What is 'bookshelf wealth'? The home decor 'anti-trend' taking over social media

Why we're not even calling it a 'trend'...

Yellow living room with check floor
(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

There’s a brand new trend popping up on TikTok known as 'bookshelf wealth' – but according to design professionals, it’s not a trend at all.

Sometimes, it feels as though a new home decor trend or aesthetic pops up on our screens every other day. So it’s refreshing to hear about a popular new design scheme that doesn’t feel just like a fad, but a long-term and more conscious way of decorating the home.

But what is bookshelf wealth, and why is it proving to be the antithesis to the perfectly curated, Insta-worthy homes we usually see all over our social media?

What is the ‘Bookshelf wealth’ trend?

Over the last few weeks, the ‘bookshelf wealth’ trend has taken over social media as one of the most popular trends for interior design – not unlike the recent ‘frazzled English woman’ trend and the ‘kitschen’ trend did in the weeks prior.

Yellow living room with check floor

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Essentially, the ‘bookshelf wealth’ trend focuses on curating a careful selection of pieces, such as books, art and photographs on a (you guessed it) bookshelf, or bookcase, in your home – to create a messy, relaxed and authentic feel that’s nothing like the perfectly minimalist homes we usually see on the likes of TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest.

Teal shelving with seating area

(Image credit: Future PLC)

The idea is that instead of filling your home with meaningless pieces you’ve bought just to be on trend, you're creating a cosy, lived-in space full of items that you love, and that sum up your personality. 

Many interior design experts have suggested that ‘bookshelf wealth’ isn’t really a trend at all, simply because it actually encourages the opposite of trend-led behaviour. Bookshelf wealth is all about playing the long game when it comes to filling your home up with beautiful pieces that you really treasure, that mean something to you, and that you've collected over the years.

It means styling your bookshelves with books you’ve read over and over again, cookbooks you’ve thumbed through countless times, and artwork you picked up in a location you love, for example.


♬ Ethereal by txmy slowed - Octive down

Interior designer Francesca Harris, of Francesca Harris Design, explains, 'I would definitely say that ‘bookshelf wealth’ is more of an anti-trend rather than a trend – it’s the idea that your home should be lived in and be a true representation of your life,' she says. 

'For example, as much as we all might like to have certain books out because they look nice, they don’t show who we are or what we enjoy to read.'

As such, she explains that giving your home that ‘bookshelf wealth’ vibe is not something you can easily do in a matter of days with a few online orders. Francesca explains that instead, it’s time to lean into your interests and passions, and think about how to reflect this in your home via your bookshelves.

Blue library with palm tree chair

(Image credit: Future PLC / Brent Darby)

'In order to achieve this ‘anti-trend’, I would say that the most important thing is to be authentic and not try to aim for the trend in the first place,' she says.

'Instead, simply surround yourself with items that really represent your true self. For example, when it comes to colours and patterns, it's again about being authentic and going with what you love, rather than overthinking whether items “go” with each other.'

Francesca also explained that the bookshelf wealth idea is something that can apply to all homes and decor schemes. 'What’s great about this idea is that it really does cover off all bases, so whether you love clashing prints and bold colours or would rather a toned down calmer feel, you can achieve both and everything in between.'


 Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine