Bookends have two main criteria: They must be stable enough to hold up books and they must be attractive to look at. The possibilities for creative and cheap additions to your bookshelves are virtually endless. Go through your own junk closet or browse garage sales, flea markets or discount stores to find solid and decorative pieces to add to your home.
Glass jars are versatile. They can be painted or filled with colorful pieces. Reuse old condiment containers to hold up smaller and lighter books. After washing the jars and removing the label, fill them with colorful marbles, flower petals or other interesting items. To make the piece practical on another front, place small items such as cat toys, spools of thread and nuts and bolts in the jar for storage.
Heavy pillar candles are widely available and can be purchased new at minimal cost. Choose candles that match the color scheme and decorative feel of the room. Deep orange colors can go with an eclectic, bohemian look. Vanilla or cream-colored candles fit a cleaner, more conservative environment. If you light the candles, first remove them from the shelf for safety and replace them with alternative bookends.
Metal Kitchen Appliances
Antique kitchen items, such as metal coffee percolators and tea kettles, may be used as bookends long after their electrical plugs have worn out. Choose an one with a shape and color that matches the theme of the books on the shelf. A collection of books on industrial design can be creatively paired with a timely piece you've picked up from a garage sale, flea market or your mother's attic.
Best for light book collections, such as comics and thin children's books, stuffed animals make a nice addition to a child's room. Use an old teddy bear that a child no longer plays with -- but is not yet ready to let go of -- as a bookend to keep it close by. An open bucket with smaller stuffed animals is another option to introduce creativity and organization to a bookshelf.
Catherine Lovering has written about business, tax, careers and pets since 2006. Lovering holds a B.A. (political science), LL.B. (law) and LL.L. (civil law).