5 Ways to Style a Bookcase or Cabinet

by Crystal Lazaroo


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Newport Bookcase - Regular or Grande 

Claremont Bookcase

Modular Bookcase

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Image: Modular Bookcase

Styling a bookcase or cabinet can feel like an overwhelming task, especially when you want the result to be both beautiful and functional. Let's take a look at 5 ways to style a bookcase or cabinet.


1) Begin with your largest pieces first. Consider largest to be both in visual volume (large bowl or decorative item) and quantity such as stack of books.

2) Add in artwork. Layer inexpensive artwork, a frame a pretty image or photo to give your shelves dimension and personality. Choose substantial pieces as you'll want to see them from a distance. 

3) Use both vertical and horizontal layers. Lay books horizontally with an object on top for a unique way to store larger books. If you have a lot of books, we like to colour coordinate them or turn the spines to the back of the bookcase, exposing the pages for seamless overall feel.

4) Use decorative boxes or bowls to store functional items, such as charging cords and stationery. The use of trays also work well to help coral like items, such as a collection of glasses or white jugs (a personal favourite)

5) Repetition is a stylist's secret to creating a beautiful and cohesive bookcase. Repeat either the type of decorative accents (for example wood or bass accents) OR repeat the vignette combination.


Image: Harold's Finishing Touches

Gather all your items before you begin to make the process easier. Take a step back as you go to see how it's coming together, maybe in leave it for a few hours and come back to it. Perspective and fresh eyes are everything. And don't forget to take your time and have fun!


The best thing about cabinets are the doors. This means you can really show off all your favourite things, without dust collecting too often. #winning! Cabinets are incredibly versatile. You can use them almost anywhere in your home for practical storage in an office or study, children’s playroom filled with baskets of toys, even a laundry or bathroom stored with towels and soaps. Beauty meets practicality.

1) Theme. Stick with a theme or colour palette. Chances are if you're a collector, you're constantly drawn to the same type of pieces. Be it blue and white, Cabbage ware or pretty linens. Having a theme will give your cabinet style a cohesive feel. 


Image: Ingrid

2) Layer from back to front. You'll be amazed at how much you can store in a cabinet. Dishes look great stacked in piles (make sure to evenly distribute the weight of your shelves), but we also suggest adding a pretty plate or serving dish against the back of the cabinet for interest and a pop of colour.

3) White space. Leave some breathing room between your pieces as you style your vignettes. An overcrowded cabinet just looks cluttered and uninspiring, and we're all chasing more peace and calm in our lives, right?


Image: Long Island Cabinet in client home.

4) Top to bottom. We love to add baskets to the top (and bottom) or our cabinets. It finishes off the piece beautifully and can be an elegant way to store items you that you don't use all the time. 

5) Elevate the everyday. Items you use everyday look instantly more beautiful when thoughtfully styled. A pretty jug with utensils or pottery to hold your cutlery look instantly elevated behind glass doors. 

Image: Milford Cabinet

People often ask me "Where could I use a bookcase or cabinet in my home?"

Answer: Anywhere. A tall bookcase or cabinet can create the illusion of height and space in an average size room. Scale can make or break a room, so it's important to get it right. 

Furniture vs Built-ins? We favour cabinets and bookcases rather than built-ins as they offer a multi-layered dimension which most built-ins lack. Plus, you can take it with you when you move or even re-purpose pieces as your style evolves.

If you're thinking about adding a new cabinet or bookcase to your home, browse our collections and find the right piece for your home. 

Image: Claremont Bookcase

Bookcases and cabinets are one of our favourite pieces of furniture to decorate a home. They add character, fill an empty wall and offer depth plus great storage benefits and display potential.

For more inspiration follow us on Instagram and watch our IG TV styling 'how-to' videos.

Need help choosing the right piece? Email or call us today and we'll help you find one that's right for you.

Here's to a beautiful home!



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