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Not only should a bookshelf present literature, but it should also offer a glimse into the readers soul. In this blog post, you will learn quick and efficent tips to build a magnificant bookshelf.

No matter how big or small your book collection is, this is the post for you.

This post will discuss:

  • The ‘aesthetic’ of a bookshelf
  • The physical building of a bookshelf (what materials to use, how to clean it, etc)
  • Buying and storing books
  • Decorating the bookshelf

For maximum effectiveness, I suggest building your bookshelf in the order given below.

Aesthetics Of A Bookshelf

Before you buy any furniture or decorations, answer the following questions. Don’t worry: there are no right or wrong answers!

  • What genres do I buy books in?
  • What colours are associated with my favourite genres?
  • Do I want a classic, modern or quirky look? (Or something different: it’s up to you!)
  • What is my budget?
  • What room of my home is the bookshelf going in?

It’s good to have a specific idea of what you want your bookshelf to look like. That’s because you want to maximise your budget, and not make foolish spending decisions. The good news is that’s possible.

First, I suggest finding a single word that describes how you want your bookshelf to look like. Maybe it is ‘galactic’ or ‘natural.’ Perhaps the word is a colour, or a style. Once you have decided on your word, make a colour palette. Try to look for complimentary colours, or thematically relevant ones.

If you need inspiration, Pinterest and Instagram can be helpful. Or, a simple Google Image search can wield results that will assist you.

Once you have your colour palette and your specific word, keep them close. Let them form your decorating and construction of your bookshelf.

The Physical Building Of Your Bookshelf

Not everyone has the physical strength to build a bookshelf. As a result, you may use a handyman, or a family member or friend. My familiarity regarding bookshelves is restricted to wooden-based ones, although you could use other material.

Depending on the specifications of the instructions, you’ll need screws or glue. What you should also consider is the size of your bookshelf, and where you’ll put it. Personally, my bookshelf is away from the sun, and is not large. This is because I’m short, and I can’t reach high. Although using a ladder may seem fun, it’s worth thinking twice about it, as it can result in greater inconvenience.

Also check for potential fire hazards.

Bookshelves require cleaning, although not often, at least for me. Don’t let your beautiful books get dust on them!

To clean your bookshelf, you can follow my method (may not suit all bookshelves):

  1. Take all your books out, and store neatly.
  2. Sweep the corners of the bookshelf for dust
  3. With surface cleaner (this varies per country), spray on your shelf
  4. Wipe your bookshelf, until no dust remains and the colour is stable.
  5. Wait for a few hours or days until the bookshelf is dry, and it is safe to put your books back.

Cleaning your bookshelf is highly important. I recommend a clean two times every year.

Buying And Storing Books

You may already have books, but perhaps you’d like to buy more. I recommend purchasing books from The Book Depository, because:

  • Their website is functional and easy to find information (unlike Amazon)
  • Easier to compare editions to each other
  • Easy packaging
  • Great deals

When purchasing books, it’s important to keep in perspective:

  • The dimensions of the book
  • Whether the spine will fit in the bookcase
  • How many books your bookcase can store (are you fine with stacking books?)
  • Is coordination and stylistic consistency important to you? Is there a particular colour you want your book spine to be? (Think how Penguin uses a certain shade of orange for classic editions)
  • Plans for slipcases and other book-related materials

All of these should factor into your purchasing of books. They’ll also shape how your bookshelf looks and how you feel about it.

You may want to colour-code your shelf, but personally, I don’t. It is optional to put books in alphabetical order, but that can help when you forget where you put a book. Another easy solution is sorting books by genre or by another category.

Decorating Your Bookshelf

By this stage, you have:

  • Developed a picture of your ideal bookshelf
  • Build the bookshelf
  • Filled it (or some of it) with books

Now you can move on to decoration. Keep in mind your colour palette and your theme. From there, you can pick objects to decorate your shelf with.

That might include:

  • Name plaques
  • Lighting (such as fairy lights)
  • Figurines
  • Globes, or other science and geography items
  • Lamps
  • Stickers
  • Collectibles
  • Timepieces
  • Novelty items

Again, there is no right or wrong way to decorate a bookshelf. However, ensure that nothing falls over, or causes you to trip.

You may want to consider the space around the bookshelf, especially if it does not take up alot of space. Perhaps you’d like a poster, picture or an artwork near your bookshelf. That will add a unique touch, and could increase your personal enjoyment of your bookshelf.


Many won’t see the point in decorating a bookshelf, or even having one. And that’s up to them. Others may see decorating a bookshelf as a topic not worth considering. I disagree, as building my own bookshelf and taking care of it, was worth the time invested.

To decorate my bookshelf, I used Christmas and birthday presents from family members over the past ten years. I didn’t buy anything extra, beyond the bookshelf itself. You don’t need to spend alot of money to have a bookshelf that makes you feel good and keeps your books secure.

However, it helps to have an appreciation for the books you own, and a want to take good care of them.

What is your bookshelf like? Comment below.

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