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Creative Bookshelf Ideas for an Artistic Setting

Updated: May 7

bookshelves with three columns in a living room

Displaying your favorite books can be a great way to satiate your inner bookworm. And if you don’t have a room to spare as a library—a bookshelf is a great idea! When done right, bookshelves not only allow you to organize your reading materials but also become interior design statements of their own.

Keep reading for creative bookshelf ideas for an artistic yet funky setting! If you’re fond of DIY, these ideas will provide inspiration for a bookshelf arrangement tailored to your creative taste. Also, keep an eye out for our favorite products to use throughout the article.

Stand Out With a Statement Piece

statement piece statue for a book shelf

Credit: Alchemy

Every bookshelf deserves a statement piece. This serves as the focal point, breaking the monotony of the books. An accent piece is also a great way to infuse personality into your bookshelf setting. And if you’re in for an artistic statement, opting for a sculpture is a great idea. Whether you’d prefer a black-and-white One Hand Balancing Act sculpture or pops of metallic gold with a Heart sculpture, the collection at Alchemy has a little something for everyone! 

Add Some Florals to your Bookshelf

flowers on a bookshelf

Bringing in fresh florals from your garden? We’re here for it! If you’re one with a brown thumb, perhaps you’d like a faux vase setting. Case in point: Alchemy’s Pauline Bouquet—an everlasting floral accent piece to subtly add nature to your bookshelf setting. (If you’re more of a romantic, there’s also a rose bouquet). Psst… For succulent lovers, Dot and Bo has stunning sets of faux succulents to use!

Add a Pop of Color

bookshelves with a pop of neon

If you’re decorating a kid’s bookshelf, consider sprinkling in some color. From apple green storage bins to colorful potted plants (here’s how to paint pots yourself), there are plenty of ways to achieve the purpose. This is also a great activity your kids can help you out with.

Make Room for Storage

creative storage boxes for a bookshelf

Credit: Alchemy

Decor doubling as storage? Why not! Place leather boxes on your bookshelf; these create a sleek statement while providing a spot to tuck away your essentials. These can be jewelry items, keys, and even the remote control.

Consider Floating Shelves

floating shelves

If you don’t have a bookshelf already—floating shelves will do the trick! Build your own floating shelves or give existing ones a fresh coat of paint to repurpose them as bookshelves. Top these with your favorite decor items (and, of course, books).

Complement with Candles

candles on a bookshelf

A little light makes everything better—bonus points if it’s with the flicker of a candle. Dot and Bo’s 3 Flameless Candles (by Destination Home) are great to serve the purpose while ensuring they’re safe to use around wood.

Let Natural Wood Shine

untreated exposed wood shelf with house plants

Natural wood never goes out of trend. Its warm beauty adds authenticity while adding a timeless appeal. Plus, it expresses your love for sustainability—and, as a bonus, high-quality wood is very durable. Whether you want an oakwood bookshelf or a stunning wooden centerpiece, there are plenty of ways to achieve the purpose.

Add a Photo Frame (or Two)

photo frames on a bookshelf

A house becomes a home when you surround yourself with the things you love. And while everyone may not have family heirlooms to display on their shelves, we all have photos we can display in a frame, such as the Clear Agate photo frame (by John Richard on Alchemy). Whether it’s from a family vacation or photos of loved ones distant from you—displaying the things close to your heart can add another dimension of decor to your bookshelf.

Consider Freestanding Bookshelves

simple free standing bookshelf

If you don’t have a built-in bookcase, no problem! While there are many movable bookcases that you can purchase, you can also repurpose existing trolleys to display your essentials. Top them with stunning arrangements of books and decor pieces—and they’ll look just like a well-decorated bookshelf.

Pair It With a Stunning Print

large painting over a bookshelf

Add a punch of visual interest to your bookcase setting by pairing it with a canvas print. We especially love Dot and Bo’s Yellow Anemone Rose Print (by SpotColorArt) for the purpose. Hanging a decorative wall mirror instead is also a great idea for folks seeking that extra touch of glam. If you’re thinking out of the box, you may want to use a metal cutout of the word ‘Inspire’ (after all, books are a great source of inspiration).

Make Room for Storage

open bookcase storage

Running short on space? Your bookshelf can lend you a hand. Dedicate compartments for placing ring binders and use most of the space to actually store books. You can also toss in a storage basket—or two—and use it to keep knickknacks.

Decorating Your Bookshelf: Tips and Tricks

Before we wind up, here are a handful of tips to keep in mind while curating an artistic yet funky bookshelf setting:

  • Think about a color palette before decorating. Even if this is not a strict palette you adhere to, having a dominant color (or combination of colors) in mind can help. A crowd favorite is white and blue.

  • While decorating your bookshelf, group similar items together—preferably in odd numbers. For example, use a set of three candles or pair three vases together.

  • Opt for items that add texture to the setting (plants and natural woods will really help!).

  • Blend together old and new—by, for example, pairing a vintage piece with a modern one.

  • If you’re in for a funky twist, add tiles on the wall behind your bookshelf.

Final Words

Setting a bookshelf is not just about decorating your space; it’s actually one of the best ways to showcase your personality. So, take that bland bookcase and spice it up with some creative ideas. (If you don’t have a bookshelf—and you’ve got rolled up sleeves and a handful of motivation—you can try building a bookshelf yourself!) 💟


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