Who would have ever anticipated that there'd be guidelines when it comes to what you place on your shelves? Well, there are. Maybe more like styling tips, I suppose. I am a little surprised myself that I am dedicating a full blog about it, but there's so much to talk about. It's crazy, right? I guess that's design for you! Decorating professionals have created a trend of taking shelves that once held just books and weaved them into a thing of beauty. Maybe you have bare or cluttered shelves that have been begging you to address them. My hope is that you find some inspiration here to decorate them like a boss. Some good advice is, begin with bare shelves and be selective on what you put back on them.
There are certain items I always gather when styling these ledges, being mindful of shapes, colors, and sizes. No matter what type you have, bookshelf shelf, built-in or freestanding, consolidating pieces you already own feels more meaningful than purchasing new. I always start with my existing pieces first. Here are my 6 key pieces when decorating shelves.
1. Colour Tones
Do you want the shelf styling to match the rest of the decor and colors in your home, or are you seeking something a bit different? These are important things to decide on. Certainly not as important as matching the right shoes to your outfit, or your belt matching your shoes, but it's right up there. I'm a matching tone kinda girl. Any decor I place on them coordinates with the design in the space.
Artwork and framed photos are great choices as they take up good real estate on your ledges. Thinking about your color palette, you will want to choose your favorite pieces and build around them. You truly can showcase your taste in culture or favorite family photos in selective ways. With the latest trends of incredible watercolor and vintage artwork, you can't go wrong.
This is an obvious one, books are a staple for shelf styling. I personally like to see the titles of the books displayed, but there are some fun ways you can cover them with paper and linen and make them look more subdued.
Check out this youtube channel to learn how to cover your own books.
Laying them flat on the shelves or upright, covered or not covered, books are a must for your shelves. Finally, you have the occasion to show off your favorite novel or vintage find. You can really infuse your style here, and showcase some of the topics you love.
4. Trays / Risers
Trays and Risers are a great way to experiment with elevation. Adding this flair and pizzazz to your ledges, these platforms will draw the eye up. With so many great choices in colors, styles, and textures, they will be a great addition to your display. You can add candles, wooden balls, or plants to be displayed on top of them, or simply leave them empty. A slender design or one with detailing really will come down to the theme you are choosing. Being consistent with your style is important to keep your shelves looking properly balanced.
For me, candles are a must. Whether it be chunky or slim pillars, glass jars, or candlesticks, I love the variety they bring to the space. The more unique the holder, the more interest it creates. Although it's definitely not recommended to burn the candle on the shelf, you can still give it a used look by pre-burning it prior to placement.
I'm a big fan of using vases, for the plethora of textures, colors, and sizes. Including a piece or two, really give the shelves some eye candy, as they say. The abundance in the selection of pottery can easily furnish the ledges with beautiful tone and balance. Lucky enough, we are living in this retail environment that is exploding with gorgeous pottery, so your choices are endless.
Once you have carefully chosen your pieces and placed them upon the shelves, stand back and admire your work. You might need to rearrange your layout a bit, just to make sure it all looks balanced. If you feel it looks a bit cluttered, then they likely are! The intent is to keep a light and airy flow, displaying some of your favorite pieces.
We had a long wall in our living room that just needed a little something. By adding these floating shelves, infused some interest to this otherwise white, empty wall, and put a punctuation mark to the rest of our living room's style scheme. I am pleased with the end result.
Have some fun, be creative and get decorating x