22 Ways to Arrange Your Bookshelves

Picture frames on shelves
Photo: Sang An

Find inspiration for your shelves and bookcases in these great photos.

01 of 22

Use empty picture frames to create visually striking geometric patterns against a wall.

Picture frames on shelves
Sang An
02 of 22

A cleverly arranged bookcase can be as pretty as a window view.

Home office in living room
James Baigrie
03 of 22

Borrow a trick from interior designers: Inside a bookcase, use paint that's a couple of shades deeper than the room color.

Bookcase
Monica Buck
04 of 22

For maximum pop, try arranging the shelves with solid-colored items, like white ironwork or a vibrant vase.

Bookcase, table, and chair
Monica Buck
05 of 22

Imagine living room shelves as a display space for your favorite books, photographs, and family heirlooms.

Living room
Chip Cordelli
06 of 22

Give bathroom shelves an organized look by grouping together like-colored towels.

Beauty products and towels on shelves
Jonny Valiant
07 of 22

Use labeled boxes to house odds and ends without a home.

Colorful shoe boxes for storage on a bookcase
Antonis Achilleos
08 of 22

Shelve items by type―pots on one level, books on another―for a systematic look to your kitchen.

Cookbooks on a shelf with pots
Justin Bernhaut
09 of 22

A simple arrangement of classics has the order and stateliness of a library.

Books and vases in a bookcase
Sarah Maingot
10 of 22

Style a bookcase with unexpected items, like an eye-catching antique or a porcelain statue.

Bookcase
Monica Buck
11 of 22

Ordinary items collected in glass jars make an arresting still life.

Shells and rocks stored in labeled jars on shelves
David Prince
12 of 22

Organizing a colorful collection of found objects makes an offbeat (and inexpensive) alternative to wall art.

Hall makeover
Mark Lund
13 of 22

Even just a few striking objects can create a visually interesting display.

Clocks used as bookends
Aya Brackett
14 of 22

There's no rule saying that everything has to match. Though these letters vary in look, they work together because they are alike in essence.

Shelves decorated with letters
Lucas Allen
15 of 22

Want to make a bold statement? Let paint do the talking for you.

Repainted shelves
Mark Lund
16 of 22

Open shelves and steel hardware give a room contemporary flair.

Coffee table and couch
Hallie Burton
17 of 22

Whitewashed shelves and conch-shell book stoppers feel as restful and airy as the seaside.

Shells in a vase on a bookshelf
William Meppem
18 of 22

Hang a chalkboard inside sliding doors for extra playtime fun (or to log your children's TV time).

Media center
David Land
19 of 22

Use a furry friend to keep your child's favorite reads in place.

Stuffed animal as a bookend
Kathryn Barnard
20 of 22

Use inexpensive baskets to provide catchall space for sundries.

Organized shelving
James Baigrie
21 of 22

Divvy up cubbies among your kids and allow them to arrange their belongings as they see fit―so long as it's neat!

Toys and books stored in cubbies
David Prince
22 of 22

A smart cleaning strategy for drop-in visitors: panels that prettily disguise what's on the shelves.

Decorated bookcase
Hallie Burton
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