How to Light Bookshelves

Are you looking for a great way to light up your bookshelves and make them look vibrant? From casually placing them over covers to using them as stylish accents on paintings, photos, and ornaments, shelves can be used in so many ways! 

How to Light Bookshelves

If you’re tired of having your bookshelves look dull and lifeless, then it might be time to consider adding light to them. Not only will this create a unique ambiance in the room, but it can also draw attention to certain pieces or colors that were once hidden amidst other items on the shelves. Plus, lighting up your bookshelf is an eye-catching accessory for guests to admire and can also be used effectively as an illuminating decoration piece for many rooms in your home.

Read on to learn all about how to light bookshelves and transform any space into an inviting one.

Why Should You Light Your Bookshelves?

Adding light to your bookshelf is easy to spruce up any space. The right kind of lighting gives off a warm and inviting atmosphere, making it the perfect place for reading or hosting gatherings. Plus, it can also make small spaces look brighter and lighter by opening up the area and creating a more inviting environment.

Additionally, lighting up your bookcase can be a great way to highlight any pieces you want to display on the shelf. To make sure that your pieces stick out and get noticed, it’s important to choose the right kind of light for the job.

What Will You Need?

You’ll need to gather a few items to light up your bookshelves. The most important one of these is the lighting fixture itself. Depending on how large your shelves are and how much light coverage you want, there are many different types of fixtures that can be used. Some popular options are given below:

Light Up Your Bookshelves

1. Track Lights: Track lights are great for larger shelves as they can provide a wide spread of light that is evenly distributed across the whole shelf.

2. Recessed Lighting: This type of lighting fixture is perfect for smaller bookshelves, as it requires very little ceiling space and can be easily installed without having to drill holes or use any extra wiring.

3. LED Strip Lighting: LED strip lighting is a great way to add a modern touch to your bookshelf and can be used to highlight certain pieces or shelves with brighter light coverage.

4. Wall-mounted Lights: They are a great option for bookshelves as they give off an even amount of light and won’t take up any extra space in the room.

Once you’ve found the perfect fixture, you’ll need other items such as light bulbs, wiring, mounting hardware, and dimmer switches (if needed).

10 Easy Steps on How to Light Bookshelves

Step 1. Measure the Light Coverage

Before you begin the installation process, make sure to measure how much light coverage your fixture will need. This will ensure that you’re not wasting any extra energy or money on unnecessary lighting sources. Be careful to note how far the light is supposed to spread and how much wattage the fixture requires.

Step 2. Install Your Fixtures

Once you’ve found the perfect lighting fixture, it’s time to install it. This process can differ depending on the type of fixture and how much wiring is required. Generally speaking, track lights and recessed lighting require more wiring than other types of fixtures.

Step 3. Connect the Wiring

If your light requires extra wiring or cables, connect them properly before turning them on. This will help ensure that they work correctly in the long run and prevent any electrical accidents from occurring. If you’re unsure how to do this, consult a professional electrician.

Step 4. Install Your Light Bulbs

Now comes the fun part—installing your light bulbs! Make sure to choose bulbs that are compatible with your fixture and match the recommended wattage. Once you’ve installed them, turn on the power and test your lighting system to ensure it works correctly.

Turn on the Power and Test Your Lighting System

Step 5. Adjust Your Lighting

Once your fixtures are properly installed and powered up, adjust the settings of your lights until you reach the desired brightness levels. This process can be done with dimmer switches or remotes depending on your chosen fixture. Ensure that the light coverage is even across your bookshelves and that there are no dark spots.

Step 6. Position Your Lights

Next, it’s important to position your fixtures in such a way that they provide even light coverage across all areas of the shelf. For recessed lighting or wall-mounted lights, this means spreading them evenly around the bookcase so that each area gets equal light. For track lights, make sure to position them so that they shine in the direction of your shelves and not away from them.

Step 7. Check for Reflections

Once your fixtures are in place, take a few minutes to check how the light is reflecting off any surfaces it might hit. This includes mirrors, windows, and any other reflective objects that could be affected by the light from your fixtures. If reflections create glare or unwanted shadows, adjust the positioning of the fixture until these distractions are gone.

Step 8. Install Any Accessories

If you’re using a specific type of lighting, such as LED strip lighting or wall-mounted lights, then there may be some extra accessories that need to be installed. This includes things like dimmer switches, remotes, and any additional wires or cables that might be required for the specific fixture you’re using. You can find specific instructions for how to install these accessories in the product manual.

Step 9. Test your Lighting System

Before you call it a day, make sure to test out your lighting system one last time. Plug everything in and adjust the settings until everything works how you want it to. Make sure there are no shadows being cast across the shelves or any other oddities with how the light hits objects around it.

Step 10: Enjoy Your Beautiful Bookshelf!

Once everything has been adjusted and tested, it’s time to sit back and enjoy your beautiful bookcase! With the right lighting setup, you’ll be able to make the most of your bookshelf and its contents for years to come. Remember that how you light your bookcase can make a huge difference in how it looks and how you use it, so take the time to get it just right. Happy reading!

Enjoy Your Beautiful Bookcase

By following these steps for light bookshelves, you’ll be able to create a beautiful and functional lighting setup that complements your bookcase and its contents perfectly. With the right fixtures, bulbs, and positioning, you’ll be able to create a look that is sure to make any bookworm proud.

5 Additional Tips and Trick

1. If you’re using wall lights, make sure they’re not too close to your books. Wall lights should be placed at least 8 inches away from the shelves in order to avoid damaging the books with their heat output.

2. Avoid fluorescent lighting, as it can have a harsh, clinical look that detracts from your book collection. Instead, opt for warm LED bulbs or soft white incandescent bulbs which will provide more natural and inviting light sources.

3. Recessed lighting is an excellent option for light bookshelves because it provides even illumination throughout the entire shelf space without creating dark spots or bright spots like other lighting options do.

4. Use dimmable switches or adjustable lamps so you can control how much light is being emitted. This will allow you to create atmosphere and mood with your lighting, as well as adjust how much light is needed for reading purposes.

5. For light bookshelves in a room without windows, consider adding an accent light over the shelves, like a track or pendant light. This will bring attention to the bookshelf and make it stand out from the rest of the room’s decor.

Regardless of how you choose to light your bookshelves, remember that good lighting should always be tailored specifically to the area in order to create a beautiful atmosphere that adds life and personality to any home or office. Light bookshelves can be simple and stress-free with the right fixtures and positioning.

 Track or Pendant Light


Lighting your bookshelves doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a few simple tips, you can create a stunning display that is both functional and visually appealing. By following these guidelines, you can achieve the perfect balance of light and shadow, creating a warm and inviting space that will impress your guests.

Now that you know how to light bookshelves and the different effects various lighting can create, it’s time to apply these tips in your own home. With a little bit of planning and experimentation, you can create a warm and inviting space that makes reading even more enjoyable. And isn’t that what we all want?

Hopefully, the article has provided you with some useful insights and tips. Whether you choose to use recessed lighting, wall lights, or accent lighting, the right lighting can make a huge difference in how your bookcase looks and how it’s used. Now that you know how to light your bookshelves properly, get out there and create the perfect reading nook! Happy lighting!

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