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Just an overcommitted girl trying to keep up with it all. Mom of three, co-owner of Lemonade PR, sports lover and F1 enthusiast always counting down to the Kentucky Derby. 

How to Style Your Shelves: 5 Tips from a Pro

Feb 3, 2017

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this pic of my recently beautified bookcases. The incredibly talented interior designer Kari Ferris has been helping me get my house looking like a home (figured it was about time since we’ve been here a YEAR now) and after she gave my bookcases a Ms. Geist in Clueless style makeover, I knew she needed to share her expertise over here. 

So Kari is popping in today with her tips on how to style your bookshelves. She’s going to be popping in over here regularly with more tips, ideas and lots of inspiration so if you haven anything specific you’re looking for help with, leave it in the comments and you could see it on here soon! 


Let’s face it, mastering bookcase design can be tricky (and frustrating at times), but how wonderful is it to walk into a room and see a perfectly executed, artistic display of the homeowner’s personality? LWW: I can tell you it is AMAZING and the gift that keeps on giving.    

Here are a few tips to help you achieve that stylish and enviable bookcase design.


Add color and/or texture to the back of your bookshelves to transform the overall design of your room. This also helps set the tone for your color palette – which is key. A fresh coat of paint can accomplish this; however, for a more unique look, try a fun wallpaper or a grasscloth (my personal favorite)! 


Good Books –  Forget your old paperbacks, yearbooks, and shiny James Pattersons. Think large, bold, hardbacks with catchy titles and bright colors. Scope out your local antique stores for a set of classic novels. It’s important to have a variety of sizes and colors…and trust me, you’ll need more than you think! 

Something Green – We all need more plants in our life. Incorporate succulents and air plants – if I can keep them alive, you can too! Geodes, crystals, and driftwood add a nice touch as well. LWW: Louisville friends – the team at Forage Shop can help you pick out a plant that works with your house, style and most importantly, lifestyle. 

Copper + Mixed Metals – It wouldn’t be a home without a touch of copper! Shiny elements catch the eye so any gold or silver metals will also look great. 



Guys, cool it with the decorative “words.” I’m not even quite sure what to call these things but if it is not a book and has words on it, throw it away. Stat. Keep all barware, serve ware, and glassware in the kitchen or bar. No tipsy college photos, no cookbooks and no liquor bottles.


This may be my most important tip! Get organized. Start by sorting all of your inventory into groupings. Organize books by size and decorative objects by material. 

5.  BIG – TO – LITTLE: 

Always begin with the large objects. Not only will this determine your shelf heights (if adjustable), these items are the statement pieces so balance is key. 

Next up…books. Stack them horizontally, vertically, and even forward facing. Once you have these placed, you’ll have a good idea of the general layout to be able to move on to the fun stuff! Start filling in with the smaller decorative objects to complete the look. 


So, there it is! Just remember to keep it simple, interesting, and reflective of your personality. And don’t be afraid to rearrange. See how you like things after a day or two and then move objects or books around to master the perfect look for you. Hope these tips help! 

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  1. Heath says:

    Thanks for the tips Kari! I always struggle with shelves.

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