most inspiring bookshelf design ideas for the living room

The Most Inspiring Bookshelf Design Ideas for the Living Room

While the term “shelfie” may have been kicking around the internet since 2014, as far as we’re concerned, this trend has officially reached timeless status. But the latest inspiration rooms we’re loving place a little more emphasis on the bookcase’s original purpose that is, storing books.

Whether you’re a voracious reader who spends half her monthly budget at the local indie bookstore or just someone who appreciates flipping through a few choice periodicals, there’s no denying that a pair of stately bookshelves in the living room lends an elevated, well-appointed air to your space. And with fall in full-swing, we can’t think of anything that sounds cozier than curling up in your own personal home library with a cup of coffee and a favorite read.

Luckily, no matter if you’re blessed with built-ins or just rocking a few IKEA kallaxes, these designs will fill you with the shelf-confidence you need to make your living room’s bookshelves really stand out. Just don’t be surprised if these stacked shelves inspire you to pick up a little more reading material of your own – don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Here are our most inspiring bookshelf design ideas for the living room.

Out In Front

Out In Front - Bookshelf Design Ideas

Rule-breakers, rejoice: this expertly-styled shelf shows there’s no reason to stay inside the lines. Popping an oversized piece of art out in front of the shelves creates a playful, eye-catching effect we love.

Roll With It

Roll With It - Bookshelf Design Ideas

Blame it on one-too-many viewings of “Beauty & The Beast” when we were kids, but there’s something downright dreamy about a rolling library-style ladder. Pick up a reclaimed piece to add vintage flair to your shelves.

Don’t Resist the Pull

Don't Resist the Pull - Bookshelf Design Ideas

If your built-in bookshelves include lower cabinets, show ’em off. Tactile leather pulls replace standard-issue knobs, bringing a more custom look to the entire unit.

Ship(lap) Shape

Ship(lap) Shape - Bookshelf Design Ideas

Just when we thought we’d seen every shiplap application under the sun, this clever twist comes to steal our hearts. Add a ton of texture in a small space by confining the shiplap to shelf lining—unlike covering full walls with the material, limiting the application to your bookcase helps you avoid overpowering a petite room.

Floating Free

Floating Free - Bookshelf Design Ideas

Floating shelves aren’t just for the kitchen. Opt for an ultra-airy feel by employing them in a living room—they balance out heavier architectural elements beautifully.

Dark & Handsome

Dark & Handsome - Bookshelf Design Ideas

Who knew built-ins could stand out so much? A bit of on-trend navy paint transforms these shelves into something truly special.

Creative Contrasts

Creative Contrasts - Bookshelf Design Ideas

Not ready to commit to a full-on dark blue bookcase? Opt to paint just the back wall of each shelf to add a bold pop of color that will flatter all your favorite knickknacks.

Fit To Be Framed

Fit To Be Framed - Bookshelf Design Ideas

There are two schools of thought when it comes to wall-mounted TVs: one suggests making the TV as unobtrusive as possible through various forms of camouflage…but we’re partial to the opposite approach. Frame your TV with shelves and let it be the family focalpoint it is.

Monochrome Moment

Monochrome Moment - Bookshelf Design Ideas

Art inspires life inspires art. If you’re lucky enough to have a truly showstopping masterpiece at home, play it up—framing it out with wall-mounted bookshelves in a similar hue can amp up the impact of an already awe-inspiring piece.

Bold Colorblocking

Bold Colorblocking - Bookshelf Design Ideas

Drop it low. We love the optical illusion of “extending” a few low shelves by colorblocking the wall above with the same paint color. Not only does it add a whimsical touch to standard floating shelves, but it lets you play with proportion too…and add lighting right above your favorite titles.

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