Foolproof shelf styling tips
Confession: I am really bad at styling shelves. I always struggle with it. Most of the time, they look like random clutter without any balance. So in the time I’ve been in my home, I’ve developed tome tried-and-true tricks that make styling just a little easier.
1. Add greenery.
Why it works: plants add life, height and texture—but beyond that, they’re proven to increase productivity and are plain good for you! Hint: try dried sprigs if you’re not as confident in your ability to keep your green friends alive. I have dried holly from a bush on my yard that looks great and kept its deep green hue!
2. Use the unexpected
Why it works: taking an item out of its ordinary place can add a fun little sense of delight to your arrangement. Records or books as artwork can be a much more personal addition to your shelf than something you grabbed from a housewares store just to fill a gap. Use what ya got! 🙂
3. Lean a picture frame.
Why it works: A piece of art can instantly work as a grounding element to a bunch of smaller trinkets, tying your arrangement together. This is my favourite design trick! SO good if you’re a renter and can’t drill holes in the walls!
4. Mix how your books are stacked.
Why it works: Books can help add height, and tie together a bunch of smaller elements to make them look like a thought-out arrangement. Focus on using the direction of your book stacks as a way to lead the eye naturally through your space.
5. Use odd numbers (and use all the depth of your shelf)
Why it works: I have no academic way of explaining this, but using odd numbers can help an arrangement seem less contrived, and more like a natural gathering of precious things! Using the full depth of your shelf (instead of lining things up all in a neat row) will give your arrangement life and more interest than if they were all against the wall.
6. Work with a variety of shapes, textures and sizes
Why it works: patterns, textures and shapes keep the eye interested. When they’re paired together well, you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction. It sometimes takes a while, but pull out a bunch of things you own with varying sizes and shapes, pairing them together! I like to grab one big item, one medium, and one small to start.
7. Pay attention to colour
Why it works: it doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy, but understanding how little bits of colour in each object speak to each other can really help tie the arrangement together with the house! If one item has both red and yellow, see if you have other items within the same colour scheme—and use that to create a cohesive arrangement despite any apparent randomness in your items. I generally stick to 3 colours, max—or I stay within the same spectrum. Like below: I know that I’ll often keep avocados, tomatoes, apples and oranges on this shelf, so my artwork nods to the natural organic forms of those fruits & veggies. Food has become a part of the art instead of an occasional eyesore.
8. If at first you don’t succeed…try try again!
Why it works: Giving yourself the freedom and time to play is the best thing you can do! It’s unlikely you’ll find the perfect arrangement right away. It takes some testing, experimenting, living with it before it feels right. Some of my shelves took a year to figure out! But that’s the beauty of it. Go easy on yourself, have fun, and if all else fails, check out Pinterest for some inspo 😉
Hope some of this was helpful for you! If you’re like me, you’ll be constantly arranging to find the most peaceful, perfect shelf set-up. It’s always transforming!