book case from midtown apartment designed by darci hether.


do you love reading as much as i do?  i read on the subway during my commute to work, and while i’m waiting to pick up my daughter from school.  with the abundance of paperbacks in our lives, a common question i encounter is, “how do i style a bookcase to be both chic and functional?”  luckily, it’s quite easy to meld storage with style. here are a few of my top tips for creating a bookshelf display that is ready for the ultimate #shelfie.


blank bookcase from bookcase styling tutorial by darci hether from a modern midtown apartment in new york city


  1. start with a clean slate.

the first step in getting your bookcase camera ready is to clear the clutter. out with the old, in with the new. by removing all of the objects from your bookcase, you have just created a blank canvas for making magic. simultaneously you can now decide which items are essential. time to discard any items that do not #sparkjoy, a win-win.


the foundation of a book styling tutorial given by darci hether at a midtown apartment in new york city.


  1. create a foundation.  

start with books. also, try mixing horizontal and vertical arrangements on the same shelf. the difference in placement will create a visual variety to make the books look like they are dancing along the shelf.  bringing in pops of color through your book choices will make your shelves lively and inviting.

if you have a particular favorite cover, don’t be afraid to display that one on a stand front and center. hint: if you are facing your books backward, you can make a list of all of your volumes.  trust me you will be glad you did when you are trying to locate your favorite jane austen.


final stages of bookcase styling tutorial given by designer darci hether. session takes place in a midtown apartment in new york city.


  1. make it personal.

who says that bookshelves are just for housing rows and rows of paperbacks? displaying souvenirs from your travels or items that hold significant meaning in your life lets your bookcase reflect your personality!

helpful tip: when adding trinkets and treasures, be sure to create a balance by choosing items of differing heights. the variety of different shapes and sizes, you will keep your display exciting. you will notice that i have included a globe as a juxtaposition against the square shapes of the books.



  1. give it some life with greenery. 

we have already discussed the essential health benefits of including plants in the home.  why not add them to your bookcase styling session?


i love adding fresh-cut flowers to my bookcases, the perfect elegant touch.  however, a few succulents in chic containers can be the low maintenance option your shelf needs to go from drab to fab.   



remember there is beauty in simplicity. i suggest putting a few things on the shelf, step back to take a look, edit, and repeat. ask yourself, is it too busy or bland? take away, add, and voila, you have the perfect stylish bookcase.