Paste your Google Webmaster Tools verification code here

From the desk of Ashley Pate, owner at Ashley Pate Interior Design

A quick note from the editor:

Good morning McKinney!

Today I am excited to introduce you to our new Home Editor, Ashley Pate! Ashley came on board with The Art of Living Beautifully right before Christmas and has a degree in Interior Design from The Art Institute of Dallas. She has over 20 years experience in the interior design world and has clients throughout the states of Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. You can find Ashley on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and on her website. Go ahead and find her on your favorite social media outlets for all the inspiration she brings outside of what you will see here on The Art of Living Beautifully!

To start off the New Year, Ashley is giving us a few tips on styling bookshelves, something that always feels daunting and overwhelming to me. Thank you for joining our team, Ashley! We are all looking forward to your contribution to TAOLB. -LP


Now that the holidays are over, do you find your home feels empty? Below are some simple tips to help turn boring bookshelves into stunning displays!

Purchasing accessories to decorate bookshelves can seem overwhelming and complicated, however, I’ve found that most of my clients already have everything they need. I always start by clearing out the shelves completely. Starting with a clean slate allows you to change things up completely for a fresh new look!

1.) MAKE A ‘SHOPPING AREA’: Go around your home and gather anything you might be able to use to decorate the shelves. It takes a lot of accessories to decorate shelves, so gather more than you think you’ll need. Also, think outside of the box. Try using items in a different way such as laying a vase or candlestick on its side or use various items from your kitchen as accent pieces. Lay everything out on your dining room table or another designated area, and  ‘Shop From Your Own Store’ while accessorizing your shelves.

2.) USE ACTUAL BOOKS: Don’t forget bookshelves are intended for books! Arrange books vertically and stack horizontally. For balance, add a decorative accessory on top of stacked books. A collection of “volume” books give shelves a clean and organized look. Try to use books with color coordinating spines. Take the paper covers off of hardback books and don’t even use paperback books.

You can also turn books around so that the pages are showing instead of the spine. This is a great tip to keep your shelves from looking cluttered!


3.) BE SENTIMENTAL: Bookshelves are the perfect place to add personality to your home! In every home I design, I strive to create a space that is a reflection of my client’s personality and lifestyle. I add my personal touch by giving it that “Designer Look” that my client’s love, but still reflect the story of who THEY are. Sentimental items add so much meaning and interest to your shelves. Framing a handwritten note or recipe is great way to add personality.


4.) CREATE LAYERS: I place books on the shelves first, then work from the back of the shelves forward. I tend to add my larger accessories toward the back. Lean items such as framed art, mirrors, etc. against the back, then fill in the gaps. This creates layers and gives your shelves depth.


5.) THERE ARE NO RULES: Odd numbers typically work best, but there are no set rules. Nate Berkus once said, “The best design projects are the ones where people broke the rules.” I could not agree more! Take your time and stand back to see if you like it. If not, don’t be afraid to change it or completely start over. You can’t go wrong if your shelves have layers, textures, height variations, and personal belongings to you!

I hope these simple tips have inspired you to give your bookshelves a stylish refresh.

Live with what you love,


(click photos for sources)

Ashley headshot photo credit: Jettpack Creative

For more information about Ashley Pate Interior Designs, please visit our ‘About’ page or

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This