The Most Popular Ways to Style the Top of Your Bookcase

Your bookshelves themselves are styled to perfection, but the top looks a bit bare. Should you put decor on top of your bookcase or leave it empty? What kind of decor looks good up there, anyway? Never fear! We’re here to dispel the many mysteries of styling the top of your bookcase. Follow these styling tips to make the tops of your bookcases and cabinets look fabulous.

Leave it Bare

Sometimes the best approach is to leave your bookshelf bare. If there are less than 2 feet of space between the top of your bookcase and the ceiling, it’s better to leave it open or risk it looking cramped and cluttered. Or, if the bookcase or cabinets are the same color as the wall and ceiling, adding something may interrupt the line and end up making the space seem smaller. However, the perfectly placed piece (or pieces) can extend your bookcase and make the entire room feel larger and more complete, so keep reading!

Create a Still Life

Wondering how to make a bookshelf look pretty? Create a still life! First, create a layered vignette to crown your cabinets. Group items of similar style and color together for a clean, cohesive look, or mix-and-match for an eclectic, bohemian vibe.

Just be sure to follow just a few simple rules:

  • Don’t display small objects or artwork with lots of detail—they will get lost placed up high
  • Opt for abstract artwork or photographs instead
  • Choose pieces of varying height and width
  • Layer, layer, layer to create a multi-dimensional look
  • Start with a large piece of artwork in the back, then layer a few objects of varying height in front 

When gathering items for your bookshelf still life, consider large vases, abstracts, decorative knick-knacks, figurines, or even a stack of books! Don’t be afraid to get creative.

Opt for a Statement Piece

Does the top of your bookcase need a finishing touch? Sometimes a single statement piece is all you need. Plus, if you’re not confident in your ability to decorate you can stay on top of bookcase decor easily with this trick—it’s hard to get wrong. Just make sure the object of choice complements the colors and aesthetic of the room and also fills the space while leaving breathing room between the ceiling and the edges of the bookcase. For example, a large rectangular basket can fit the top of a wide bookcase while a tall piece of pottery is better suited for a narrow one. Play around with objects of different shapes and sizes to see which looks best.

Display a Curated Collection

Handmade pottery, vintage vases, pretty candlesticks, cake plates—do you have a cherished collection of curios you want to show off but are not sure how best to do so? You may want to seek out where to buy bookshelves and find one specifically for this purpose. Displaying a collection of objects can create a cool effect when set up for maximum impact. Line them up across a long shelf or group a few in a vignette all their own. Go all out with a glass curio cabinet to display more of your unique collectibles from top to bottom. 

Pile On the Plants

While plants seem like an easy solution, keep the upkeep in mind when choosing which cabinets to don with your leafy green friends. A shorter bookcase that can be easily reached with a stepstool is manageable while a tall shelf can require quite a bit of effort. Living plants require water and pruning and even faux plants need care and should be dusted regularly to keep up appearances. 

However, all those shades of green in pretty pots look quite lovely. When choosing your plants, look for full, leafy types such as a Boston fern or maidenhair fern, and trailing types such as golden pothos or English ivy.

Decorate Your Bookshelf with CORT Furniture Outlet 

Are you full of decorating ideas, but without a bookcase? Shop CORT Furniture Outlet for a wide range of new and gently used bookshelves and accessories! Our always-changing, one-of-a-kind inventory doesn’t last long. Shop in-store or online and pick up your bookcase on the same day and have it decorated before the day is done!