Bead Board, Books, & Brass: 8 Built-in Shelves That Ooze “Bookshelf Wealth”
Bookshelves are an interior design staple for a reason. They’re the ideal place to display your favorite reads, ornaments, plants, and special trinkets — in other words, bookshelves are ideal for putting your personality on display in your own home. And this ties in with the latest TikTok design trend to dominate “For You” pages: “bookshelf wealth,” or the idea of luxurious-looking bookshelves.
For those who have a TBR list that never seems to end, there are some guidelines to follow if you want your bookshelf to look curated rather than cluttered. Kailee Blalock, cofounder of San Diego-based luxury interior design firm House of Hive, coined the term “bookshelf wealth” and expertly explained the trend in a now-viral video: The basis of “bookshelf wealth” is to have a space that “looks cozy and lived-in,” meaning that shelves are filled with “books that have actually been curated and read,” rather than those that are purchased purely for aesthetic purposes.
If the “bookshelf wealth” trend has inspired you to make a bookshelf a priority, these bookshelf ideas from real homes totally nail the trend. From standalone shelves to built-in cases, these bookshelf makeovers incorporate everything that bookshelf wealth celebrates — creativity, coziness, and a curated collection that takes center stage.
Varying shelf height to make room for collectibles makes IKEA shelving feel custom.
“The first thing was to try and find a bookshelf that worked. Bertie ultimately decided on a BOAXEL system from IKEA, using five rows of shelves at varying heights to accommodate her collectibles. “All the items I had took years to collect, and when I finally placed everything together I was filled with so much pride and joy because it was a culmination of different things I’ve loved and memories I’ve had over the years,” she says.
A rich paint color and gold accents capture the “Old Money” aesthetic.
TikTok DIYer Liz Lovery built a custom bookshelf into an angled wall of her home, utilizing every inch of a space that may have otherwise been underused, thanks to its angled ceiling. Three things that put the “wealth” in “bookshelf wealth” here, or three things that make this shelving look extra luxe? The rich green paint color (Benjamin Moore’s Southern Vine), the gold gallery-style lighting, and the gold frame hung at the intersection of the shelves.
Drapery, wallpaper, and curtains can add to the “bookshelf wealth” look.
Sanda Stojakovic (@design.playbook) had always dreamed of having a home library, so when she embarked on her living room makeover, bookshelves took priority. “I always thought home library rooms looked so elegant and chic,” she said. “They’re the perfect place to get away from all technology and bustle of everyday life.”
Using IKEA BILLY bookcases and cleverly adding trim, Stojakovic and her husband built a custom blue vintage-inspired bookshelf wall that looks right at home in their living room. And their project total came to $3,500, including new drapery, wallpaper, and furniture, all of which add to the fancy reading-room look.
A vinyl collection finds its home in built-in shelving.
I love the way Rebecca Enberg’s built-in shelving wraps around her door frame. The bookshelves have that extra-lived-in, curated look, as they display Enberg and her husband’s book and record collection. The drawers underneath add some hidden storage, too.
“I wanted this to do more than just store things,” Enberg explains. “I really studied the needs of my family and household before taking on this project. I knew [built-ins would] look nice and fit the era of the home, but I also wanted it to enable us to run systems to keep our home tidy with minimal effort from me.
A built-in bookshelf acts as a blank canvas to layer colors and textures.
“The beauty of a built-in is that it’s another canvas to express your personality,” DIYer Mehnaz Khan (@yourcolorfulhome) says.
Khan transformed her family home’s “drab” guest room into a reader’s paradise with the help of some purple custom floor-to-ceiling bookcases that house the family’s entire book collection — and again, the color choice here just oozes luxe-yet-comfortable bookshelf wealth. It’s Benjamin Moore’s Elderberry Wine.
“Bookshelf wealth” isn’t static; you can change things up from month to month.
Architect Rachel’s library of books was initially stored in hand-me-down shelves, but her collection got too big for them. After donating her old shelves to a friend, she bought some lumber and began her project — a stunning floor-to-ceiling unit that’s adjustable. The whole project cost $760.
“I love having my books all together on the wall; it really feels like a feature in the room instead of an afterthought,” she explains. “I’m also pleased that the shelves are still adjustable, and the layout isn’t too rigid and perfect. I’ll be able to move books and objects around at whim, and it will all still look cohesive and intentional.”
A cozy spot to read will only make your bookshelf feel more personal.
Luke Lusk (@twolinedesign) and his partner, Tyler Batson, created a small-but-mighty reading nook in an awkward alcove in their apartment. A perfectly sized mattress and daybed frame from Amazon and a couple of horizontal overhead bookshelves turned the space into a cozy corner to enjoy their favorite novels. They used 2×10 lumber for the shelves, painted them white, and mounted them using modern, minimalist brackets from Etsy.
“It completely transformed the space!” Luke said of the newly added reading nook’s effect on the entire living room area. “It’s really easy to change the look seasonally with different pillow and bedding. It’s such a cozy spot to cuddle up and watch a movie or read a book.”