the shelf. This keeps the eye moving. We plan our shelves the same way we plan our plate hanging, with a lot of trial and error, so keep moving things around until everything feels right.

Make it useful

If you choose to display storage boxes on your shelf, put items you’ll need inside of it. Think a TV remote or phone chargers. So when your phone dies, or you want to settle in and watch TV after a long day, you’ll know where everything is, but it won’t be an eyesore the rest of the time.

With all the time we’ve been spending in our homes lately, we know how important it is to feel at home in your space. If you’ve got a nagging design question about styling your perfect #shelfie or want to talk about your future new-build, we’re here to help! Connect with us in the comments, send us an email, or fill out our contact form.