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(Re) Style Your Glass Shelves with the Bookshelf Wealth Trend

The “bookshelf wealth” trend is defined by ELLE Decor’s Rachel Silva as “a curated selection of shelved things (not necessarily books!) that are meaningful to you—books, art, collected objects—displayed in a lived-in, acquired style.” While definitions vary slightly across sources (unsurprising given the fluid nature of the style), Silva’s captures key features – shelves, books, items that are personally meaningful, and no over-thinking it!


You may have shelf displays in your home that are a little too immersed in the rigorous minimalism of the past. Or perhaps you don’t have built-ins or other bookcases but would like to jump on board the bookshelf wealth train. Let’s start by exploring where and how glass shelving could be added to your home. Then we’ll look at how to bring existing displays more in line with this trend AND how to create this look from scratch.


Ordering Custom Glass Shelves


Glass shelves can be installed directly onto a wall – floating shelves – or they can be part of a larger piece of furniture. For instance, you can replace a bookcase’s wooden shelves with glass shelves if the originals are damaged or you would just like to change its appearance. Glass shelves look nice on pretty much any wall of a house, and they can also be installed in:

  • Kitchen cupboards

  • China hutches

  • Closets

  • Display cases


Glass shelves are often added to cabinets with clear glass door fronts that will keep the glass shelves and their contents in sight.


If you’re low on bookcases or have a modern, minimalist home style, floating glass wall shelves are an attractive option for integrating the bookshelf wealth aesthetic. These sleek and simple shelves are in keeping with contemporary décor, but they provide the surface on which to create your eclectic and personal display of books and other treasures. Whether you want wall shelves or new shelves for a piece of furniture, you can order this type of custom glass from a shop like ABC Glass & Mirror. We’ll help you with design, starting with a free in-home consultation, and then complete the project with professional installation of the shelves. Now, onto the fun part.

Creating the Bookshelf Wealth Aesthetic

Once you have your glass or other shelves ready, it’s time to give your home the bookshelf wealth aesthetic. Meghan Shouse of House Beautiful says that this style “stems from your own life experience translated into home decor.” Perhaps one way to look at it is giving yourself permission to stop worrying about what’s in style or what the design experts say as you display items on your shelves!


Start by choosing candidates for display. Items in keeping with this approach include:

  • Favorite books (the more the merrier)

  • Items you’ve collected, found, or purchased on travels

  • Handmade pieces

  • Meaningful gifts you’ve received

  • Cherished heirlooms

  • Beloved works of art

  • Frequently used items

  • Unique thrift store or flea market finds that you couldn’t pass up


Next, start arranging these items on your shelves. Rather than focusing so much on shelf display styling tips, ponder what the items mean to you, where they should be placed for convenience, and how you would like them arranged. Move, add, and take away items until you are happy with the finished look. Because this is a living, breathing aesthetic, you should continue making changes whenever you like. Finally if you want to ensure that your display has a distinct bookshelf wealth vibe, consider implementing one or more of the suggestions below.

Giving an Existing Display a Bookshelf Wealth Makeover

If your current shelf display is a little too stark and perfectly arranged for your present day tastes, here are some tips for making bookshelf wealth inspired tweaks:


  • Add books! Nothing will effect the change as quickly and effectively as this. Stay away from matching sets and load your shelf with your favorite well-worn reads.

  • Hang a piece of art or a framed mirror in front of the shelves of a wooden bookcase or cabinet.

  • Fill some of the negative space with things that have personal significance to you or other family members.

  • Allow items to overlap molding, trim, or other architectural elements.

If the lack of clear parameters and steps to achieving the bookshelf wealth aesthetic makes creating your display overwhelming, remember that you can also turn to general design principles for guidance and inspiration. These include:


•      Clusters of an odd number of items have been found to be more visually appealing than even-numbered groupings.

•      Negative (empty) space can be a powerful design element when included in a way that corresponds with the display’s aesthetic. For instance, you will probably want much less negative space in a bookshelf wealth display than a minimalist “shelfie.”

•      You can create visual interest by changing up the orientation of an item. For example, have some books upright, some leaning at an angle, and some stacked horizontally.


If custom glass shelves are part of your home upgrade or dive into the bookshelf wealth aesthetic, we invite you to call ABC Glass & Mirror at (703)257-7150 to learn more and schedule your free consult and quote!

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