25 Bookshelf ideas

By Elise Hodge

Updated: March 7th, 2024

Add some character to your living room with a fancy bookshelf.

There’s something so magical about a bookshelf. Books can transport you to another world, so your bookshelf should reflect that magic. Whether you are an avid reader or find yourself with books that need a home, you’ll already know that a bookshelf is your best option.

Bookshelves don’t just have to be a storage solution, they can be something that adds character and style to your space. And there are so many different bookshelves to choose from – from floating shelves mounted to the wall and built-in bookshelves to additional shelving units that become a feature, your bookshelf can tell whatever story you’d like it to.

So put on your reading glasses and thinking cap, and get ready to create your personalised bookshelf with these 25 bookshelf ideas.

1. Antique brown

How gorgeous is this antique brown book display? I love that the books used on this simple built-in bookshelf perfectly reflect the colour scheme of the rest of the room. If you have furnishings in your space that are an old leather look, then antique books with brown spines will help to continue your aesthetics nicely. I’m sure these old books have many exciting stories to tell.

antique bookshelf with leather books
Source: Tetyana Kovyrina via Pexels

2. Abstract display

Elevate your book display with your favourite sculptural piece! I love how the entire bookshelf looks more expensive and unique next to this piece of art! 

bookshelf with abstract art piece displayed
Source: Rachel Claire via Pexels

3. Built-in bookshelves

If you are in the process of building your home, then perhaps you should consider built-in bookshelves. What’s not to love with a display that looks like a wall art installation? And this display looks even more inviting with a couple of accents or reading chairs in front. What a stunning and visually pleasing display. 

reading room with built in bookshelves

4. Colour coordination

Speaking of colour order, here’s another gorgeous bookshelf with some colour coordination! If you have books that don’t quite match, they have been turned around so that you can see the pages rather than the spines. This display idea is a great way to add colour to a plain white wall. 

bookcase with pink and blue books

5. By the window 

How spectacular is this bookshelf beside the window?! If I ever get the pleasure of building my own home, this would be something I’ll request. I love how natural light shines through the window, which perfectly complements the cute and cozy reading nook. 

reading nook by the window
Source: Rahul Pundir via Pexels

6. Wall divider 

If you need a wall divider, you can use a bookshelf to make that space functional instead! I love how it adds character over a plain divider while smartly using the vertical space it provides.

Wooden bookcase divider in living room

7. Indoor plants

You can never go wrong with indoor plants. They add so much life to any indoor space. Use plants of different sizes or pots of different colours to add character to the bookshelf. Consider adding indoor plants such as pothos, which give a trailing effect!

wooden bookshelf with indoor plants

8. Staircase bookshelf 

This is a fantastic space-saver idea! I love this idea for a home that perhaps doesn’t have much space. A built-in shelf is seamlessly installed in the space below the staircase. This would work so well in a loft-style home! Absolutely genius. 

modern staircase with bookshelf underneath

9. Side by side 

If you’re renting or don’t want to commit to a full built-in style bookshelf, then adding simple shelving to your space can look just as lovely! If you have a lot of books to display, I love buying identical shelving units and lining them up side by side, which helps create a seamless look. 

white book shelves side by side

10. Wooden shadow boxes

If you don’t have many books but still want to display them organised, then there are plenty of clever storage solutions just like this wooden shadow box display! I love how the wooden shadow boxes look stacked on each other, and the floating effect adds to the modern look. 

wooden shadow box bookcase

11. Hallway bookshelves

A bookshelf is a great way to spruce up a dull hallway. I love the simple shelving in this hallway that matches beautifully with the white-painted wall on the other side. Add a little lighting to make the bookshelf look more stunning!

bookshelf in a hallway

12. Book pages display

If you want to display your books, but the colours of the spines don’t really match the colour scheme of your room, then turning them around is an excellent idea so you can only see the white and cream colours of the pages. 

book pages on display in a bookshelf
Source: George Milton via Pexels

13. Diagonal shelf box with faux plants

This would work so well in a dining or entertainment room as a wall display! Adding box shelves is a fabulous idea if you have a small selection of books to display. I love how the faux plants on each box also add a pop of green, making the look fresher, regardless of whether your books are new or old, or both!

modern diagonal shelves with plant decor

14. Black wall, wooden bookshelf 

If you prefer something a little more dark and moody, this bookshelf is definitely for you! I love how classy this wooden bookshelf looks with the black wall and the warm backlighting. What a stunning display! I can imagine how spectacularly styled the rest of this space is. 

wooden bookshelf in a room with black interiors

15. Scandi style 

There’s nothing quite like the simplicity and sophistication of scandi style. I love these simple shelves mounted to the wall, which is excellent as they keep things off the floor and neatly organised. You can also add small plants and photo frames as decors. The simple colour palette and decor make this bookshelf feel calm and clutter-free.

Scandinavian style floating bookshelves

16. Round bookshelf with grid spaces

How modern-looking is this shelf! This one is perfect if you want a minimalist bookshelf that’s a bit adventurous and edgy. I love the grid with varying space sizes which adds a unique character to the bookshelf. And the way the spaces are divided means that you can categorise your books and decor items much more quickly. Plus, it looks stunning!

round grid bookshelf

17. By the fireplace

It doesn’t get much better than sitting by the fireplace with a book in hand. I love the built-in shelving next to this fireplace that only has a tiny amount of books to go with the decor, but I’m sure this bookshelf would look equally stunning and filled with lots of books! You could even have your books and decor on rotation, so some months you have lots of decorations displayed, and others you could have your library full of books. 

fireplace bookshelf

18. Front display

Display your books’ beautiful cover art! Especially if you have food and beverage books, art, architecture, and fashion books, then it’s time to fill the plain, white wall with covers of different designs, colours, and typography.

bookshelf that displays books and magazines by their cover
Source: Marta Dzedyshko via Pexels

19. Monochrome vertical and horizontal

Using one colour but in two orientations indeed adds variation to your space. If you love a pop of a single colour, you can add variation by choosing a horizontal floating shelf and a vertical standing shelf like this gorgeous yellow space below.

yellow vertical and horizontal bookshelf

20. Dreamy shelf lights

How gorgeous is the styling of the bookshelf?! This would be the perfect space for anyone that loves reading (and a little twinkle lighting). I love the fairy lights across each shelf layer, which gives the perfect reading atmosphere! 

fairy lights on bookshelf
Source: Yura Forrat via Pexels

21. Book headboard

Do you like reading before snoozing? Then this is the perfect shelf for you! Ditch your usual headboard and install simple shelving instead. Add decors on top and install a reading lamp on the side for that relaxing slow-down before going to sleep!

bookshelf headboard in bedroom

22. Library ladder

There’s just something so magical about a library with a ladder. It reminds me of something you would see in a charming rom-com based in London. I love how the placement of books varies – others are shelved with the spine on display, while others show their pretty covers.

library ladder
Source: furkanfdemir via Pexels

23. Shelves with drawers

This shelf doubles as a bookshelf and storage! I love the idea of having the books and decor on the shelves while the drawers below serve as storage units. This would work great in your home’s living room as a multipurpose shelf for the whole family. 

wooden book shelf with bottom drawers

24. Plants and honeycomb shelf

Plants are the way to go if you ever want to freshen up a space! Add a honeycomb-shaped bookshelf for an additional nod to nature. If you want to combine your love of plants and books, this is the way to do it! 

hexagon shelves with plant decor

25. Books, luggage, and cameras

Love travelling and photography? Display your photography or travel books with your cameras and vintage luggage! That’s one way to keep yourself inspired with adventures and wanderlust!

bookshelf of someone who loves to travel


So there, we have 25 bookshelf ideas to inspire you to create a more thoughtful place to store and display your books. I love the bookshelves that have the books turned around so that you can only see the pages, which is genius in making books fit into a colour scheme. What were your favourites?


Elise H

I've recently moved into a new home and I've been having so much fun decorating it with pretty wall prints and Scandinavian-inspired furniture. So as well as being a freelance writer, I'm always on the lookout for new design pieces for my home!

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