Shelf styling is one of the hardest things to do in a home! Between overdoing it and what objects to choose, it can easily be overwhelming. Take my 8 steps to restyle your shelves without the headache!
1. Clear It All Out
This may seem obvious, but is an important first step. Even if you have objects you know you are definitely going to use, still take them off your shelves. This will give you a blank slate to explore an even better spot for those favorite items!
2. Determine Purpose
Now that you’ve got your blank slate, think about the purpose of the shelves. From a tv console, office shelves, to above a couch – there are a lot of functional needs that can come into play. For example, do you OR could you use that space to store remotes, keys, oils, documents, toys? This will help identify whether or not you need bins or boxes, and if so, an accessible place for them to live.
Sometimes, shelves are just meant to enhance the look of the space! So, don’t fret if you have no functional needs, or just 1. For example, our TV console has a small box for our car keys. Otherwise, it is meant to be full of aesthetically pleasing objects that make our space feel light and airy as you walk into the room! Plus, it makes me so happy to look up at a beautiful mix of objects each day, making home ours!
3. Gather Decor & Shop Your Home
It helps to get a comprehensive view of everything you may have to work with. This may sound overwhelming, but I promise it actually helps with each phase of styling! I literally drop everything on a table or on the floor right in site, but far enough away that it doesn’t clutter my view of the end result.
Most of the time, you do not need to run out and buy a bunch of new decor to restyle a space and get to a point where you love it. I always shop my home as a creative challenge and to make the most of what I have already purchased. Whether its grabbing objects from other areas, or heading to my storage bins – it helps!
Some of my favorite shelf decor items include:
- Faux Plants
- Hardcover books
- Decorative spheres or objects
- Picture frames
- Greenery Stems
- Vintage books
- Ceramic pieces
4. Choose a Color Palette
It’s always good to start with a palette in mind. Consider the season first and the longevity of the pieces you have. For example, we are going into Spring, so I am focused on whites, golds, woods, and moody greens/blues that feel fresh but aren’t so pastel.
No matter what colors you go with – from bright, moody, to neutral – a base color and a metallic accent color is a good approach but don’t be afraid to explore!
5. Place Your Larger Items First
These items tend to be bowls, books, art, prints, or frames. A common mistake when styling a shelf is styling with too many objects. The more you have, the less of an impact each item makes. Placing the large items first allow you to have anchor pieces, to then fill in with accents.
6. Take a Step Back
After those larger items are balanced out, take a step back and take a look at placement to determine how you’ll go into the next few steps. This is an important tip to keep in mind as you go into completion for those moments where you start to become frustrated or overwhelmed.
7. Create Balance
Now that you’ve got your larger pieces up, focus on balance and visual weight. Because shelves offer a lot of space to fill, balance and visual weight play a big part in getting it right.
Think about symmetry. Not everything has to be perfect, but the ends of your shelves should be somewhat consistent in height and shape. You can layer items as well to accomplish depth and height.
With that in mind, place your smaller items in groupings based on color, material, and height. It may seem obvious, but having two gold items or two rectangle shapes in one spot will make it feel heavy. Don’t be afraid to mix groupings to not feel so placed. I usually work with ceramic, wood, gold, rattan, whites, cane, and more!
8. Display What You Love
The easiest way to fall in love with your shelves & feel accomplished is to display pieces that are important to you. Mixing in objects from a special trip or place in your heart, artsy family photos, vintage finds or heirlooms, etc. can make your shelves truly your own!
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