How to Decorate a Bookshelf for Christmas

Decorating a bookshelf for Christmas transforms an ordinary space into a festive showcase, blending the charm of your favorite reads with the magic of the holiday season. This guide is designed to inspire creativity and offer practical tips to make your bookshelf a captivating focal point of your Christmas decor.

How to Decorate a Bookshelf for Christmas

From utilizing traditional holiday colors and ornaments to incorporating personalized touches that reflect your unique style, we’ll explore how to curate a display that not only celebrates the spirit of Christmas but also adds warmth and character to your home.

Whether you’re looking to create a subtle holiday vignette or a dazzling thematic arrangement, this guide on how to decorate a bookshelf for christmas will provide you with the ideas and inspiration you need to bring the joy and beauty of Christmas to your bookshelves.

What is a Bookshelf?

A bookshelf is a piece of furniture designed to store and display books. It typically consists of horizontal shelves supported by vertical columns or supports, with enough space between each shelf to accommodate various sizes of books.

You can find bookshelves in a variety of styles, designs, and materials – from classic wooden shelves to modern metal ones. They are not just for books anymore; bookshelves have become an essential element of home decor, providing functional storage while also adding personality and charm to any room.

Why Decorate Your Bookshelf for Christmas?

Decorating your bookshelf for Christmas not only adds visual interest and holiday cheer to your home but also serves as a creative way to incorporate your love for literature into your Christmas decor. By incorporating festive elements and colors, you can transform your bookshelf from a functional storage unit to a decorative centerpiece that captures the essence of Christmas.

Decorating Your Bookshelf Allows You to Showcase

Additionally, decorating your bookshelf allows you to showcase your personal style and creativity through unique touches and arrangements. It’s also an opportunity to add sentimental or personalized items to your holiday decor, such as family photos, handmade ornaments, or cherished knick-knacks.

You can also use your bookshelf as a canvas to tell a story or create a theme, whether it’s based on traditional Christmas tales or your favorite books and movies. The possibilities are endless, making decorating your bookshelf for Christmas an enjoyable and satisfying activity.

Necessary Materials

Christmas Themed Books:

Start by selecting a collection of books that are seasonally appropriate and in line with your Christmas decor. Look for books with holiday-themed titles, festive covers, or even ones that feature the colors of Christmas – red, green, and gold.


Ornaments not only add color and texture to your bookshelf but also contribute to the overall theme of your display. Consider using traditional Christmas ornaments such as baubles, snowflakes, stars, or even miniature trees to add a touch of whimsy and sparkle.


Adding string lights to your bookshelf can instantly create a warm and inviting ambiance. Opt for white or colored lights, depending on your desired aesthetic. You can also use battery-operated lights for a hassle-free setup.

Adding String Lights to Your Bookshelf


Incorporating greenery such as garlands, wreaths, or even small potted plants can add depth and texture to your bookshelf. Fresh or faux greenery can be used depending on personal preference and availability.

Other Decorative Items:

To add a personal touch to your display, consider incorporating other decorative items such as family photos, figurines, candles, or DIY crafts. These items allow you to infuse your own style and personality into your Christmas bookshelf decor.

Optional Materials:


In case you need to trim any greenery or ribbons, having scissors handy will make the process easier.

Command Hooks:

If you plan on hanging string lights or garlands from your bookshelf, command hooks are a convenient and damage-free option for securing them in place.

11 Steps on How to Decorate a Bookshelf for Christmas

Step 1: Clear Out Your Bookshelf

The first step to decorating your bookshelf for Christmas is to declutter and remove all items currently on display. This will give you a blank canvas to work with and make it easier to visualize your design. It’s also a great opportunity to clean and dust your bookshelf.

Declutter and Remove All Items

You can either temporarily store the items you removed or incorporate some of them into your  Christmas decor. The rest can be placed back on the bookshelf once your holiday display is complete.

Step 2: Choose a Theme

Decide on a theme or color scheme for your Christmas bookshelf decor. This could be traditional, rustic, modern, or any other theme that reflects your personal style. Having a theme in mind will make it easier to select materials and decorations that complement each other.

You can also draw inspiration from your existing holiday decorations and incorporate similar elements into your bookshelf display for a cohesive look. The key is to have a clear direction before you start decorating.

Step 3: Arrange Your Books

Start by arranging your Christmas-themed books on the shelves. You can stack some horizontally and place others vertically for visual interest. Try to distribute them evenly throughout the bookshelf rather than grouping them all together on one shelf. You can also add mini ornaments or greenery on top of the stacks for added decoration.

It’s okay to mix in non-holiday books as well, especially if they fit into your color scheme or add a personal touch to your display. The goal is to create a cohesive and visually appealing arrangement.

Step 4: Add Ornaments

Next, strategically place your chosen ornaments on the bookshelf. Make sure to vary the sizes and types of ornaments to create a balanced and dynamic display. You can use hooks or ribbon to hang ornaments from the shelves or simply place them on top of books or within greenery.

Place Your Chosen Ornaments on the Bookshelf

Don’t be afraid to experiment with placement and have fun with it! Your bookshelf is your canvas, so use your creativity to make it unique.

Step 5: Incorporate Lights

Now it’s time to add lights to your bookshelf. Start by draping string lights along the back of the bookshelf or weaving them through the shelves. You can also place battery-operated candles or twinkle lights within the greenery for a cozy and inviting feel.

Make sure to evenly distribute the lights throughout your display, and consider using a timer to turn them on and off automatically for added convenience. It’s also a good idea to test the lights beforehand to ensure they are working properly.

Step 6: Incorporate Greenery

Greenery is a great way to add texture and depth to your bookshelf decor, as well as tie in the Christmas theme. You can use garlands, wreaths, or even small potted plants to incorporate greenery into your display.

Consider layering different types of greenery for a more dynamic look, and don’t be afraid to trim them to fit your bookshelf if needed.

Step 7: Add Personal Touches

Now is the time to add personal touches such as family photos, figurines, or DIY crafts. These items will make your Christmas bookshelf display feel unique and special. You can also incorporate sentimental items that have a special meaning to you or your family.

Make Your Christmas Bookshelf Display

Consider placing these items in prominent areas of the bookshelf where they can be easily seen and appreciated. But be careful not to overcrowd your display – less is often more when it comes to personal items.

Step 8: Incorporate Optional Materials

If you have scissors and command hooks, now is the time to use them. Trim any greenery or ribbons as needed, and use command hooks to secure lights or garlands on your bookshelf.

These optional materials will make the decorating process easier and help you achieve a polished look. The best part is, they can easily be removed without causing damage to your bookshelf. You can also use other materials such as ribbon or tape for a similar effect.

Step 9: Step Back and Evaluate

Once all your decorations are in place, take a step back and evaluate your bookshelf display. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure that everything is evenly distributed and visually appealing.

You can also add or remove items if needed, depending on how cluttered or balanced your bookshelf looks.

Step 10: Finishing Touches

To complete your Christmas bookshelf decor, consider adding a few finishing touches such as a small tree topper or bows on the corners of shelves. These little details can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your display.

You can also add some festive scented candles or diffusers to make your bookshelf a sensory experience.

Step 11: Enjoy Your Festive Bookshelf

Congratulations, your Christmas bookshelf is now decorated! Take a moment to admire your work and enjoy the festive atmosphere it creates in your home. Remember to turn on the lights and take some photos to capture the memory.

Your Christmas Bookshelf is Now Decorated

You can also switch up some decorations throughout the holiday season or add new elements to keep your bookshelf display fresh and exciting. Have fun with it, and happy decorating!

Following these 11 steps on how to decorate a bookshelf for christmas will help you create a beautiful and festive bookshelf display that will add holiday cheer to your home. Don’t be afraid to personalize the steps according to your own style and preferences, as the key is to have fun and let your creativity shine through. Happy decorating!

Additional Tips

  • Don’t limit yourself to traditional Christmas decorations; get creative and incorporate items such as snow globes, miniatures, or even small wrapped presents into your display.
  • Use different textures and materials to add visual interest, such as burlap, faux fur, or metallic accents.
  • Consider adding a holiday-themed banner or garland across the top of your bookshelf for an added touch.
  • When arranging books, try to keep similar colors and sizes together to create a cohesive look. This will also make it easier to add in non-holiday books without disrupting the overall aesthetic.
  • Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of family and friends to create your bookshelf display. It can be a fun and memorable activity for all.
  • Lastly, remember to have fun and enjoy the process! Your bookshelf decoration should reflect your personal style and bring joy into your home.

Maintenance and Refreshing Decor

As the holiday season progresses, it’s important to maintain and refresh your bookshelf decor to keep it looking festive and inviting. Here are some tips for maintaining your Christmas bookshelf decor:

Dust Regularly to Keep Ornaments
  • Dust regularly to keep ornaments and greenery looking fresh.
  • Consider switching out some decorations or adding new elements as the holiday season goes on.
  • Don’t be afraid to rearrange items if you feel like a change is needed.
  • Keep an eye out for sales or clearance items to add to your display for next year.
  • Take down your decorations after the holiday season is over and store them carefully for future use.
  • Have fun and experiment with different ways to decorate your bookshelf for different holidays or seasons.
  • Remember to take photos of your bookshelf display every year to track its evolution and inspire new ideas.

By following these tips, you can keep your bookshelf looking festive and inviting throughout the holiday season and beyond!

How Much Will It Cost?

Decorating your bookshelf for Christmas can be adjusted to fit a wide range of budgets, from modest to more expansive. The overall cost will depend on several factors, including the decorations you already own, the size of your bookshelf, and how elaborate you want your theme to be.

For those starting from scratch, a basic setup with lights, a few pieces of greenery, and some standard decorations could range from $30 to $100. If you’re aiming for a more intricate display with high-quality ornaments, specialty lighting, and lush greenery, the cost could easily exceed $200.

Remember, utilizing handmade items, family heirlooms, or repurposed decorations can significantly reduce expenses while adding a personal touch to your display. Shopping post-holiday sales for next year’s decorations is also a great way to save money. Ultimately, the beauty of holiday decorating is that it’s not about how much you spend but the joy and festive spirit your decorations bring to your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I Decorate a Bookshelf if I Don’t Celebrate Christmas?

A: Of course! You can use these steps to decorate your bookshelf for any holiday or season. Just swap out the Christmas decorations for ones that fit your celebration, such as Halloween or Valentine’s Day. You can also create a non-holiday-themed display using items such as photos, plants, or decorative objects. The key is to have fun and let your personal style shine.

Q: What if I Don’t Have a Bookshelf?

A: If you don’t have a bookshelf, you can still use these steps to decorate any flat surface in your home, such as an entertainment center, mantel, or side table. Just adjust the proportions and number of decorations accordingly. The same tips and ideas can be applied to any area in your home that you want to decorate for the holidays.

Q: How Can I Make My Bookshelf Display Stand Out?

A: Adding unique or personalized touches to your bookshelf can make it stand out. This could include incorporating items that hold sentimental value, creating DIY decorations, or using unexpected colors or textures in your display. It’s all about making it your own and letting your creativity shine through.

Q: Can I Add Lights to my Bookshelf Display?

A: Absolutely! Adding fairy lights or string lights can add a magical and cozy touch to your bookshelf display. Just make sure to use LED lights that are safe for indoor use and avoid overloading the outlets. You can also incorporate battery-operated lights for added convenience. It’s a great idea to turn on the lights in the evenings to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your home.

Q: How Often Should I Refresh my Bookshelf Decor?

A: It’s up to personal preference, but generally, refreshing your decor every few weeks can keep it looking fresh and updated throughout the holiday season. You can also switch out some decorations or add new elements to keep your display interesting and unique. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with it!  Overall, the most important thing is that you enjoy your bookshelf decoration and feel festive and joyful in your home.


Creating a festive and inviting Christmas bookshelf is a delightful way to add holiday spirit to your home. By following the steps on how to decorate a bookshelf for christmas outlined above, from planning your theme to adding the final touches, you can transform a simple bookshelf into a stunning holiday display. Remember, the key to a beautiful bookshelf is not only in the decorations you choose but in the personal touches and the joy that each piece brings to you and your loved ones.

This holiday season, let your creativity flow and enjoy the process of making your space a reflection of your holiday spirit. Happy decorating, and may your bookshelf bring warmth and cheer to your home!

Angela Ervin

Angela Ervin

Angela is the executive editor of DIY quickly. She began her career as an interior designer before applying her strategic and creative passion to lifestyle and home. She has close to 15 years of experience in creative writing and online content strategy for housekeeping, home decorations as well as other niche efforts. She loves her job and has the privilege of working with an extraordinary team. She lives with her husband, two sons, and daughter in Petersburg. When she's not busy working she spent time with her family.

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