5 Must-Haves for the Perfect Bookshelf

Ever look at your cluttered bookshelf and wonder how those folks on Pinterest make theirs look so stylish and beautiful? We've been there! After years in the home decorating business, we've discovered countless tips and tricks for designing the perfect stylized bookcase, and they all include these 5 must-have items:

Photo: Amber Interiors
Photo: Amber Interiors

1. First and Foremost: Books
What's a bookshelf without books? However, your styled shelf isn't the place to load up with every book you've ever owned (that means put your old college textbooks away). Keep it simple and select your favorites! Depending on your preferences and the number of shelves in your case, you should count on displaying anywhere from 10 - 20 books, and be sure to use varying sizes. Switch up between stacking books horizontally and vertically for an especially interesting look.
2. Plants
Yes, plants! A little greenery can go a long way by adding that perfect touch of life and color to your bookshelf. Be sure to choose especially gorgeous pots and planters, and take note of the amount of sun your shelf receives, so you can research plants that will thrive under those conditions. Succulents and air plants are typically great choices, and you could always use fresh flowers in a simple vase, if you have the patience to switch them out consistently! Just, please, avoid the overgrown ferns here, alright?
3. Boxes, Baskets or Canisters
Containers in various sizes and shapes can be as functional as they are aesthetically pleasing on your styled bookcase. Larger boxes can be used to keep clutter at bay, and also as platforms to add height to your smaller accent pieces. Perhaps fill a glass canister with matches for a utilitarian purpose and a stylish look! In some cases, boxes and accent pieces can be one in the same, and we do love any product that pulls double-duty.

4. Photos or Prints
Was your grandmother's bookshelf or tabletop packed solid with framed family photos? Yeah, that's not what we're looking for here. However, a bookshelf can be a great place to display a personal photo or two, provided they are tasteful and in beautiful frames. If pictures aren't your thing, framed prints can be a fabulous option as well, whether they depict a piece of art or your favorite saying. Don't be afraid to mix and match, or take the modern approach and display photos via your iPad!
5. Accent Pieces
This is where you can have some fun: The Little Things! Show your personality through bookends, statuettes, scented candles, match strikers, metal letters, ampersands, paperweights, votives.... You get the picture. Get creative and be sure to choose objects that you really love. Use a wide variety of styling methods, such as placing taller objects directly on the shelf, propping smaller objects on top of a stack of books, or grouping them with plants or photos. You can't go wrong! 

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