Bookshelves are one of the most functional and versatile design elements you can have in a room. They’re just calling out for creativity, begging to be made an artistic expression of style. With just a little plant panache, you can turn your bookshelf into an eye catching focus point or gorgeous backdrop for any room.

What’s more, taking advantage of the open space on a bookshelf is one on the best ways to bring new plants into your home without adding clutter. That’s right – more plants and more style. It’s a win win Janice.

So how do you style a bookshelf with plants the right way?

In this article we’ll tale you through 10 clever hacks that you can combine in any fashion you desire, in order to create a colourful and vibrant vignette on any bookshelf.

1) Use trailing plants on higher shelves

Carefully placed trailing plants breaks up horizontal line and adds texture

Trailing plants create a beautiful cascading effect. They spill gently out of their container, bringing a soothing softness to the straight lines of a shelf. Place tumbling plants with vines or long leaves on the mid and upper shelves. Style them in a way that allows the lush leaves and vines to hang down. This waterfall effect works when vines are placed along the side of the shelf or right down the front.

Tumbling plants adds both texture and visual appeal down the length of the shelf. Stunning vining plants styled in this way stand out and bring your décor to life. The eyes are used to going horizontally across a shelf, but the cascading plants draw the eye vertically, too.

2) Place plants on book stacks, or use as book ends

Plants are way cuter than your usual book holder

A unique and fun way to display both books and smaller plants is by stacking them. Make a stack of several books and place a potted plant on top. By piling a few books and adding a potted plant on top, you create layers.

For a more minimalist and clean look, place the stack with the book spines facing the wall, leaving the sides with the pages to face out. The plant becomes the focal point, but the stack of books still adds charm and character.

Alternatively, use a plant instead of a traditional book end. The result is both quirky and appealing.


3) Stagger plant placement

Plants can be used to create balance, or to add interest through variation

For tall shelves, stagger the plants by placing one on one side, then the other on the opposite side on the next shelf, and so on. This helps to bring balance. But don’t be afraid of a little chaos either Janice. For a more fun look – especially with retro decor – stagger the plants in a random fashion to create a quirky cluttered look.

As you’re styling your shelf take a step back and see where you need to even things out.  The key is to achieve a look that’s harmonious and visually pleasing.

4) Fill small empty spots with small succulents

Here an empty top shelf is made beautiful through the addition of some simple succulents

Skip the excessive tchotchkes and knickknacks and go natural. Empty spots on a bookshelf can be filled in with small succulents. They make for the perfect filler plant when you want to add natural touches but are lacking space.

Since they’re so easy to care for, you don’t have to worry about remembering to water them frequently. You can simply slip them into the small bare areas of the shelf and bring in a hint of color and vibrancy.

5) Create vignettes with candles

One of the loveliest groupings to place on a shelf is pretty potted plants and a candle. Candles that come in beautiful packaging and that you don’t necessarily intend to light can be placed next to or in front of a plant. Another option is to use faux flameless candles that cast a soft glow without the risk of catching your plants on fire.

Create a small vignette with 2 plants of varying sizes and a jar candle in front. These types of displays are simple options that instantly bring warmth, charm, and a cozy feel to any room.

6) Choose unique pots and unexpected containers

Notice how the addition of a bare metal container adds much needed contrast to this wooden bookcase

If your home décor style trends more towards quirky, colorful, and eccentric, mix up your planters. Don’t be afraid to have fun with how you display your plants. Use unique pots or go bold with unexpected containers. Not everything on your shelf has to match or go together in an obvious way.

For small plants like succulents, pot them in a favorite mug or a beautifully painted clay pot. Bring different textures to the shelf by using planters made of wicker, woven baskets, or crochet pot covers. You can get creative and have a one-of-a-kind display that showcases your unique flair.

7) Go minimalist with terra cotta pots

A terracotta pot is used here to add simple rustic elegance to this shelving

Decorating with plants doesn’t have to mean using bold, colorful, or even unique containers. If you prefer a more minimalist look, keep it rustic and simple by using classic orange terra cotta pots. They work perfectly with succulents and cacti, but can also bring out the beauty of other greenery too. Using terra cotta containers creates a uniform look on your shelves but without being dull or uninspiring.

8) Keep it simple with fronds & branches

Multiple plants already about the house can be a source of cuttings for shelf decoration

You don’t have to have a whole plant to make a statement. Just displaying a delicate frond or two gives an elegant and chic look. Place a frond in a glass jar with water for a simple, subtle touch. Bring a favorite plant from an outdoor garden into your home by cutting a branch and displaying it in a vase.

What’s so nice about using fronds or branches in your decorating is that they can be swapped out as often as you’d like. Bring the colors of the seasons into your home with this décor trick. If you prefer more versatility and flexibility with the plants on your shelf, it’s one of the best options.

9) Go big with an abundance of greenery

Create bookshelves filled to the brim with your plants for a statement effect. Mix different plant sizes and pot types for eye catching contrast

Who says you have to put books on a bookshelf, anyway? Let your plant-loving heart be happy by bringing all the greenery onto your shelves. Go big by displaying an abundance of plants. Cluster them together in a way that combines varying sizes and heights. Not only will many happy houseplants help to purify the indoor air, but they’ll also bring a bounty of beautiful natural elements into the space.

10) Pair with beautiful artwork and framed photos

Notice here how the plant accentuates simple artistic pairing

Your bookshelf doesn’t only have to be used for displaying books and plants. Bring your unique style into the mix by incorporating art pieces and framed photos that you love. Pair your plants with artwork, either in between books or using plants as bookends.









Decorating a bookshelf doesn’t have to be a challenge. Just a few plants can add color, texture, and volume to any ordinary surface. Try these tricks to style your space and bring your bookshelf to life with a unique look.


Miss Pot Plant