'Bookshelf wealth' is the latest TikTok design trend - but what is it all about?

'Bookshelf wealth' is the latest TikTok design trend - but what is it all about?

'Bookshelf wealth' is the latest design trend - but what does it mean?

iStockphoto by Getty Images

We've just started 2024, and there is already a new design trend circulating on TikTok, and involves owning a lot of books.

Apparently the amount of books you display in your home, is not only a design choice but the more you have on show can also reflect how wealthy you are.

The trend emerged near the end of 2023, and continued to spark discussions into this year too.

Interior designer and TikToker @houseofhive from San Diego went viral with her video breakdown of the bookshelf wealth trend, as it reached 1.3m views.

She describes the design moment as a "whole home vibe," and the books are not just for display, and can be seen as art.

"What separates this from other design styles is that these homes look cosy and lived in," the content creator explained.

‘So obviously there’s books, but the difference is that these aren’t display books. These are books that have actually been curated and read.’


Bookshelf Wealth, what it is and how to achieve it #greenscreen #bookshelfwealth #interiordesign #designtok #2024designtrends

The TikToker also gave detail as to the alternative way the books can be on show in the living space.

"It’s hung in front of bookcases, displayed on the floor, literally overlapping each other, definitely not hung in a straight line, and is fully disregarding the bounds of the wall molding,"

She continued: "Whether that means keeping your stained glass windows, embracing traditional wood molding or just keeping the character of the home."

To be bang on trend, @houseofhive recommends a window seat (perfect for booking reading) as well as using different colours in the furniture as well as the use of patterns in the wallpaper to contrast the two elements.

"Library ladders, task lighting and displaying collected items is all you need," she also noted.

While the word "wealth" is in the name, the books used in the design can be ones that you have bought second hand so breaking the bank isn't required - but it's actually reading them that is important.

This is because display of wealth is actually through showing off all the books you've had the time to read because after all, many of us don't have the luxury of free time when many people work a number of different jobs.

Meanwhile, Marissa (@TheHomeNarrative) can't quite believe this "most pathetic" trend is necessary for people to curate meaningful things for their home.


“Bookshelf Wealth” is a cry from society to have meaning in their spaces! If you have ever worked with me you know I encourage meaningful decor. Meaningful homes. This is so sad to me! How did we get here?? #fyp #beautifulhome #momsoftiktok #designtrends #designtrends2024 #trendy #trendingtiktok #trendingdesign #trendyhome #bookshelfwealth #designtok

"This is crazy to me, that we have to make a trend in order to make people do this. To actually read a book, to actually go to places and purchase things as a memory of travelling, exploring," she said.

Since it become a trend, people have expressed their mixed opinions on bookshelf wealth in the comments.

One person wrote: "Step 1: be wealthy."

"It’s so bothersome that this is associated with any kind of “wealth” when it’s really just liking your books and paintings," another person said.

Someone else added: "Truly eclectic and cozy and gathered aesthetics CAN NOT BE CURATED."

"I’ve never had my style described until this video. Thank you for the term," a fourth person commented.

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