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4 Simple Shelf Styling Tips (2022)

Beauty is in the details and that's why a shelf can be either the beauty or the beast of your design.


In today's post, we'll explore how to tame messy shelves through 4 simple tips for #shelfstyling:

  • Tip 1: Analyse the shelf space

  • Tip 2: Sort the Items for Your Design

  • Tip 3: Place the Accents and Keep the Balance

  • Tip 4: Add the Details and Play

The best thing about the design tips is that they can be applied for more than just shelf styling. You will find them useful while making a variety of other design choices. The techniques are both simple and fundamental, coming from interior design basics and years of our experience.


Ready? Let's shelf in!

An example of how to style a shelf. The pictures, dry plants in vases and figurines are all done in the same theme: the ocean.


Tip 1: Analyse the shelf space

Before you begin your design, consider taking the Before picture of the shelf. You'd like to know how it's changed and how it's changed the whole room! So shoot a few pictures: close up and further away.


Now, empty the shelf and take some time to analyze what you see. It's helpful to ask yourself 3 questions:

  • Is there enough space to work with, or do you need to save it?

  • What functionality does the space have?

  • Which areas get the most and the least amount of light?

The picture shows an example of shelf styling. There are a few books, a plant and a coffee set. All items are in black and white colours with the bright accent of green of the plant and beige of the book covers.

Tip 2: Sort the Items for Your Design

Done? Let's take a look at the items you have and decide:

  • What thing would you like to have the most attention on?

  • Which one should be noticed next?

  • Are there any objects that don't work with this shelf design?

When you've visualized your shelf design, sort the items you want to see there according to size. You'll have 3 main groups: big, medium, and small pieces.

One of the examples of how to style you shelf. There are a number of various items: cups and teapots, a clock, vases, figurines, pictures and boxes. All of them are connected through theme (plants and animals), materials (wood and porcelain) and colours (dark brown and white).

Tip 3: Place the Accents and Keep the Balance

It's time for the accents (your biggest items) on the shelf! You should keep a few things in mind at this point:

  • Are you keeping the balance?

In interior design, we avoid putting large items in one area. Think of your shelf as a balance scale, where bigger objects have more visual weight. If we place large pieces together, our eyes will be drawn to only that side of the shelf.

  • Do your eyes travel through all the shelves?

Step back and look at the shelf. What part did you notice first? Second? We want our eyes to naturally and effortlessly move to see the whole design.

Another easy way to style your shelves is to add a few favourite figurines to it. These figurines match the red and pastel colours of the books and look great there. 

Tip 4: Add the Details and Play

The final step of shelf styling, which will get your creative juices flowing! Group your medium and small items together and put them near the bigger pieces on the shelf.


You can experiment with combining similar objects together, or try the exact opposite and let the contrast do the work in your design. There's no right or wrong answer. Just have fun and fill that shelf with the things you love. And don't forget to boast with those before and after pictures when you are done!

Another example of how to style your shelf. There is a small pile of books in the left corner with a teapot on top of it. And just a few books in the right corner with a wooden figurine on top. The shelf looks stylish and balanced. 

We'd very much like to hear from you:

  • What's the most beloved item on your shelf?

  • Which shelf in your home will you start styling first?

  • Do you like to see similar items together, or do you enjoy the contrasts in interior designs more?

  • Would you add tip 5 to our shelf styling list?



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