Styling a bookshelf is part of what I do everyday at work, its the finishing touches that bring the entire design together. There should be balance to everything.
Some shelf styling tips I find work best are:
1. Paint or wallpaper the back of the bookshelves, its add dimension
2. Do you have a shelf with a lot of small objects and empty space?
Lean a small picture frame or art behind it, it instantly completes the look.
3. If I have more than 1 of the same large items, I never put them in the same shelf.
If I use a large white gourd vase on the top right shelf, I put the second on the bottom left.
4. Take a step back after placing a few objects, take a look of your progress, if something isn't work it change it. The beauty about styling a shelf is you can keep rearranging, unlike a room full of furniture!
5. Use objects that are personal to you and show off who you are and what you love, I love to see something completely unexpected, as long as it works with your balance.
Beautiful objects carefully placed in shelves with pops of green for color.
This gold, white, and blue setting has a great natural flow.
This is what I consider great shelf styling, this gives your eye a nice flow.
Painting shelves black on the inside is an instant way to add contrast.