How To Decorate Top Of Bookshelves

Decorate Top Of Bookshelves

Decorate Top Of Bookshelves can significantly enhance the aesthetic appeal of your living space. This often-overlooked area provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase your style and personality. Whether you prefer a minimalist look or an eclectic mix of decor items, the top of your bookshelf can become a striking focal point in any room. By carefully selecting and arranging decorative elements, you can transform this space into an eye-catching display that complements the overall theme of your room.

Understanding Your Space

Before you start decorating, it’s crucial to understand the space you have to work with. Measure the dimensions of the top of your bookshelf to ensure you choose appropriately sized decor items. Consider the height of your ceiling and the visibility of the top shelf from various angles in the room. Additionally, think about the room’s overall theme and color scheme. Your bookshelf decor should harmonize with the rest of the room to create a cohesive and balanced look.

Choosing a Style

Choosing a Style

Selecting a style for your bookshelf decor is an essential step in the decorating process. The style you choose will guide your selection of decor items and help create a unified look. Here are a few popular styles to consider:

  • Modern: A modern style is characterized by sleek, simple lines and a monochromatic color palette. Opt for metallic accents, geometric shapes, and minimalist decor items. Keep the top of your bookshelf uncluttered and focus on a few key pieces that make a statement.
  • Rustic: For a rustic look, incorporate natural elements like wooden sculptures, vintage books, and earthy tones. This style emphasizes a cozy, lived-in feel. Consider using items made from reclaimed wood or materials with a distressed finish to add authenticity to your decor.
  • Minimalist: The minimalist style is all about simplicity and functionality. Choose a few carefully selected items that provide a clean and uncluttered appearance. Stick to neutral colors and avoid over-decorating. The key is to create a serene and organized space.
  • Eclectic: An eclectic style allows for a mix of different elements and styles. Combine colors, textures, and unique items to create a vibrant and dynamic display. Don’t be afraid to mix modern pieces with vintage finds or bright colors with neutral tones. The goal is to create a visually interesting and personalized space.

How to Decorate the Top of Bookshelves

How to Decorate the Top of Bookshelves

Decorative Elements

Decorating the top of your bookshelves is a wonderful opportunity to express your personal style and enhance the visual appeal of your space. By carefully selecting and arranging various decorative elements, you can create a stunning display that adds character and charm to your room. Let’s explore some key decorative elements that can transform the top of your bookshelves into a focal point.

Plants and Greenery

Incorporating plants and greenery is a great way to bring life and color to the top of your bookshelves. Real plants can purify the air and add a touch of nature to your space, while artificial plants provide a low-maintenance alternative. Choose plants that suit the lighting conditions of your room. Small potted plants, succulents, and trailing vines are excellent choices. Placing plants at different heights can create a dynamic and layered look, making the top of your bookshelves more visually interesting.

Art and Frames

Art and frames can add a personal touch and a pop of color to your bookshelf decor. Select art pieces that reflect your personality and complement your room’s theme. You can lean framed art against the wall for a casual look or hang them just above the bookshelf. Mixing different sizes and styles of frames can create a gallery-style arrangement that adds depth and visual interest. Whether you choose prints, photographs, or original artworks, art and frames can make a significant impact on the overall aesthetic of your bookshelf.

Sculptures and Figurines

Sculptures and figurines can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your bookshelf decor. When choosing these items, consider their size and scale to ensure they fit well with the proportions of your bookshelf. Opt for pieces made from materials that complement your room’s decor, such as metal, ceramic, or wood. Placing sculptures and figurines at varying heights can create a balanced and harmonious display. These decorative items can serve as focal points and conversation starters, adding a unique and artistic element to your bookshelf.

Books and Magazines

Books and magazines are natural choices for bookshelf decor. Decorative books with attractive covers can add color and texture to your display. You can arrange books horizontally and vertically to create variety and interest. Consider using bookends to keep your books organized and add an extra decorative touch. Magazines can be stacked neatly or placed in stylish magazine holders. By incorporating books and magazines into your decor, you can showcase your interests and create a cozy, literary ambiance.

Incorporating Lighting

Incorporating Lighting

Lighting can play a crucial role in highlighting your bookshelf decor. Consider using LED strip lights, fairy lights, or small table lamps to illuminate your display. Proper lighting can enhance the colors and textures of your decor items, making them stand out. Position lights to highlight key pieces and create a warm, inviting glow. Incorporating lighting into your bookshelf decor can add a magical and enchanting atmosphere to your room.

Using Personal Items

Using Personal Items Decorate Top Of Bookshelves

Personal items such as family photos and travel souvenirs can add a unique and sentimental touch to your bookshelf decor. Displaying framed family photos or cherished mementos can make your bookshelf feel more personalized and meaningful. These items can also serve as great conversation starters when you have guests. By incorporating personal items into your decor, you can create a space that reflects your identity and memories.

Color Coordination

Color Coordination Decorate Top Of Bookshelves

Color coordination is essential for creating a cohesive and visually appealing bookshelf display. Choose decor items in colors that match or complement the overall color scheme of your room. This creates a harmonious look and ensures that your bookshelf decor blends seamlessly with the rest of your space. Alternatively, you can use contrasting colors to make certain items stand out and create a bold statement. Experimenting with different color combinations can help you achieve the desired aesthetic for your bookshelf.

Maintaining Balance

Maintaining balance is key when decorating the top of your bookshelves. It’s important to strike a harmony between different elements without overcrowding the space. A balanced display should have a mix of heights, textures, and colors to create visual interest. Symmetry can be pleasing to the eye, so consider placing similar items at equal distances on either side. However, asymmetry can also add a dynamic touch, with varying shapes and sizes drawing attention. The goal is to create a cohesive look that feels neither too sparse nor too cluttered.

Practical Tips

Practical Tips Decorate Top Of Bookshelves

Decorating the top of your bookshelves, practical considerations are just as important as aesthetic ones. Ensure that heavier items are securely placed to avoid accidents. Use adhesive putty or museum gel for added stability. Consider the visibility of your decor from different angles in the room and make sure it looks good from all perspectives. Regularly dust and clean your decor items to keep them looking their best. Additionally, don’t forget about the functionality of the bookshelf itself. Ensure that the decor doesn’t impede access to books or other items stored on the shelves below.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

One common mistake when decorating the top of bookshelves is overcrowding the space. Too many items can make the area look chaotic and detract from the overall aesthetic. Another mistake is ignoring proportions. Decor items that are too large can overwhelm the space, while items that are too small may go unnoticed. It’s also important to avoid a lack of cohesion. Mixing too many styles, colors, or themes can create a disjointed look. Finally, neglecting maintenance can lead to a dusty, neglected appearance, so regular cleaning is essential.

How Often Should I Change the Decor on Top of My Bookshelf?

Changing the decor on top of your bookshelf can refresh the look of your room and keep things interesting. How often you should do this depends on your personal preference. Some people enjoy rotating their decor seasonally, adding festive touches for holidays or changing colors with the seasons. Others might prefer to update their decor once or twice a year. Pay attention to how your decor interacts with the rest of the room’s aesthetic. If the room undergoes a significant change, such as new furniture or a fresh coat of paint, it might be a good time to rethink your bookshelf decor as well. Regularly updating your decor keeps your space feeling fresh and reflects your evolving style.

What If My Bookshelf Is In a Small Room?

Decorating the top can be a bit challenging, but it’s definitely doable. The key is to use decor that enhances the space without making it feel cramped. Opt for smaller, delicate items that add charm without overwhelming the room. Mirrors or reflective items can help create the illusion of more space by bouncing light around the room. Vertical decor elements, like tall, slender vases or candlesticks, can draw the eye upward, making the room feel taller. Keep the color palette light and cohesive with the rest of the room to avoid a cluttered look. Remember, in a small space, less is often more.

Can I Decorate the Top of a Bookshelf with Heavy Items?

Yes, you can decorate the top of a bookshelf with heavy items, but it requires some precautions to ensure safety and stability. Heavy items should be placed toward the back of the shelf to prevent them from tipping over. It’s also wise to secure the bookshelf itself to the wall using brackets or safety straps, especially if you live in an area prone to earthquakes or have young children. When positioning heavy items, consider using non-slip pads or adhesive putty to keep them in place. Balancing heavier pieces with lighter decor in the front can create a visually appealing display without compromising safety.


Decorating your bookshelves is a fantastic way to add personality and style to your living space. Whether your bookshelf is in a small room or you wish to incorporate heavier items, there are creative solutions to make the most of this often-overlooked area. By understanding your space, maintaining balance, and choosing appropriate decor elements, you can transform the top of your bookshelf into a stunning focal point. Remember to consider safety and practicality alongside aesthetics, and don’t be afraid to change up your decor periodically to keep things fresh. With a thoughtful approach, the top of your bookshelf can become a beautiful and functional part of your home.

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