How To Decorate The Top Of A Bookcase

Often overlooked, the top of a bookcase can be a treasure trove of design potential.

Contemporary open aired living room with a dark sofa, ratan chairs, brown carpet, dark coffee table and a bookshelf on the background, How To Decorate The Top Of A Bookcase

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Instead of letting it gather dust or become a cluttered mess, why not transform it into a stylish focal point?

Decorating the top of a bookcase can be both fun and rewarding and there are countless ways to elevate this often-ignored area.

Decorating The Top Of A Bookcase

There are so many ways to decorate the top of a bookcase. The most popular methods include:

  • Adding Lighting
  • Having Statement Art
  • Show Off A Collection
  • Hanging Art Above The Bookcase
  • Adding Floral Accents
  • Books On Books

Let’s take a look at each of these options.

Adding Lighting

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Contemporary inspired living room with a gray sofa, patterned rug and indoor plants all over the room

The easiest way to brighten up a room is by adding more lighting. When you add lighting to a bookcase, you benefit from having lights positioned high up in the room, enhancing both ambiance and visibility.

While any lighting can be effective, it’s best to choose a small, unique accent light rather than a standard lamp.

Consider mood lighting! The photo above used a light-up cactus decor, but you can use anything that suits your style. Even a jar of fairy lights can work beautifully.

Having Statement Art

A gorgeous small apartment with wooden flooring, white colored bookshelf and a small table with a book on top

Statement art takes a lot of forms and is a regular sight among the tops of bookshelves and shelves.

It can be photographs, a statue, or even a painting propped up in a nice frame.

Statement art is a great way to add a personal touch to your home and give it “flavor.”

Show Off A Collection

If you are like many people out there, the chances are that you have a small collection of items that you enjoy looking at.

Whether it’s Funko Pop vinyl figurines, cool crystals, or even glass figurines.

They can be a beautiful collection to display at the top of a bookcase in your home.

For collections such as crystals, you may need to display them on something that can hold them and keep them sturdy such as a tray or a display box.

Hanging Art Above The Bookcase

A burgundy colored accent wall, white walls on the background and a white colored bookshelf with indoor plants on top

Sometimes, you don’t want to actually put stuff on the top of a bookcase. It can look cluttered, especially in smaller rooms.

A better option you can explore is the use of the ceiling and walls above your bookcase.

You can hang mirrors, paintings or wall art to keep the space interesting.

Adding Floral Accents

Scandinavian themed reading area with wooden flooring, minimalist designed bookshelf and a green chair

Did you know that studies showed that being near plant life is linked to lower stress levels and better mental health?

It’s true, and that might be why people are putting flowers in vases or live plant on top of bookshelves. 

Keeping plants alive can be a hassle, but there are ways around it. To make sure that you don’t have to deal with light or watering issues, you can get realistic faux flowers.

Books On Books 

Dark contemporary living room with a white paneled bookshelf and dark wooden ceiling

Sometimes, the best way to show off your bookshelf (and maximize book space) is to deck it out with more books.

If you’re a bibliophile, this is a quick and easy way to get the aesthetic you enjoy while also displaying a nice collection.

The key to making this work well is to choose a book that’s meant to be displayed elegantly.

Coffee table books are ideal for this, as are art books. Both options tend to offer a nice, intellectual twist to bookshelf top decor.

Add A Diffuser

Aroma sticks and an indoor plant inside a table

As people become more aware of the benefits of aromatherapy, people are starting to add diffusers as a part of functional decoration.

If you choose to get a diffuser, it’s best to avoid the ones that “mist” essential oils.

While they may look and smell great, the truth is that they can pose a mildew risk for books.

However, you don’t have to write diffusers off altogether. A better option would be a reed diffuser. It’s classy, looks great, and smells even better than it looks.

Decorating The Top Of A Bookcase: A Deeper Look Into Decor

While it’s great to know the basics of decorating options, it’s even better to know how to apply each type of decor. These questions below are the most commonly-asked ones.

How Do You Display Knickknacks Without It Looking Cluttered?

This is a difficult question to ask, but it usually comes down to how you choose to display them. You need to follow some guidelines:

  • Only pick a handful of knickknacks to display, and make sure that they aren’t overwhelming. 
  • Don’t put other items that don’t belong on the top of your bookshelf near the knickknacks. 
  • Color-coordinating, design coordination, or coordinating the materials of your knickknacks makes it look intentional and clean.
  • If you cannot determine whether the items you want to display are junk or actually meant to be displayed, remove them.
  • Consider using a decorative tray to help make it clear it’s a display.

Do Real Plants Get Dusty?

One of the biggest drawbacks of having a silk plant in your home is the risk of getting dust all over them.

Soaking silk flowers in a light 50/50 vinegar-water mix will clean them and brighten them.

What many people don’t realize, though, is that real plants can attract dust just as much as a set of fakes can. Real plants just need to be wiped down and watered, though.

It’s important to keep your plants clean regardless of whether they’re real or fake.

Fake plants will look dull without cleaning and may even stain as a result of long-term neglect.

Real plants can become more prone to disease if they aren’t kept clean. It’s a lot like people in that respect.

How Do You Stabilize A Bookcase?

A wobbly bookcase can wreck your room, but thankfully, it’s easy to fix. Here’s how:

  1. Start by lowering your bookcase to the floor, and emptying it.
  2. Drill a hole in each of the bookcase’s legs.
  3. Get adjustable feet for your bookshelf and tap them in using a hammer.
  4. Adjust the feet until your bookcase no longer wobbles.
  5. After fixing your bookcase and testing it out, put the books back on the shelving. 

In Closing

The top of your bookshelf isn’t just another space in your room. It’s a completely blank canvas that’s waiting to be adorned with gorgeous decorations.

There is an infinite number of ways to make the most of your bookcase’s top, and the only thing that’s limiting you is your own imagination. 

Do you want to give a statement light like a neon sign a try? How about adding that neat collection of antique clocks you have? Or, maybe you just want a floral arrangement instead.

Whatever you choose, it’s important to remember the number one rule of interior design: have fun with it!

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