Beef's Maria Bello masters the 'bookshelf wealth' trend – the latest styling technique that has everyone talking

Decorating with books is a wonderful way to bring color, character, and plenty of joie de vivre to an interior

Maria Bello
(Image credit: Getty Images / Emma McIntyre / Staff)

Bookshelf wealth might be the latest interior design trend on everyone's lips, but beautiful book storage displays have been commonplace in homes up and down the country for centuries. This trend is nothing new, it just has a new name. 

Beautiful book storage ideas are a conundrum that should be solved efficiently and practically, yet they are also one that often alludes to even the most stylish of us. Books can bring culture and intelligence to any room; as Cicero said, 'A room without books is like a body without a soul.'

American actress and writer Maria Bello's home library, shared on her Instagram feed, further highlights the popularity of decorating with books

Few of us are happy with the idea of getting rid of our favorite books, so unless the house is very large, finding room for the ever-expanding library can be a challenge. After exhausting space on the shelves – including double stacking if necessary – have a look around to see if there’s any ‘dead’ space that could be put to better use. 

If you are limited in space, consider crafting a small home library with a bespoke solution. Creating your very own home library in a living room or home office with a built-in wall-to-wall design works in both classic and contemporary homes alike. By combining open shelving and closed cupboards, you can have a display of books and objets d’art while also hiding away heavier items down below. Alcoves are an obvious place to add floor-to-ceiling storage, even if your room is small as bespoke solutions can utilize the full height of the space. 

‘Although this may not sound like it will make much of a difference the reality is that a bespoke design will offer, on average, 40% more space,’ says Rachal Hutcheson, national retail manager at Sharps. 

Bespoke storage ideas and solutions, similar to Maria Bello's, will result in a home that's ordered and calm but also one that's beautiful. Finish off with a block color and let the books provide the detail.

After all, without exquisite joinery, even the grandest room will be nothing more than a box. That’s what Bruce Hodgson, founder of architectural joinery specialist Artichoke, believes. ‘Beautifully crafted and conceived joinery can add drama to a library employing light and shade to lend depth, as well as framing openings and significant features,’ he says. ‘It can also play a vital role in manipulating proportions.’

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Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.