Perhaps you’re looking to upgrade your reading nook, but don’t have enough surfaces to place your knick-knacks. Bookshelves are a staple in every home, but can they hold more than books? The easy answer is yes.

Keep reading to find out some of the best ideas for decorating your bookshelf with more than just books! Who knows, you may find something that turns your reading area into an aesthetic masterpiece.


Chalkboards or letter boards are a great way to accent your bookshelf, you can leave messages, quotes, or even things to remember on them. These are perfect for any style because they come in such a variety of finishes. 

Chalkboards can add a unique space for the avid artist or child to personalize in their own way. Letter boards provide a unique way to leave notes for your houseguests or quotes to keep you motivated throughout the day.


Photos can be placed strategically along your bookcase in all shapes and sizes to add that extra attention grabbing detail.

Photos are a great way to show off:

  • Pets
  • Proud family moments
  • Graduations
  • Grandkids

Finding frames to fit your personality can add a pop of color to any bookshelf. If you have a large family or lots of photos to show off, a digital photo frame can be the perfect way to show off all of the family without over cluttering your shelves. 


Greenery is another creative way to bring attention to boring old bookshelves. Whether you have a green thumb for real plants or prefer faux plants that don’t need watering, plants add a beautiful touch to every bookshelf and can be catered to so many different styles. 

Flower pots come in an array of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. This is also true of plants, with such a large variance of choices, fake or real finding the right fit should be easy!

Storage Containers

Styling those bottom shelves can be tricky, especially if you have kids. Storage containers are a fail-proof way to store those eye sores that have no where else to go; pillows, blankets, or even shoes can be stored away destretly in bins. Storage containers come in an endless diversity from size, material, color, and style, and are easily found at many home decor stores. 

These are a godsend with children for storing those toys that seem to end up in every inch of our homes, storing them in a bookcase keeps a toy box from taking up floor space you may not have.

Accent Bowls

Bowls come in so many different sizes and colors, they don’t even have to be wooden! Ceramic, stone, and even resin bowls are making an entrance to the decorating world.

Here are a few of the things you can add to accent bowls:

  • Keys
  • Change
  • Seashells
  • Decorative balls

You can use these as a stand alone piece,  place them on top of a few small books, or even place a book end near one to create the perfect decor for your bookshelf. 


Mood lights are something you see on just about anything, bookshelves are no exception. These little lights are superb for creating the perfect reading light or creating a beautiful colored background to add a burst of energy for your guests or a tranquil getaway for yourself. 

Personalize your space with dimmable, color changing lights that can be controlled by music or a remote to create a tailored space for your style. 


Large letters can accent your family name or even your favorite words. You can find them in all kinds of materials, colors, and sizes. They also come with lights or different textures. Don’t stop at just letters, feel free to use numbers or special characters too!


Another great thing to add to bookshelves are candles, they come in such a wide variety! Fake candles that are battery operated, real scented candles, or even fancy candles that never get lit, it seems like the list of options here is never ending. 

Candles can be a great way to add a little light to the area without overdoing it if you’re more of the subtle type. It is also so calming to relax with a sweet smelling candle and a good book after a long day.

Statement Piece

When you visit someone’s home, you’re always subconsciously looking around at their decorating choices, adding statement pieces can be a fantastic conversation starter for your guests. 

These can be things like:

The possibilities here are literally endless.


In conclusion, the way you decorate your home can say a lot about you. So, can you decorate your bookshelf with things beside books? Yes, you can decorate with a number of things and that can be a little daunting so break it down and decide what speaks to your style and just have fun!