Cienne NY Clothing Showroom Inside Owner's Apartment White Study

We’ve seen our fair share of homes that come with an impressive array of beautifully-styled bookshelves. From the color-coded to the monochrome, and everything else in between, it’s safe to say that there is a certain art to it, as well as a unique element of personalization. And while we’re all for a well-styled bookcase, we’re equally in favor of an organizational method that skews outside of the original.

Case in point? A non-traditional approach to how you can showcase your favorite titles, sans the help of a structured bookshelf. Ahead, discover the inspired ways that you can display your books, which will result in a statement-worthy finish that will elevate just about any room of your home.

9 Artful Ways to Display Your Books Without Shelves
Photography by AARON BENGOCHEA courtesy of westside estate agency

Create an Artful Display

Alison Roman‘s clever alternative to loading up her shelves with books? Designating a handful of them to the entry console table, and stacking them against the wall to double as art. Major points for creativity with this one.


White Living room
Photography by AMBER MAY

Load Up the Coffee Table

You probably already have a curated selection of books that you keep on rotation on the coffee table but why not take a maximalist approach to the look? We’re all for taking a page out of Alex Eagle’s book, and opting for total coverage on the coffee table. Less functional? Probably. But we can’t deny the eye-catching statement it will result in.

Photography by BEN JACK OF FUZZCO

Fake a Headboard

A headboard definitely doesn’t count as a shelf right? Let’s go with no. In this light-filled Charleston home, a curated deck of covet-worthy titles impart the whitewashed bedroom with a vibrant dose of color as well as a dynamically structured height detail.

Brown and Orange and White and Wood Living room
Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK Courtesy of Louis Roederer

Fuel the Fire(place)

For all the city dwellers out there who are stuck with a defunct fireplace, put the little alcove to good use by allowing it to double as a storage solution for all the titles that didn’t make it onto your shelf. And should it be necessary, pair the look with a statement seat to house the rest of the bunch.

Alyssa Coscarelli’s Williamsburg Apartment White Corner Of Room With Books
Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK Photography by Carlos Naude

Stack It Up

No shelves? No problem. Create a standalone stack of titles (the higher you go, the more visually-rich the effect will be) that range relative in size—just like Alyssa Coscarelli did in her Williamsburg apartment.

Blue and Red and White and Yellow Living room
Photography by JEREMY LIEBMAN

Embrace a Towering Display

While you’re at the whole standalone stack route, why not take it a step further? Graphic designer Jessica Walsh did just that in her primary color-fueled Chelsea apartment, opting for a towering display, which brought a major dose of color and impact to her lively living room. And should you need a little structure to it—like Walsh did—bring in a little outside help (we won’t tell).


Daphne Javitch & Pali Xisto Cornelsen's Lower East Side Home White Bedroom
Photography by FRANCES TULK-HART

Put It On the Side

Prop up a side stool in an empty corner and top it with a short pile of titles. Bonus points if you pair it with a cozy landing pad or comfy seat—hello, reading nook! And yes, it counts if the side stool also doubles as your nightstand.

9 Artful Ways to Display Your Books Without Shelves
Courtesy of Urban Outfitters

Stack and Conceal

We’re all for optical illusions, especially one that results in a beautifully functional display. The trick? Umbra’s ultra sleek and clever conceal floating shelf system, which allows you to mount set stacks of books. Get creative with the arrangement and should you feel up for a challenge, go for a

gallery wall

esque display.

Eva Chen White Office Entryway

Bench It

Skip the standard entry console, instead opting for a chic yet functional bench in its place. Earmark half the bench for a pared down stack of books or magazines, reserving the other half for a more functional purpose.


Discover more style-focused ways to decorate with books:

14 Reasons Why We Love Built-In BookshelvesEvery Inch of this Home Is Unexpected8 Book Nooks You’ll Want To Curl Up In Right Now