Express Yourshelf

Shelves and bookcases make for a great place to display personal interests and an insight to the homeowner’s character.  Give your shelves, bookcases, and built-ins new life by using these 10 tips to create an aesthetically interesting part of your home.

  1. Add personalization. Any family photos, personal trinkets and collections, or memorabilia will instantly add personality and character to your home. Put things on display that matter most to you!
  2. Try thinking outside the box or stepping outside of your comfort zone; add quirky little touches to make it uniquely yours.
  3. Greenery is always good. Find small succulents (faux or real!) or draping, viney greens to place on your shelves. Any type of greenery will add both visual and textural interest!


  1. Don’t be afraid to add and mix colors! Bookcases and shelves are one of the few spaces where you can have a variety of colors and patterns happening and it still makes sense. They are for displaying an eclectic mix of items and do not necessarily all have to match.91ba4f_a248f89ffb1c4b98bf530641aefb1d6b
  2. Create a balance of layers by organizing your shelf items by size and heights, colors, and textures. You don’t want things in the back to be overshadowed by other things! Everything should look like it has a purpose or a place.
  3. Try something different or unconventional, for example using the frame of the shelving or bookcases to hang an art piece, favorite photo, or cool mirror. This adds another layer of depth and visual interest, too.
  4. Don’t overcrowd or stuff the shelves. It should serve as a display system, not a catch-all for things just because you don’t know what to do with them. We like using a lot of fun accessories, but know when to stop! 
    (See the rest of this project here!)
  5. Treat each shelf, cube, or cubby like its own space or canvas; all as individual pieces of a greater whole. (p.s. sometimes it’s ok to leave just one thing on its own to create more of an impact or focus on something that’s more important to you, or something that deserves to be individually showcased!)91ba4f_03980d1b0d894cd5b31b83b5b841cd59
  6. Contrast the color of books and accessories with the background of the shelving-whether it’s the wall paint or if you decide to paint or wallpaper the backdrop of the shelves, you want to make sure your things don’t just blend in; make them pop!
  7. Create an aesthetically pleasing visual display that parallels the vibe of the rest of your home.


Things to add to your shelves:

  • Books (obviously). Switch it up though! Find books that interest you, books with cool covers, different vintage books. Also, consider switching up ways of stacking. Did you know that there are at least 7 ways to stack books? Check them out here.
  • bookends
  • Vases
  • Candles and candle holders
  • Ceramics
  • Trinkets
  • Collections
  • Sculptures and statues
  • Plants and succulents
  • Personal photos
  • Crystals
  • Interesting mirrors
  • Cultural pieces or things from travels
  • Small framed art pieces
  • Baskets and bowls
  • Shells and rocks
  • Decorative boxes (see Thinking Outside the Box for some of our favorites!) 
    **Other titles we considered for this post, making it a very difficult decision: Shelf Awareness, Believe in Yourshelf, Self on the Shelf (happy holidays!) and Do it Yourshelf  🙂 
    All photos shown represent original work by North Fork Design Co. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s