12 Bookshelves That Make Your Living Room Look More Expensive

If you're looking for bookshelves that make your living room look more expensive, this is the edit for you. Editor-picked and 12 great options!

a collage of bookshelves
(Image credit: West Elm, CB2, Arhaus, Urban Outfitters)

Listen, I know why you're here — the headline is a dead giveaway. You have a passion for design and home interiors but, like most of us, are shopping on a budget. You're willing to ball out on an investment piece but it has to be the right one; something that will elevate the entire room it's in so that no one notices the pillows you bought on sale and the blanket from three Christmases ago.

In my humble style editor opinion, a bookshelf is a fabulous opportunity for some design smoke and mirrors. If you're willing to shell out a few more Benjamins, a high-quality piece (which you can select from my edit of the best bookshelves to buy right now) will easily elevate your living room in seconds just by existing. You just have to pick the right one.

I've called out a few of my favorites below, but you be the judge. Just get those shelves set up and watch the vibe shift right before your eyes.

12 bookshelves that make your living room look more expensive

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How can a bookshelf elevate a living room?

A bookshelf can easily elevate a living room because "beyond books, you can show off vases, candlesticks, and other amazing finds, especially one-of-a-kind vintage items," Alex Bass, founder and CEO of Art Advisory and Interior Design Studio Salon 21, told me. "It is all about how you curate it!" 

How would you style a bookshelf to make your living room more expensive than it is?

To make your living room look more expensive, "I think a mid-century etagere with metal accents and glass shelving is a really easy way to elevate your space and make a bookshelf feel more luxe," Alex said. And if you're open to it, try investing in a "great vintage piece" so that the shelf itself looks higher quality and will last.

In Alex's home, she uses a "combination of novels and coffee table art books on my bookshelf, mixed with antique marble bookends and picture frames that hang on the front."

Style Editor

Brigid Kennedy is a Style Editor at Livingetc.com, where she is responsible for obsessively combing the internet for the best and most stylish deals on home decor and more. She was previously a story editor at TheWeek.com, where she covered both U.S. politics and culture. She describes her design style as colorful and clean, and in her free time enjoys reading, watching movies, and curating impossibly niche playlists on Spotify. She lives in New York.