Jeremiah Brent Shows Us the Key to Curating a Stylish Bookshelf

Updated 07/20/18

When it comes to style, it's no secret that Jeremiah Brent has it in spades. The celebrity interior designer is known for doling out décor-related advice on his TLC show Nate and Jeremiah by Design, in which he, along with his husband and fellow celebrity interior designer Nate Berkus, help homeowners who are in over their heads complete renovation projects. Frequent MyDomaine readers might also recognize Brent as the designer senior editor Sophie Miura turned to when redecorating her 350-square-foot NYC apartment.

So when we had questions about how to curate a stylish bookshelf, naturally, we sought guidance from the talented TLC tastemaker. From culling a collection of display-worthy books to selecting chic accessories to showcase to arranging visually compelling vignettes, Brent shows us exactly how to decorate a bookshelf like an interior designer. Keep scrolling to see how it's done, and excuse us while we undertake the task of rearranging everything on our shelves with this newfound knowledge.

Tip #1: Size Matters

How to decorate a bookshelf
Brittany Ambridge ; DESIGN: Jeremiah Brent

When selecting accessories to display on your bookshelf, Brent is quick to point out that size matters. "Always play with the size and scale of the items on your bookshelf," the designer recommends. "Stagger the heights of books, vases, and picture frames and try to group in odd numbers," he suggests for curating an interesting arrangement.

If you're not sure where to start, Brent has a helpful rule of thumb to use as a guide. "Start with tall, substantially visual objects as a foundation and work around it by putting small accessories like little sculptures or beads in front," he says. Accessorizing in layers creates a visually compelling vignette, according to the designer.

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Tip #2: Add Greenery

How to decorate a bookshelf, according to Jeremiah Brent
Brittany Ambridge ; DESIGN: Jeremiah Brent

Adding an organic element is the easiest way to take your bookshelf game to the next level, according to Brent. After you've styled a vignette, "Spruce it up with some greenery," suggests the designer. "I love finishing off [a styled bookshelf] with a couple olive branches in a vintage vase," he reveals. For those who are more into florals, "I'm also a huge fan of a simple arrangement of white roses," Brent offers.

Rebekah Miles Ceramic Vase
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Tip #3: Keep It Personal

Jeremiah Brent's tips for decorating a bookshelf
Brittany Ambridge ; DESIGN: Jeremiah Brent

"Bookshelves are the most natural places for displaying your personal photos and picture frames," says Brent. "I always print our photos in black and white to keep a classic and cohesive look," he confesses. Take style notes from the designer and opt for bold black-and-white prints for your own shelf or cull a colorful collection to display. 

Additionally, bookshelves are ideal locations for showcasing the items you've collected on your travels, suggests Brent. "Let your personality and passions shine through in the objects you choose to display in your home," encourages the designer. "Your bookshelves have the opportunity to serve as the timeline of your life."

Polished Sterling Silver 5
Tizo Design Polished Sterling Silver 5" x 7" Picture Frame $295
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Tip #4: Showcase Your Art

Jeremiah Brent's tips for styling a bookshelf
Brittany Ambridge ; DESIGN: Jeremiah Brent

Looking to create an Instagram-worthy bookshelf? "Elevate your #shelfie with some art," suggests Brent. "Prop them up on the shelf, framed, or lean them against the wall," he suggests. "Alternatively, for heavier pieces, consider hanging them up in front of your shelves for a classic English library look," he offers. "It's an interesting way to showcase your art while giving your shelf a more layered aesthetic."

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Tip #5: Books, Books, Books!

Jeremiah Brent on how to decorate a bookshelf
Punika Limpanudom

After all, "it's called a 'bookshelf' for a reason," Brent points out. Luckily, "books are always the best accessories to anything," says the designer. When it comes to arranging them on a shelf, "you can stack them up horizontally or line them up vertically," says Brent. "Have fun with it," encourages the designer.

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