Jane Fonda's quintessential library masters 'bookshelf wealth' – the most personal trend to date

Displaying precious books and belongings in organized shelving units has taken the internet by storm

Jane Fonda
(Image credit: Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for The Environmental Media Association)

It's the trend that's united bookworms and interior design lovers alike; 'bookshelf wealth' has taken the internet by storm, and we can't get enough of seeing how celebs style their own shelves. 

Actor, activist, and overall icon Jane Fonda unsurprisingly has an excellent display shelf in her home, comprised of a built-in, wall-to-wall wood unit packed with both old and new reads that celebrate bookshelf wealth in all its glory. 

While bookshelves themselves are hardly an innovation, the focus on cultivating an aesthetically pleasing display is having many rethink the way they organize their books and belongings.

'In my view, bookshelf wealth is not something new, but rather a contemporary manifestation of a practice deeply rooted in history,' says  Philip Blackwell,  a book curator and bibliophile at Ultimate Library. 'Throughout centuries, individuals have curated and displayed meaningful collections reminiscent of the historical 'cabinets of curiosity.' It's great to see this timeless concept gaining recognition on a broader scale.'

Philip Blackwell
Philip Blackwell

For Philip, Ultimate Library combines a 30-year career in publishing and bookselling with a passion for travel and design, swapping tips with passionate bibliophiles on the best books for a greater sense of place. From an informal start, he has now built a dedicated team of fellow bookworms that curate book collections for clients in over 50 countries.

This trend may appear to be an invitation to decorate with new books, but there's no need to place a large online order of new stacks. In fact, Philip recommends looking at current possessions for inspiration and taking stock of what is most sentimental, from weathered paperbacks to childhood trinkets.

'Be authentic! If you want to embrace the design trend, dig out the treasured books and objects you’ve amassed over the years, which each carry memories that resonate with you,' he says. 'Proudly curate these items on a shelf to authentically express your personality and interests.'

Bookshelf painted red with wraparound design

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

This trend is also highly customizable; organizing books by color is an ever-popular strategy, but sorting by theme is an intricate alternative, bound to draw visitors to spend time with the shelf. Shelves themselves come in a range of sizes and finishes; go with wood for a classic look, or white for a modern, minimalist vibe.

Below, find three different shapes and sizes of shelves to kick off the Bookshelf Wealth journey, the Jane Fonda way. 

Hannah Ziegler
News Editor

Hannah is Homes & Gardens’ News Editor, with a focus on celebrity style and entertainment content. She got her start in media as a digital editorial assistant at ELLE Canada, and has since written about lifestyle and culture for publications such as Nylon and i-D.


Her love of film is rivalled only by one with a great soundtrack, and she hopes to someday decorate a Nancy Meyers-worthy kitchen.