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Heatherly Design Blog

Books, beds and boudoirs: How to style books in a bedroom

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Whether you’re an avid reader or simply love the character they bring to a place, having books in your bedroom can also be a great design idea. Here are four ways to style them.

1. Colour in books

With so many books in existence, in a huge variety of colours and designs, it is entirely possible to style your bedroom library by hue. Start with your bedroom’s palette and then take a look at your collection to find complementary colours.

Here are two very different ways to work with colour.


I love how the bronzed books stand out against the white shelves and the white backdrop but pick up the colour of the wooden ceiling and the vintage style artwork on the wall for a rich monochrome look.

Although the books are different sizes and arranged both vertically and horizontally on the shelves it doesn’t look messy, it adds personality to the room. The only thing missing is a Heatherly bedhead!


On the other end of the spectrum is this simple idea: separating books into colour blocks, which makes a high impact statement. Using a narrow shelf ladder like this means you don’t need a great number of books in the same colour to create the look.

You can definitely experiment with how the books complement or contrast your bedroom wall and also how they work with each other from rung to rung.

2. Bedroom bookends

Bookshelves can act as separators in the bedroom. Some people place low bookshelves at the foot of their bed to separate the sleeping area from a sitting area, for example.


I like how in this room the bookshelves reach all the way to the ceiling, making the books into a feature wall. It’s also an effective transition point between the bedroom and the ensuite.

3. Bedside yourself

A good bedside table is an essential piece of bedroom furniture for bookworms who love reading in bed. Make sure there’s enough room to comfortably accommodate all the essentials—reading lamp, reading glasses and a cup of tea—as well as the latest page-turner you’re working through.


I like this practical, modern bedside table, which allows you to stock up on reading material while keeping the tabletop clear. It’s neutral too, so you can also colour block it for a different look if you don’t like the aesthetics of your to-be-read pile.

4. Book nooks

Bay windows, alcoves and odd-shaped rooms are all candidates for a book nook. So long as you can fit a cosy chair into the nook, you can make it into a dedicated reading space. I’ve seen sofas with bookshelves built in, but you can also create shelf space almost anywhere you have a little depth to slot some books.


This lovely nook combines a day bed with light from the bay window to suggest quality reading time need not be confined to bedtime. The extensive shelf space surrounding the window with books highlights the intent of the space.

My Heatherly bookshelf

My bedroom is too small for bookshelves so here’s my living room library.
Kim Selby - Living room

I did some colour blocking at the top of the built-in shelf with the rest of the books mixed in with decorative (and practical) items.

The wooden shelf further back is ordered in a more functional manner by subject but there are a few cohesive colour segments. It’s nice when you have a series of books with the same colour spine in the same size to help you along! And faithful Labrador will always help to complete the picture.

How have you styled your bedroom bookshelves?