My Open Bookshelves

By Kate Riley June 25, 2019

I’ve been asked about these open bookshelves in my office, how I like them, if they’re good quality, etc. The answer is I love them and yes they’re great quality, they fit the style of my office so well and serve a functional purpose, holding books, work supplies, art, and favorite objects. They’re so affordable and very easy to assemble too!


Open bookcases are just like étagères and more airy by nature of their design. I like how they allow the wall color (or wallpaper) to show through. I’ve used my share of Billys from IKEA in the past, but these days the structure of the backless or open bookshelf (or in this case, semi-backless) feels fresher and more modern to me.


Nine other styles of open bookshelves to fill your walls and spaces:

wood & white ladder  / tiered distressed gray / angled gold & veneer

ladder bookcase / margo blue / iron & wood alias

beverly champagne goldwhite modular / blue 4 shelf

When it comes to styling any bookshelf, I always include these five essentials:

1) Books – always present or what’s the point of them, right? Absent bookends, I like to stack them on their backs instead of stand them up.

2) Art – Bookshelves are a great spot to display favorite smaller scale artwork and framed artwork or prints help to fill the vertical space.

3) Plants – Real or faux, it doesn’t matter, just note how shelves come alive with something organic and green on display.

4) Decorative Objects – the fun stuff that gives the shelf a cool look, these can be sculptural objects in various tones or textures. I stuck with a grouping of black and white decor here.

5) Negative Space – don’t overcrowd the shelves. Give the eye a place to rest, but not so much space that the shelves lose their utility.


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