How to Style your Bookshelves


It’s official. We live in a digital age where everything is going electronic including, sadly, our books. Once we’re done mourning this, we need to move on and decide what to do with all those rows of book and bookshelves we are still so attached to. Here’s Discern’s guide with helpful tips by stylist Jasmine Jhaveri, on how to style your bookshelves in interesting and unique ways.

For me, books are not just to fill up spaces and because they are so fashionable, but they add a certain warmth and character to space and the titles inspire me.” Says Jhaveri which is why we enlisted her expertise when it came to figuring out the problem of the shelf.

Create visual interest
The idea is to use the bookshelf as an interior space or accent. Don’t let it languish away but spend some time fixing up your shelves to make them interesting points of conversation and engagement. Jhaveri suggests, “mix your book placement vertically and horizontally for visual tension. Do this both on the same shelf and then also arrange them in a way that one shelf is all horizontal and another is all vertical.” This unique placement will draw people’s attention to the shelf and make it a more interesting part of the room.

Vertically and Horizontally placed Books
Arrange by colour
If you are OCD at all, this might actually seem very appealing to you! Jhaveri says, “arrange the spines of your books according to their colours to achieve a harmonious and visually attractive effect. More than anything, your books will look neat and stylish.” If this is becoming too difficult due to the vague colours of your books, you could turn this into an arts and crafts project where you cover your books with different colours of paper and prints to achieve that uniform look.

Use of Colours to Identify your Books
Decorative objects
Bookshelves aren’t solely for books. Use these spaces as storage and display areas for artwork, 
decorative pieces and other interesting objects d’art. “Apart from books think of sculptural objects for a 3D effect. I love seeing my favourite objects mixed in amongst books and magazines. A beautiful bowl, plate or even your favourite memorabilia will add depth and scale to your bookshelf,” suggests Jhaveri.

Use Decorative Objects 

Go from small to large
“While styling your ladder shelves place smaller and more delicate items like glass figurines on the top shelves. Place bigger books at 
the bottom and mementos at the bottom.” Says Jhaveri. Not only will this give your eye a sense of movement but will also protect those valuables from stray hands or wagging tails! One can even stack a pile of books and prop a photo frame or a mini bud vase on top of these books to create your own little vignette.

Arrangement from Top to Bottom

Avoid uniformity
Consider your bookshelf an extra room or space that you have the liberty to design. You can use this space to express your wildest design thoughts because the more uniform a bookshelf looks, the more boring and easy to miss it is. “If you have decorative pieces that are part of a collection, break them up into groups of odd and even numbers and place them throughout the shelving unit.” Recommends Jhaveri. We agree that the more unique and innovative you make your bookshelf, the less likely it is to go unnoticed!

Avoid unifromity
If you liked her tips get in touch with stylist Jasmine Jhaveri through her website,
P: 022 23631052

Discover many of such amazing expert tips on our Discern Living app, download the app ( available now on Google Play Store and iOS App Store) to learn more!

Discern Living makes designer homes accessible to you. Whether you're looking to design your new home, or need a makeover, our panel of well-known designers is here to understand your style and help you create your dream space at a price within your reach. Get started here.