Monday, January 30, 2017

How to Style Shelves


One of the questions I get asked the most is how I style all the built-ins in our house (we have four!). Well, let me tell you that shelf styling is a bit of an art form, and doesn't always come easy. But I think with practice and the right elements it can be one of my very favorite parts of decorating! Here are the steps I take to style my shelves...


S T E P  O N E

Start with the base - books and a few key larger objects. In this case I chose not to have very many books (because I like a more minimalist shelf) but you really can't go wrong with books, so add as many as you'd like. You can vary their direction, stacking them horizontally and vertically, or turning them around if they don't have pretty spines. A few "anchor objects" like large boxes or bowls are also good to start with to ground the styling.

S T E P  T W O

Add height - I usually do this through frames and artwork. You could also use things like trays and platters to give some height and weight to your shelves.

S T E P  T H R E E

Add organic elements and texture - in this case I added natural wood, a bone inlay box, and natural orbs. Things like driftwood and coral would also work well.

S T E P  F O U R

Add interest with objects and vases. Look for things with a sculptural quality - vases with an interesting shape, moravian stars, geometric pieces and small sculptures all work well.

S T E P  F I V E

Add green! A few living (or faux) pops of green make all the difference in bringing your shelves to life. Small orchids, succulents and ferns, or even moss balls, are perfect to bring in a big of nature.


If shelf styling still seems like a bit of a mystery, there are some basic elements you can combine to achieve gorgeous shelves every time. No matter your style, finding these categories of items in your preferred color palette or decorating style always makes perfectly pulled together shelves. My go-tos: Boxes, objects, frames, botanicals, vases and bowls. Here are some examples I pulled from around the web (and would totally put on my own shelves!). Just choose one or two from each category and your shelves will look like a stylist has stopped by!

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