Forget Rainbow-Colored Shelves: 7 New Ideas to Display Your Books

published Jul 14, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

A true bookworm knows their books don’t need to be perfectly styled, but it never hurts to give those classic tomes some extra love. If you’re looking for a way to display your beloved novels and biographies, but aren’t a fan of the color-coded look, we’ve got seven great ideas to share. Whether you own hundreds of books or have pared down your collection to just a few favorites, there’s an option below for everyone.

1. Go Industrial

Shelves made from industrial piping are wonderful if your collection is relatively small. No need to worry about arranging books in any type of height or color order here; the shelf itself does the talking and makes it easy to see your entire stash. Let Tyler Eide show you how it’s done in his house tour.

2. Mix and Match

Who hasn’t owned one of these handy IKEA Kallax storage systems at some point? They’re a great place to stow books and a whole lot more, as demonstrated in this Singapore house tour. The use of vases and other feast-friendly finds makes this setup feel less out of place in an eating nook.

3. An Eclectic Array

Don’t be shy to mix book with other knick-knacks. In this San Francisco rental, literary gems are paired with art prints, stuffed animals, and the occasional plant. Want to turn your bookshelf into a shelfie? Scatter stacks of books between your personal items.

4. Get the Library Look

Credit: Photos by Sally and Mohammed

Recreate the feel of a cozy bookshop or library in your own space by creating a lived-in display, as seen in this Pittsburgh home. Simply place books wherever you would like and let the laid back, literary look do the talking!

5. Go Vertical

Credit: Alec Kugler for Coveteur

Grace Atwood, life blogger at The Stripe, purchased two shelving units to display her large collection of novels (that’s right, they aren’t just piled neatly on the floor, promise!) and then arranged the books how she wished. “They take about 30 minutes to put together and can support quite a bit of weight,” she says. “And I love the look of them… like [a] simple, chic stacks of books!”

6. Literary Jungle

Breathe life into every page by pairing your favorite reads with some leafy greens. In this Brooklyn apartment, an army of plants turns an average bookshelf into a design moment—no color-coding required!

7. Learn to Layer

As this Canadian house tour proves, you can have an impressive book collection anywhere. (Yes, even in your teeny, tiny apartment.) Get the most out of a small shelf by layering stacks of books on top of each other. Dozens of novels have a home without taking up this entire wall of built-ins.