9 Tips for Styling a Bookshelf and Coffee Table – Dressbarn

9 Tips for Styling a Bookshelf and Coffee Table

9 Tips for Styling a Bookshelf and Coffee Table - Dressbarn

9 Tips for Styling an Instagram-Worthy Bookshelf and Coffee Table

There’s no time better than now to give our homes a bit of a lift with all the downtime we have these couple of months. We understand it can be pretty challenging and expensive to have a complete overhaul of our living spaces. So we thought we’d give you an easy and budget-friendly way to give our homes a new look.  One way to do this is to rearrange your coffee tables and bookshelves to make them look like they came straight out of an interior designer’s Instagram page.

Maybe you take pride in having a diverse collection of beautiful coffee table books or you love having fresh (or even dried) flowers in your space. These are just some of the items you can populate your coffee table and bookshelves with.

With the following tips on styling your bookshelf and coffee table, you can finally create an Instagram-worthy display that will garner all the likes you can get.


 1. Stack your coffee table books 

Stacking your books on your coffee table is one way of styling it while maintaining a personal touch at the same time. Having a stack of books on your coffee table creates a significant impact on your living room display especially if your books are color-coded or thematic.

Pile up two or three books of the same size, or opt for a smaller coffee table book on top of a bigger one. If you have a small coffee table, particularly round, one pile would suffice. For a bigger table, though, you might need two or more piles for that sense of completeness. 


 2. Style books with flowers

Once you’ve stacked your books, it’s time to add a cozy, homey feel to your coffee table. You can achieve this vibe by pairing your books with flowers, making your display look less like a staged exhibit for a furniture shop. Throw in a bundle of daisies, dandelions, or roses in your favorite vases of various shapes and sizes and place it beside or on top of your books. This will immediately add a burst of freshness and life to the room. Plus, the different blossoms allow you to experiment with color combinations throughout the seasons.


 3. Integrate pieces with a sculptural feel


To add a bit of drama and structure to your arrangement, think about adding accessories and decor with unique shapes. Some items to consider are metal geometric vases, bust sculpture, trophies, souvenirs from your favorite travel destinations, and grape wood.


 4. Divide your arrangement 

In styling your bookshelf, decide if you’d exhibit your books horizontally or vertically. Designer Nicole Gibbons also suggests alternating between the two. Draw imaginary lines to divide your shelf into three different columns. You can then stack your books horizontally in the middle column and vertically on either side.

In organizing your coffee table, forming grids will help compartmentalize it, allowing you to arrange your decor, essentials, and personal items easily. 


 5. Play up various textures and heights together


Mix up the textures, sizes, and heights of your items. If the books and decor you have so far are as tall as each other, you can add some height by incorporating a tall vase, candle, or frame. 

For your coffee table, home decor and lifestyle editor Gabrielle Savoie points out that “playing with a variety of geometric shapes, from circles to hexagons, will help the surface feel more dynamic.” So don’t be afraid to mix and match! However, keep in mind that items shouldn’t be too small that they disappear on the table or too large that they overwhelm the display and get in the way of function. So, you might want to avoid clunky objects that obstruct the view of people sitting on either side of the table. Instead, you can opt for thin branches in a simple transparent vase to create an airy, see-through effect.


 6. Use decorative trays 

Decorative trays will serve as your arrangement’s layout and help keep your essentials organized. A tray on your coffee table will make items such as matches, remote controls, and pens appear more organized and aesthetically pleasing. You can also opt to place your pile of coffee table books on your tray.
A book display can also benefit from decorative trays. Use your tray as your bookend and accessorize it with a small vase or a jar of pens and paintbrushes.


 7. Throw plants into the mix  

Adorning your bookshelves with one or two pots of indoor plants is a fool-proof way of decorating it without going overboard. If you’re going for a more natural or tropical look, you can opt for greeneries that drape or hang, which will also link one shelf to another.

For your coffee table, you can display miniature succulents if you have a smaller space. For a bigger space, larger sculptural succulents like pencil cactuses and eucalyptus are good embellishments. 


 8. Use unique items as bookends

Bookends are indeed a must-have in a shelf, for they not only hold your book display together — but they can also add style to your arrangement. Instead of using the traditional bookends sold at bookstores and stationery shops, you can up your styling ante by looking for more unconventional ones that double as decor.  

Try anchoring your books with figurines, porcelain jars, marble sculptures, and small statues. Vases and mason jars also work well as bookends, and you can even add some flair to it by throwing in some flowers from your garden or local florist. Or, you can leave them empty too. 


 9. Keep it personal

It is no secret that your space is an extension of who you are, so why not show a bit of your personality in your coffee table and bookshelf?

Adding picture frames in between arrays of books makes it more personal and sentimental instead of library-like. If you have a family heirloom like your great grandmother’s necklace kept in a glass shadow box, you can display it on your shelf as well.

Include personal items that reflect you and your hobbies. For instance, your bookshelf can be the perfect place to display your favorite Polaroid camera or painting. Another option is to allot space for your collection of purses or vinyl records. 

As for your coffee table, some personal objects that can be displayed are your favorite scented candles, souvenirs, or family photo albums.


To wrap it up

Creating the perfect Instagram-worthy coffee table and bookshelf might seem like a daunting task at first, but as long as you know what you want and keep our tips above in mind,  styling them will truly freshen up your space’s look. What more, it can be a fun activity during the quarantine too. 


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