Bookends are one of those small decor items that can make a big visual impact. Sure, their main purpose is functional – to keep books upright on a shelf. But bookends can also be so much more.
The right bookends can become decorative focal points that elevate the look of your book collection. And if you want eye-catching bookends, it’s hard to beat intricately designed metal bookends.
Metal bookends have substantial visual appeal. Cast from iron, zinc, brass or other metals, they can feature molded shapes, engraved patterns and vivid color finishes. Compared to plain bookends, they bring artistry and style to shelving.
In this article, we’ll cover the top five decorative metal bookends that caught our eye. We’ll also provide tips on how to select the best metal bookends to enhance your home decor. Let’s dive in!
Why Choose Decorative Metal Bookends?
Before we get to the top metal bookend picks, let’s look at why decorative metal bookends are so popular:
- More aesthetically pleasing – Plain bookends are boring. Ornate metal bookends are like mini sculptural works.
- Variety of shapes and designs – From modern abstract to traditional icons, metal casting allows for endless decorative detailing.
- Weighted to hold books – Made of substantial materials like iron or zinc alloy, metal bookends have enough heft to upright books.
- Range of metal finishes – Metals can have glossy or matte finishes, from pewter and antique bronze to vibrant copper.
- Match decor pieces – Intricate metal bookends can coordinate with lamps, frames, vases and other accessories.
- Conversation starters – Unique bookends are artistic pieces that grab attention and spark discussion.
Now that you know why metal bookends deserve a spot on your shelf, let’s look at five of the most decorative options available.
The Top 5 Decorative Metal Bookends
1. Cold Cast Bronze Lion Head Bookends
These intricately designed bookends are crafted of cold cast bronze – a combination of bronze powder and resin that allows for fine detailing. Each bookend depicts the regal head of a lion mid-roar.
The lion heads measure 5.5 inches long by 4 inches high and 3.5 inches deep. With a bronze finish, the sculptures have a vintage aged patina. The cold cast bronze makes them lightweight at just 2 pounds each, but still sturdy enough to hold books.
The base has protective felt padding. Since the bookends are handmade, no two are exactly the same. Minor variations add uniqueness.
Pros: Visually striking sculpture, cold cast bronze detail, protective padding
Cons: Only hold very lightweight books
These lion head bookends make a bold artistic statement on a living room, bedroom or office shelf. The vintage bronze finish allows them to fit into various decors from traditional to industrial. Expect to pay $50 to $90 for this decorative set.
2. Ornate Cast Iron Fleur De Lis Bookends
For those seeking traditional decorative bookends, these cast iron fleur de lis styles are just the ticket. Made of solid iron, each bookend measures 7 inches high by 5 inches wide and 4 inches deep. The substantial weight of 4 pounds per bookend enables them to keep even thick hardcovers upright with ease.
The bookends feature a gothic fleur de lis motif in the center. Intricate scrollwork and floral detailing surround the main emblem in bas relief. There is a soft felt bottom to prevent shelf scratching.
You can select from three classic finish options. The bronze finish has an antiqued weathered appearance. The silver finish is sophisticated with a pearlescent sheen. And the copper finish has an eye-catching vivid hue.
Pros: Well-crafted cast iron, traditional fleur de lis design, variety of finishes
Cons: Quite heavy at 4 pounds each
Place these statement bookends on a shelf surrounded by classic literature or old leather-bound books. The antiqued traditional style is perfect for living rooms, studies and libraries aiming for an old-world aesthetic. Expect to invest $75 to $125 for these quality cast iron bookends.
3. Mid-Century Modern Geometric Bookends
Add a touch of retro flair to your bookshelf with these mid-century modern geometric bookends. Expertly cast from zinc alloy, each bookend has a glossy gold finish.
The bookends measure 6 inches high by 5 inches wide and 4 inches deep. Each has a unique asymmetrical angular shape like an abstract sculptural work.
The bottom surface has padding to prevent sliding or scratching. They have enough weight at 2.2 pounds each to hold average sized books upright.
Pros: Unique modern geometric shape, glossy gold finish, protective bottom pads
Cons: Design may be too modern for some decors
Display these bookends alongside art books, architecture books or modern novels. The bold gold geometric form makes them ideal for jazzing up contemporary living spaces, offices and dens. Expect to pay $60 to $100 for this modernist bookend set.
4. Decorative Iron Tree Branch Bookends
These handcrafted iron branch bookends bring an organic natural feel to shelf displays. Skilled artisans carefully bend and shape iron rods into branch-like formations. No two bookend pairs are exactly alike, making each beautifully unique.
The branches are finished in a rustic antique gray tone. Silicone pads on the bottom protect your shelf from scratches while providing a non-slip grip. Each bookend measures about 7 inches high by 5 inches wide and 5 inches deep.
Weighing 2 pounds apiece, these iron branch bookends have enough stability to maintain the upright position of average sized hardcovers and paperbacks.
Pros: Handmade iron branch design, antique finish, silicone pads
Cons: Not as heavy duty as cast iron bookends
Showcase these bookends alongside nature guides, botany books, cabin decor or rustic reads. The whimsical organic shapes work well in living rooms, bedrooms and offices seeking a touch of nature. Pricing is $55 to $90 per set for these hand-crafted beauties.
5. Matte Black Buddha Bookends
Add a touch of zen to your bookshelf with these matte black Buddha bookends. Cast from cold-pour iron, they have excellent detailing on the serene Buddha faces.
Each bookend measures about 5 inches wide by 8 inches high and 5 inches deep. The sturdy iron cast construction gives them ample weight at 4 pounds each to hold books upright with stability.
The bases are covered in protective silicone pads. Purposefully designed off-center, the bookends can either sit straight or at a slight angle.
Pros: Intricate Buddha design, matte black finish, silicone base pads
Cons: Design may not appeal to all readers
These peaceful Buddha bookends encourage harmony and balance. Place them alongside spiritual reads, meditation books, yoga manuals or world religion titles. The minimalist black Buddha works in modern as well as traditional Asian-inspired rooms. Pricing ranges from $75 to $120.
How to Choose Decorative Metal Bookends for Your Home
Now that you’ve seen examples of remarkable metal bookends available, how do you decide which style is best for your home? Here are key factors to consider:
Match Your Interior Design Aesthetic
Select metal bookends that align with your interior decor vision. Like artwork, decorative bookends set a visual tone on your shelf.
If your home leans modern, choose abstract shapes, asymmetric angles and metallics like gold, steel or chrome. Go for bold geometrics or sleek contours.
For traditional home decors, look for ornate patterns, antique finishes, figural icons and soft metallics like bronze and pewter. Materials like cast iron suit this old-world style.
Eclectic rooms can incorporate bookends of varying designs for an intentionally mismatched look. Mix modern with traditional or tribal with Asian.
If your home reflects minimalism, opt for unadorned bookends in black, white or natural metals. Simple forms allow books to take the spotlight.
There are also bookends to match specific themes. For nautical, choose boat wheel, anchor or shell shapes. For Southwestern style, look for indigenous patterns.
Consider Bookshelf Size and Book Weight
Before deciding on bookends, assess the size of your shelf space and the weight of books you’ll display.
Measure shelf width and depth to determine the optimal bookend footprint. Make sure the base is deep enough to sit securely on the shelf without tipping over under the weight of books.
Factor in book size and quantity. Slim poetry paperbacks won’t require substantial bookends. But holding rows of chubby hardcovers or encyclopedias needs industrial strength.
Also allow room for expansion if you intend to add more books down the road. Don’t select bookends now that can just barely handle your collection. Leave capacity for future growth.
Evaluate Quality and Durability
For lasting performance, inspect metal bookend quality before purchasing.
High quality bookends are made of durable metals like iron, zinc alloy or brass rather than cheap plastic or hollow tin. Examine casting and finishing for smooth uniform surfaces without rough spots or burs.
Weight correlates with stability. Solid sturdy materials prevent tipping better than lightweight metals prone to bending.
Look for protective bottom pads made of felt, silicone or other soft materials that shield shelves. This prevents slipping and scratches.
High standards of craftsmanship coupled with durable materials will deliver bookends that hold up for years of service.
Assess Visual Impact
Beyond practical factors, you also want bookends that add eye-catching flair. Decorative metal bookends act like artworks displayed on shelves rather than purely utilitarian tools.
Look for bookends with aesthetic appeal like intricate patterns, vivid colors, molded shapes or visual textures. Opt for a style that you simply enjoy looking at.
Fun bookend shapes also bring whimsy to shelves. Animal shapes, spheres or figurines add a playful vibe, especially in kids’ rooms.
Matching other decor pieces creates a unified look. Bookends in a similar color, design motif or style as your lamps, framed prints and other accents pull the room together.
Set a Decorative Bookend Budget
Lastly, consider what you want to invest when shopping:
- Inexpensive: $25 to $50. Entry level metal bookend sets often made of tin, resin or basic iron. Limited detailing.
- Mid-Range: $50 to $150. Well-crafted designs in iron, zinc or bronze alloys. More ornamentation and artistry.
- High End: $150+. Often hand-crafted from fine forged metals. Intricate detailing and premium finishes. Makes a luxury statement.
With metal bookends ranging from basic to ornate, you can find options at any budget level to add flair to your shelves.
Now that you know how to select decorative metal bookends tailored to your space, let’s look at some common bookend questions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Metal Bookends
How heavy should metal bookends be?
The right bookend weight depends on the size and weight of books you want to display. Small paperbacks need bookends weighing 1 to 2 pounds each. Hardbacks and larger books require heftier bookends of 3 to 5 pounds each to stay upright. Heavy book collections may need up to 8 pound commercial grade bookends.
Should metal bookends match my home decor?
Matching bookends to your home style creates a cohesive look on shelves. If your room is modern, sleek metallic bookends coordinate nicely. For traditional spaces, ornate detailed bookends blend better. You can also intentionally contrast bookend style to make a statement.
What metals make the best quality bookends?
Cast iron, zinc alloy, bronze, brass and stainless steel are excellent quality bookend materials. They have durability and heft without bending or breaking. Avoid cheap hollow tin which feels lightweight. Solid metals keep books upright for the long haul.
How can I repair metal bookends that get scratched?
For small scratches on paint, enamel or varnish, use a thin layer of matching nail polish. Light buffing with car chrome polish hides flaws on uncoated metals. Seek professional help fixing broken solder joints or recasting metal.
Can I use just one large decorative bookend instead of a pair?
A single bookend can work but increases the risk of leaning and tipping books. Two bookends distribute weight better and keep books securely upright. But for lightweight books, a large singular bookend can provide enough support.
Are metal or acrylic bookends better?
Metal bookends have classic timeless appeal and artistry but can be heavy. Acrylic plastic bookends have modern style but may feel cheap. Choose metal for durability or acrylic for lightweight. Combine both for visual interest.
Should I get bookends with protective pads?
Pads on the bottom prevent bookend sliding and protect shelves from scratches. Materials like felt, cork and silicone grip well. Make sure pads sit flush so bookends don’t wobble. Adhesive pads can renew old bookends.
We hope these tips and answers provide helpful guidance around selecting stunning decorative metal bookends that make a statement on your shelves.
Bookends don’t have to be boring. Ornate metal bookends add art, flair and discussion worthy style to book displays.
We covered the top five decorative metal bookends that caught our eye with their unique detailed designs. From the regal cold cast bronze lion heads to the serene black Buddha bookends, metal indie artisans create bookends that display books beautifully.
Beyond the prime bookend picks, we provided tips on choosing the ideal metal bookends for your home decor vision. Assess your shelf space, book weight, style aesthetic and budget to select the perfect bookends to showcase your collection.
And for common questions about metal bookend materials, durability, repairs and styling, we offered answers to guide your decision making.
So next time you’re shopping for bookends, don’t settle for plain and basic. Bring visually striking style to your shelves with detailed decorative metal bookends that enhance the books they display. Your collection will thank you.