How To Style Bookshelves On A Budget

Sep 4, 2019

how to style bookshelves on a budget

Details on everything in this room here


Hi friends! 

Hope you are all having an amazing week and enjoying the same weather as Louisville. It has been a crisp 80 here and feels like the perfect temperature in the shade with a breeze. I’ve been trying to soak up all the time I can outside with Zain because I can’t shake my Chicago past and am terrified it’s going to turn bitterly cold at any moment. 

I just want to preface today’s post by saying I am not an interior designer nor do I have any of those credentials at all. I have been receiving quite a few questions about styling our shelves (since we have 8 million built ins) so I thought I would try to break down how I go about it and why it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. 



Browse Pinterest

If you struggle with having a clear vision of what you want your shelves to look like, browse Pinterest. I always try to find inspiration there and then save a few images to my phone so when I’m out I can always refer back to my overall goal. I have several home decor boards on my page that have plenty saved to them!


amber interiors

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built in style

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bookshelf styling

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Pick Up Pieces As You See Them

I think sometimes people can get wrapped up in needing to see everything at once but I like to take my time putting areas together. As long as you have a general idea of what your goal is and keep that in mind, I think it will all come together. 


Frequent HomeGoods and Vintage Shops

As annoying as it is, I would just stop in whenever I happened to be in the area and had time. You are bound to find one or two things each time and once you start putting things on the shelf it will all start to make sense. Locally, Charlotte’s Web is a favorite vintage spot.


Look for Book Sales

If you are like me and prefer to use books as your base then search for book sales in your area. Locally, Locust Grove has two huge sales a year and they carry the coolest vintage books. I prefer to pick up books that pertain to our life and look good. Everything from India, Kentucky, Chicago, Architecture, Medicine, etc.

I have scoured Goodwill before too, just make sure you are reading the titles and not just glancing at the color of the book. I sometimes see books on people’s shelves that have the most peculiar titles and I’m assuming they are romantic novels from Goodwill haha. 


Play With Textures and Heights

Start layering and then just layer, layer, layer till you like what you see. I put stuff up, move it and take it down all the time. Alternate vertical and horizontal stacks of books and heights with candles, picture frames and other pieces of decor. 





I highlighted some of my favorite places to get these decor pieces in this post but in general I love CB2, World Market and my parent’s house 😉 Hope this was the least bit helpful and let me know if you have any questions!




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  1. Nikki Beams says:

    Hi! Fellow Louisvillian here :). Wondering if you could tell me where the brown leather chairs are from? Thanks!

  2. Rachel says:

    Where’s the beautiful throw hung on the back of the white sofa from?