How to Style Shelves

Shelf-styling. It's without a doubt what we're asked about most. It's an art that takes even the most experienced designer time to perfect - but a few rules to live by will inch you closer to shelfie success!

1. It's All Got to Go

Now before you head to the dumpster, we're not suggesting you trash it all...but it's important to start with a blank canvas. Completely undress your shelves and pile your decor, books and frames on your kitchen table for a quick inspection.

2. Take a Closer Look

Spend time working through your styling pieces. We suggest finding a color palette and coloring inside the lines. Neutrals with pops of metallic are always pleasing to the eye. 

Do you truly love the pieces you've collected? Or are some simply the result of zombie-like purchases while walking the aisles of Target?

What about size? The #1 mistake we see with shelves is having too many small decorative objects.

3. Go Big

Always start by placing your largest items first. Baskets are a great option because they 1. Bring in texture 2. Hide the "ugly". If you're styling shelves in an office, a basket is a great way to stash your computer cord. In a family room, they're the perfect home to legos or TV remotes.

Shop Baskets

4. Layer it On

Take full advantage of the depth of your shelves. We love to place artwork on shelves leaning up against the back wall, and layer a vase over it. 

Pro tip: skip traditional table top frames. We're not huge fans of the clunky old-school leg. Pop the frame up with the wall or a hidden object and keep it facing straight-on.



5. Create Groupings

Repeat after me: size, shape, texture.

Be sure to place items varying these three things and you can't go wrong. We love bringing in texture with rattan, vintage pieces and the occasional greenery. But please, use greenery sparingly. If you're getting flash-backs of the era of baskets filled with greenery filling the void between the top of kitchen cabinets and the ceiling you've gone too far. 

Shop Decor.

6. Step Back and Evaluate

If you get your shelves right on the first try, quit your day job and start a design firm! But seriously, think of yourself as an artist evaluating your greatest masterpiece. Step back, tweak and then tweak again.

Get it right - by getting the pieces right. If that means living with an empty shelf while you wait for the new piece of art you ordered to come in - do it!


Shelves have you losing sleep at night? Our design team is here to help! No project is too big or too small. Reach out to us today to schedule your consult.