14 stylish ways to display books in your home – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Vases. Globes. Succulents. Wooden letters. Animal figurines.

These are all items you’ll likely find on a bookshelf styled for a magazine spread or Pinterest photo. But where are all the books?

If you have a large book collection, you may be tempted to keep it hidden away in boxes or closets. A living room shelf crammed with books can make the room look cluttered or messy.

But books also add personality to a room, sparking conversation and maybe an irresistible urge to page through an old favorite or a new title. When displayed in a thoughtful way, your favorite books can live comfortably and stylishly out in the open — even taking residence in their rightful home on the bookshelf.

Here is some inspiration for displaying books throughout your home.

1. Create a lighted book box from a wooden crate to display a book collection as you would a piece of art. This project is also from “Novel Living” (STC Craft | An Imprint of Abrams, 2014).

Thayer Allyson Gowdy

2. Another idea from “Novel Living” is perfect for a guest bedroom or kid’s room. “Sling books make a thoughtful visual statement and invite perusing,” writes Occhipinti. Knot loops of cotton twill tape, and slide a rotating cast of books into the slings.

Thayer Allyson Gowdy

3. No bookshelves? No problem. Stacks of books can elegantly live on windowsills and coffee tables. Keep the stacks reasonably low and top with vases of flowers or other objects.

Victoria Smith, sfgirlbybay.com

4. Arrange books by color to give a cohesive look to a full bookshelf.

Pietro Bellini

5. Use track shelving to create a floating bookcase.

Daniel Kanter, manhattan-nest.com

6. Display select books on picture ledges alongside framed art or photos.

Gary Porter

7. In a neutral-toned room, a wall of books adds color. Mix things up by stacking some books horizontally and some vertically. Leave breathing room on some shelves.

Michael McLoone

8. Cookbooks add character and utility to a low, built-in kitchen shelf.

Michael Sears

9. Display books that match the feel and style of the room. Period books fit right in on this mid-century modern bookshelf.

Gary Porter

10. Display old books to add charm to a room.

Mark Hoffman

11. This Menomonee Falls house uses space under the stairs for a reading nook.

Ernie Mastroianni

12. It’s not easy finding the first floor bathroom in Peggy Brown’s Bay View home. The bookshelf is a secret door to the bathroom.

Kevin Eisenhut

13. Balance a large TV screen out with rows of books on both sides.

Michael McLoone

14. Coffee table books make a great conversation piece and can be switched with changing seasons, interests and events.

Michael McLoone

About Alison Sherwood

author thumbnail

Pulitzer Prize-winning multimedia journalist Alison Sherwood is the web producer for the Journal Sentinel’s lifestyle section, Fresh.