Bookshelf wealth: how to make the new shelfie trend work for you

bookshelf wealth trend
How to nail 'bookshelf wealth' trendWayfair

A new, literary-inspired interior trend is on the rise in 2024. 'Bookshelf wealth' is currently taking TikTok by storm, with the hashtag amassing over 1.6 million views (and counting). The look centres around – you guessed it – bookshelves...but it isn't exclusively for bibliophiles, nor is it about decor for the sake of decor.

Forget coffee table books bought for show, never to be opened. In a now-viral TikTok video, Kailee Blalock, co-founder of luxury interior design firm House of Hive, explains that bookshelf wealth is 'a whole home vibe', which, rather than feeling staged, has a cosy and lived-in look, with books that 'have actually been curated and read'.

She goes on to explain that the look extends beyond your shelves, and leans into a personal, eclectic look, making the most of period features, mismatched prints and patterns, collected artwork and antique decor. The look is loosely cohesive, rather than matching – importantly, everything has personal value.

And importantly, it doesn't have to be a bookshelf. A display cabinet, floating shelf or

So, what about the 'wealth' part? Well, rather than being about monetary value, bookshelf wealth is all about how the items you've amassed and collected over time have special, intrinsic and meaningful value to you. This importance is reflected in the fact they're being displayed around your home.

Keep reading to learn how you can get the bookshelf wealth look in your own home...

Step one is selecting the right type of shelf – some simply work better than others, especially when you have a plentiful book collection to show off.

Sharps' fitted furniture expert, Rachal Hutcheson, explains: 'Closed shelving units and bookcases suit the current trend better than open or floating shelves. Think of your shelf as a display unit and a space where your literary collection once paired with carefully curated art pieces, shape the perfect backdrop.'

'For all you avid readers or collectors who are lucky enough to own a substantial collection of books, knowing how to bring some order to this chaos may seem like an impossible task,' notes Vlatka Lake, storage expert at Space Station.

'While organising your shelves alphabetically may not feel quite necessary for those of you with smaller collections, if you find yourself inundated with piles of books, this may be the perfect solution for you. By alphabetising your collection, you will find it much easier to locate books and this systematic approach will be sure to impress even your most organised friends.'

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Image: Faye Fabric Seat Pads, Cathy NordstromCathy Nordstrom

Alternatively, group your books by genre. '23 per cent of UK readers choose to order their books by genre,' says Vlatka. 'This simple approach not only brings a sense of order to your collection but also makes it super easy to pick up a book that aligns with your current literary mood, whether you need a light-hearted pick-me-up or a devastating drama.

'By categorising your reads this way, you create a personalised library experience, tailored to your diverse taste in genres. There's a reason libraries around the world choose to organise their collections this way.'

Negative space – that is, the empty space around and between items – is key to achieving a look that is curated, rather than cluttered. Spend some time working out exactly what you want to display and whether it allows the option for negative space. If you have a huge amount to show off and limited shelves, you may have to make some cuts.

'Give your items breathing room, using negative space on your shelves to let pieces take centre stage,' suggests Rachal. 'Group other items that pair well – such as book collections – together.'

Bookshelf wealth isn't about instant gratification, which is somewhat painful, if you like to tick off interior design projects. Instead, see yourself as a curator of an ongoing collection.

Rachal says: 'Don’t try to instantly fill your shelves. Your collections should be curated slowly, taking treasures from multiple moments in your life to create something unique to you.'

As tempting as it may be, steer clear of buying items just to fill your shelves. The items you display should be chosen because they genuinely mean something to you, whether it's an ornament from your travels, a sentimental photograph or your favourite potted plant.

'Celebrate individual journeys and take pride in the objects we have collected throughout our lives,' says Peter Erlandsson, owner of String Furniture. 'Whether it’s a collection of specific objects like crockery or crystalware, or just sentimental bits and pieces, give your belongings a new lease of life. Every ornament, shell, fridge magnet and dog-eared book can make up a mosaic of colourful references to your life.'

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You don't have to organise your shelves traditionally. Taking a mix-and-match approach to how you display your books and objects will give the overall look a much more personal, eclectic feel. Instead of creating uniform rows of books, you could try stacking some of them.

'There are no hard and fast rules to how you should organise your bookshelves and stacking your books horizontally offers a functional and stylish alternative to traditional vertical arrangements,' says Vlatka.

'This method not only optimises valuable shelf space but also makes it easy to incorporate decorative elements into your shelving arrangement, whether it’s a faux cactus or delicate trinket, you can present these items on top of your newly stacked books.'

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