Shelf Styling 101

Looking for the ultimate "shelfie"? Today we are going to walk you through a few key design tips to help you style your bookshelf like a professional.


One of the most impactful tricks you can do to make your bookshelf look professionally designed is to add wallcovering to the back of the shelf. We love a nice textured grasscloth for this purpose because it helps add a bit of visual depth and texture. Grasscloths are fantastic for this because you can find one in just about every color. Best to select one that has the primary colors of your space in it and that will help tie it all together.


The biggest mistake people make is that they place way too many small accessories on their shelves. We understand that you may have some collectibles that you want to display but only pick your most favorite and most beautiful items. You will want to group these items together if they are smaller and place them on a tray or inside a cloche. The key is to contain them in a way that they present themselves as a larger single item. When too many small scale items are on a bookshelf, they are visually scattered and the eye has no where to focus. Any other small scale items that you don't use very often or aren't visually appealing can be placed in beautiful woven baskets and stored at the bottom of the shelf. Baskets are a great way to tuck away items that aren't nice enough to display on their own. You can also use the baskets to store your kid's toys. No one will ever know that you have legos and wooden blocks hidden away inside that gorgeous basket!


Books and boxes are a designer's best friends! We generally like to have our books laying horizontally and in stacks of no more than 2 or 3. We will even let you in on another hot designer tip; the color of the book and spine matters! If your living room is predominantly green and warm neutrals than try and use books that have these colors in their spine. This subtle move will help unify your space. If you're in need of some gorgeous books, take a look at one of our faves in the Shoppe here. Look for boxes with lids that are made of luxurious materials like bone or marble. Boxes like this take up a decent amount of space on the shelf and look sharp. They can be found in an array of sizes but we prefer the larger scale ones. We often have a few in the Shoppe - shop for yours here!


Small to medium sized potted plants are a fantastic tool for adding in greenery and texture. While we always prefer real plants to artificial, either one will work on a shelf. Depending on the style of the room, you can make the pot something colorful or unique. If you're trying to keep things looking more sleek and contemporary, a smooth solid pot works great. Using plants on a shelf will help to break up the hard surfaces and bring a softness and warmth to the shelves.


Art and sculpture can take your bookshelf from ordinary to extraordinary. Place framed artwork and lean it on the back of the shelf, then layer a few smaller accessories in front of it. The touch of art there provides interest to the shelf and will make people want to take a closer look. You can also use sculptural items on the shelf for the same effect. A few larger sculptural pieces sprinkled on to your shelves will provide a more sophisticated look. We have some stunning selenite sculptures in our Shoppe that would look fantastic on a bookshelf!


The last key to a successfully styled bookshelf is having the right amount of negative space and balance. Negative space is the space in between the objects. It's important to look at the negative space to see if the shelves are looking cluttered or if an item is starting to overlap another item in an undesirable way. When you look at your shelves, look at each shelf individually for balance and then look at all the shelves as a whole. Typically, you will want your larger and darker items on the bottom shelves and smaller, lighter items up on the top shelves. Another thing to keep in mind is if you have two built-in shelves flanking a TV/media center, you will want to make sure that there is a balance between the two separate shelving units. They should almost mirror each other. This doesn't mean that you have to use identical objects on both sides but the weight, size and scale of the objects should look about the same. Balance is key!

If you're in need of accessories for your shelves or still feel lost when it comes to styling, give our Studio a call and we will get it done for you!



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