Monday, January 13, 2014

How to Decorate & Style Shelves

Welcome back to Monday my friends! I had a hard time rolling out of bed this morning, how about you? I am glad to be back into action this week and can't wait to share a few fun posts with all of you.

A few weeks ago I shared some Christmas Decorating ideas from an Ethan Allen workshop that I attended. They did such a wonderful job showing some of their new decor items as well as great tips on how to decorate for the holidays. The best part of the workshop was teaching us all how to stage and decorate shelving and built-ins. I get so many questions from readers and friends asking how I would style their large shelves. They usually don't want just knick knacks taking over, but an overall aesthetically pleasing look that adds some function and personality.

Well today I am going to share some of the tips that I learned and also my own two sense! I hope these tricks will help you create beautiful vignettes within your home.

1. Start with a Clean Slate:
Completely Clear and Clean shelves. It's easier to start with a blank slate and work from there.

2. Sort Items:
What do you need to purge & what will you keep to reuse. This is the time to clear out the clutter!

Here they chose a yellow and white color palette.

3. Select your color palette:
Determine a color scheme & group objects or books by color to aid in your desired visual effect.

source unknown

4. Select some new items:
Whether you purchase new or re-purpose items from your house, add objects such as pictures frames, vases or sculptures etc. Add items that reflect your personal interests.

5. Step-up the creativity:
Add paint color, wrapping paper or wallpaper to the back of the shelf unit for a dramatic new background. Or, wrap books in colored wrapping paper to feature special holidays.

Paint the back of your shelves with an accent color.

Accent books with wrapping paper 

Use wallpaper or stencils to accent the back of bookcases.

6. Stage items:
Mix and alternate items. Place a stack of books next to a small group of objects, grouped in odd numbers like 3's or 5's. Or, place a single item on top of stacked books. Don't be afraid to layer items as well. Adding pictures or paintings behind objects adds another layer.

7. Stand back and review:
Step back and see if things look balanced. Make final adjustments until you are pleased with the arrangement.

source unknown

**** Understand that the eyes track in a "Z" pattern when viewing a book case or series of shelves. They will start at the top left corner of a space, move down and to the right, and then down and to the left and stop at the right, diagonally from the starting position. If you are decorating a book case or several shelves together on one wall, place the most important pieces at these visual resting spots.****

Some of my favorite items to add to shelves are small containers and/or baskets that can serve as a purpose to hide remotes, office supplies, pictures, etc. My go to item for styling shelves are books! You can never go wrong using books throughout any space in your home. I also love placing items of importance on my shelves. I have a magnifying glass that I bought when I was in England that sits on top of some collected books. The little items that bring back memories from travels or things your kids made add your own style to the space.

I hope some of these tips and inspiration pictures will help you decorate & style your own spaces whether built-ins in your living room or open shelving in your kitchen.

Do you have trouble styling shelves or are you vignette obsessed and can't get enough of styling?

Linked up at: Liz Marie Blog


  1. What great ideas! I especially loved the yellow and white. So interesting about how our eyes start from the left - I was doing that, but didn't realize it until you said that! Crazy!

    1. Thanks Karen! It sure is amazing how we take in the spaces around us!

  2. Oh the bookcase styling woes I've had, seriously. In the past I truly wanted to rip out our two built-in's but since they were tied into the fireplace that would have been too extensive of a project. I've made my peace with them now ... I rotated our space plan 90 degrees and now the bookcases make a really pleasant backdrop for our sofa / furniture grouping. And multiple baskets let me fill the shelves with texture rather than lots of things.

    1. That is a great idea placing your sofa in front of the bookcases. I have seen some great spaces where the bookcases are in the background and even have artwork hanging in front of the book cases to create a gallery of sorts. Very neat!

  3. My living room is a small and difficult space. One wall is near the entryway with a half wall and front window. The opposite wall is a full wall. The third wall is full length mirrors and that faces the fireplace which has a built in on one side. This post offers good suggestions on what to do with the built ins. Right now they are home to picture frames. But I think it looks too cluttered. Thanks for some great ideas!

    1. Thanks Roberta! You are always welcome to send me some pictures of your space, if you would like some help! Glad I could inspire you to change your built-ins up a bit!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Total Pageviews