How To Style Your Shelves – 10 Trending Tips

How to: Style shelves and bookcases

Simple tips for styling shelves in any home

The task of styling empty shelves can be a daunting one. From open shelves in your living room to ladder shelving in the bedroom, modern shelves not only add valuable storage, but are a simple and easy way to give your room a chic and eclectic feel while surrounding yourself with the things that tell your story. It takes some styling, but curated collections of books, art and decorative homewares like vases give a layered, sophisticated feel to your space – letting guests see life through your eyes. 

Our biggest tip, keep styling until it feels right. Tinkering with textures, shapes and colours until you have your desired look. But in order to know when it feels right, you need to understand the basics. Brosa has a wide range of shelving options, so whether you’re looking to add storage or create an impressive design feature, here’s our interior design tips & tricks to styling shelves to perfection.

Monterey Open Bookshelf & Monteray Bookcase combination

Stick To Your Colour Palette 

The goal is to create an aesthetically pleasing shelf. The best way to do that? We recommend working with a cohesive colour palette. Not everything has to match, instead choose two or three colours from a complimentary palette and repeat them throughout your items, giving you an intentional, put-together look. For example, if your colour palette is white, beige and blue, add a beige basket, blue vase and stack of white coffee table books.

Big and Tall 

It’s easy for shelves to look messy when you begin styling with small, decorative trinkets. Instead, start with larger items such as indoor plants, sculptures or an interesting artwork — this will add scale and balance to your shelves to give you a basic layout to build from. We love the Brosa Lang Bookcase  for a stylish and versatile design with ample height to accommodate larger decor. 

Lang Bookcase

Hit The Books 

Books and magazines are a great way to inject style, personality and colour into your shelf design. Go minimal and present two or three of your favourite covers as an art installation or make the most of your collection by stacking books horizontally and vertically, and aligning some stacks to the left, right or centre of a shelf for an effortlessly put together look. Keep it simple with the Brosa Memphis Bookcase with fixed sides to keep your books in place. 

Memphis Bookcase, styled with Seta 4 seater sofa with chaise and Memphis Collection Pieces


Nothing adds a little life to a room like some lush indoor plants. A touch of greenery can wake up an entire space, adding texture to your shelves and a pop of colour to your room. Look for evergreen plants with a visual appeal like a hanging Devils Ivy or a structural succulent. Fresh flowers are also a great way to play with a new colour palette. 

Field Triple Open Shelf

Add Artwork 

In a world where pictures are usually hung, bookshelves are a great way to display artwork and photographs without the hassle. Opt for freestanding frames or lean them against the wall. Inject life into a room that may not allow permanent interior changes like a rental home or office space with an open shelf design like the Brosa Dominic Narrow Bookcase, with enough space to display your favourite pieces. Try placing artwork at the back of the shelf, layering smaller items in front to create depth and interest.

Dominic Narrow Bookcase

Highs and Lows 

You’ve selected the items you’d like to display, so what’s next? Combining larger and smaller pieces creates a balanced look. Start with a few large staple items, accessorising with smaller, more intricate objects to create a balanced aesthetic. Large picture frames, display bowls and tall vases are great pieces to incorporate as a foundation or to fill in space. A collectors delight, the Brosa Dominic Wide Bookcase is a beautifully modern, Mid-century inspired piece with ample storage to accommodate a range of items of varying sizes, while keeping it light and airy. 

Dominic Wide Bookcase

Styling Ladder Shelves 

Combining a rustic charm with smart, space-saving designs, ladder-style shelves are a great alternative to traditional cabinets and large shelving units. Their lightweight frame and compact design turn that forgotten, old corner into a functional and aesthetic space. Opt for the Brosa Lang Medium Wall Unit, a ladder-like shelf design that brings a new dimension to any interior without taking up too much space. 

Lang Medium Wall Unit – Ladder Shelf Style 

The Readers Nook

Shelves were practically invented to hold books. The petite Brosa Hemming Wall Shelf can be beautifully styled by alternating vertical and horizontal stacks and colour coordinated for maximum impact. Slotting snugly next to a beautiful fireplace or large window, a narrow bookshelf can add a new lease of life to a lonely corner!

Hemming Wall Shelf

Wide Open Spaces 

For a simple yet sophisticated look, leave a little space on each shelf beside your decor. We like coupling clusters of books and a small sculpture, or placing a lucious plant or vase of fresh florals in the middle of the shelf, leaving space on either side so that the wall is visible. A sure-fire way to be the #interiorsinspo of all your guests. 


Explore using symmetry to balance your shelving design. A simple but effective principal, whatever you do on one side of the shelf, mirror it on the other! If you have large, heavy books on the bottom right, put another cluster of large, heavy books on the top left. A tall glass vase can be mirrored with a candlestick of the same height. The mirroring doesn’t have to be exact. Play with it to find out what works well.

Mia Wide Bookcase

Delivery to Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and beyond

Explore Brosa’s collection of standout shelving designs for a unique interior update. Dominic, Lang and Memphis are some of our bestselling favourites. Be inspired by Brosa’s stylish designs with Australia wide shipping and virtual consults. Visit our website for more info.