Styled Bookshelves | DIY Built-ins



Finishing Built-in Bookshelves

Woohoo! My bookshelf dreams are officially actualized. We are so happy with how this whole wall turned out. DIY built-in bookshelves don’t have to be hard. In fact, they went fairly smoothly. If you missed the original build, check out this post first. Then come back here where I have the easy job of showing a bunch of finished after pictures. I got to play with my new camera Joe gifted me for Christmas, so it made photographing these shelves extra fun.

DIY builtin bookshelves

Styling a Bookshelf

Or, “Crowding a bookshelf” as Joe would say. I, on the other hand, think they still look pretty bare. I’m working on upping my book collection – Once a library child, always a library child. It’s probably a good thing, or I would book hoard so hard. There are the occasional titles I can’t find anywhere except online, but for the majority of the books I read, I rent from my local library.

As of right now, we only own some college books and a few of my favorites. So now I’m on the lookout to scoop up titles that I’ve already read and loved, and would genuinely want to pass on if someone came over and wanted to borrow them. Only keeping ones I love and want in my personal collection to reread. I’m proud of Joe, he even has a technical book represented up there.

The rest of the bookshelves are filled with fun things that make me happy to look at. I’m sure this will rotate and fluctuate over time. I’ve already rearranged it about 20 times, getting up close and then standing way back to see what looks best together. I love me some tchotchkes. Joe wants to fill it with movies, so let’s hope that doesn’t come to pass. Bookshelves are for books, amiright?

Left Side

You can decide which side you like best. Like I said, I am by no means an expert at styling bookshelves, I’m just putting together things I like and what I have to work with.

DIY built-in bookshelves styled

I love these globe bookends that Joe’s parents gave me for Christmas! They were actually silver to begin with, but I wanted them to match this tray and the rest of the warm copper and brass in the room. So I did what anyone would do and spray painted a perfectly good brand new present.

DIY built-in bookshelves styled

How cool are they?!

DIY built-in bookshelves styled

I also found these little blocks of wood work well to hold up books and divide them.

DIY built-in bookshelves styled

I tried to continue the story of maps in other places in the room too.


If you’re wondering about this tray, (yes, it’s actually a serving tray), I found it in town at an upcycle store for $12. It’s way too beautiful to use, so I’m choosing to keep it on display instead. I’m not sure its history or if it’s even old, but it looks aged and fits in well with the books I think.


Right Side

While the tray was the first thing I put on the left side, this bunny is the first thing I put on the right. So both sides have one bigger, heftier object. I was thinking of Joe when I found it (also an upcycle find) because he has one pet bunny.

DIY built-in bookshelves styled

I think our house symbols are now officially bunnies and paddles. We need to make a family crest or something!


DIY built-in bookshelves styled

One thing you may notice that we don’t love is the vent that’s inside the lower right side of the bookshelf. It’s not too distracting, and we actually lucked out that we didn’t have to relocate it.

DIY built-in bookshelves styled

We put another wood block and a matching plaid picture frame on this side, so it looks balanced but not 100% symmetrical.

DIY built-in bookshelves styled

One thing I refuse to do is buy fake books. Yes, hardcovers look best. Yes, old books are beautiful. But I will never buy poser books just for the look of them. (Unless it’s the book Poser. ^ That was a great yoga book, if that interests you.) I only want to collect books I’ve read, not clutter.
DIY built-in bookshelves styled

But alas, the DVDs are creeping in and some Disney VHS’s too.


LED Backlit Bookshelves

If it was up to Joe, LED’s would be in every room of every house in America. I think they’re great to have on for entertaining, but otherwise I really could live without them. Nice to have but not a need to have. Luckily they’re totally concealed and super versatile.

They come in any size with a remote control with hundreds of color combinations. People always get a kick out of choosing a color when they come over. It’s also fun to turn them to your team’s colors when you’re watching a game, or for holidays.

Strangely, I like them on this light orange the best at night.

Left Side Lights

They also look good on a bright white during the day. It has that museum effect like you’re showcasing your favorite prized possessions.


Right Side Lights

We chose not to light the top row because there’s not a ton of room up there and those shelves are more like little bonus shelves.

LED Bookshelf Videos

Below, here are two different speeds of color fade. You can also choose solid colors, and each side works independently or together.

Below, here are two different settings for strobes. Probably better for party mode, not reading nook.

If you’ve read this far you probably are obsessed with books and bookshelves too. Special thanks to Joe – any man who makes my bookshelf dreams come true is a gentleman and a scholar… well  at least a gentleman. The scholar part will come in time with this new library. He would consider himself more of a student of life.

On a side note, libraries need to make a comeback you guys. Seriously, it forces you to actually read your books within a time limit. Did you know you can also check out DVDs and audiobooks? But wait there’s more: You can get free access to Rosetta Stone and Lynda for learning languages and continuing education in your industry. They also hold events, offer writing prompts for aspiring authors and they’ll supply all the books and venue for book clubs. Yeah. Plus you don’t have to buy a coffee to get work done. I’ve recently been into making lists for my titles so I can go back into my online account and see which books I’ve read and when. Libraries are the OGs, you guys.


5 Questions

We wanna know what you think:

  • Books or movies?
  • Left side or Right side?
  • Lights or no lights?
  • Which colors?
  • More or less?

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