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Bookshelf Wealth is 2024’s Most Lucrative Home Decor Trend Thus Far

Bookshelf Wealth is Gen Z’s version of combining old styles with personal tastes

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By House & Garden South Africa | February 1, 2024 | Trends

Among all the social media fads around home decor and design, few like #BookTok prove they are here for the long run. While #BookTok has proved it is more than a fad, it is likely you’ve come across “bookshelf wealth” in January 2024 during your social media scrolls. With over 1.7 million views on TikTok, this trend comes with a major emphasis on lived-in curation instead of overwhelming clutter.

@houseofhive Bookshelf Wealth, what it is and how to achieve it #greenscreen #bookshelfwealth #interiordesign #designtok #2024designtrends ♬ original sound - House of Hive Design Co

When talking about bookshelf wealth, picture this: Framed art hung in an unconventional fashion or sat on the floor; a mix of traditional patterns, and a return of historical features like wood mouldings and stained glass windows. The idea of a space that (either looks or actually is) cosy and lived in is at the crux of this interior design trend.

But, this isn’t merely about impressive art and design books on display, but books that have actually been read with great intention and are organized in a way that marries them with other objects on a shelf to tell the story of their owner.

The Art of Collecting

Bookshelf wealth calls for combining a semi-curated collection of objects that are meaningful to you with the books you actually enjoy reading. Photography by Nick Smith.

Under the guise of bookshelf wealth, one could also view your book collection not only as an indicator of personal taste, but an indication of personal finances. You have taken the time to read these books and spent your money on wonderful art and collectables.

As Gen-Z’s appetite for signals of their own definition of “old money” — like hardwood interiors, Ivy League-style aesthetics, education, and vintage cars — their naming conventions of pre-existing notions have turned collecting knick-knacks and tchotchke that reflect your hobbies into bookshelf wealth. But this is all tied back to what we predict is the underlying trend for 2024: Authenticity. We will see more homeowners turning away from stark, minimalist interiors and move towards incorporating more colour and prints that reflect their own nuances and personal tastes.

A more modern take on bookshelf wealth where a multi-level shelf by Hem is home to a plethora of modern heirlooms. Photography by Erik Lefvander.

Whether you view this trend as a weird new naming convention of an already-existing interior design style or a breath of fresh air on something antiquated, there is no harm in living authentically in your home that calls for cosiness and authenticity.

Curation over Clutter

When it comes to bookshelf wealth, the books will speak for themselves. But if things get too cluttered and the message becomes lost, remove the book or objects creating the chaos. Bookshelf wealth is all about combining a semi-curated collection of objects that are meaningful to you like show-stopping books, art, and collectable objects with the books you actually enjoy reading.

Unusually-displayed art works are a corner stone of the bookshelf wealth aesthetic as seen in the bedroom of this Cape Town home. Photography by Greg Cox

According to TikTok creators like Home Hive, bookshelf wealth has a major emphasis on cosy seating areas in close proximity to the book collection itself. Aesthetically speaking, you frame through colour and print with patterned wallpaper, rugs, and carpeted runners. Then, you incorporate book-adjacent decor like library ladders, task lighting, and ready nooks.