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The shelves in your home make a statement, they can compliment or deter from your complete home decorating style. The shelves you decorate in your home also give you an opportunity to display some personal items like photos, or sentimental belongings, these items turn a house into a home.
How do you transform a shelf from a collection of stuff to a pulled together styled shelf? I am constantly rearranging items on the shelves in my home but I have never really thought about how I make sure they look complete, I just do it. In order to make this list, I took a step back and broke down the process to share it with you. So here goes.
Let’s start at the beginning so you can create a perfectly styled shelf every time!
Tip #1: First, remove everything from the shelf(s), even if some of the items will be used again. Wipe down the shelves. If they are anything like mine, they could sure use a good clean.
Tip #2: Next, wipe down all the items you removed from the shelf; seems a little silly to put the dust back on your clean shelf!
Tip #3: Now gather additional items and accessories from your home that you can add to your collection.
Tip #4: Go ahead and group the items into categories such as books, photos and prints, boxes, plants, and art decorative items. Organizing the objects into groups will make it easier when you start your styling.
Decide on the look you are wanting to create. Do you want pops of color, neutrals, a minimalist look, or do you already have a theme in the room you want to compliment? You might find it helpful to read my post the ‘5 Key Items to Create a Perfectly Styled Shelf’ before you begin your styling.
Do come back and read the rest of this guide after you do your shopping and prep work!
Alright, now that you have everything you need, let’s get this done! Knowing exactly what you need is a major part of the job so you are well on your way to creating a perfectly styled shelf. In order to keep things simple and easy, I will illustrate two different looks on one of my shelves. After you create your first perfectly styled shelf following these guidelines and tips, I know you will be a pro ‘Shelfie Styler,’ and no I did not say ‘selfie styler.’
In the first shelf example, shown in the top image of this post I went with bright and white. I knew I wanted to use my fave white star object and the purple/pink print in a white frame on the entryway shelf. Since I am in LOVE with pink this summer it seemed like the perfect starting point to compliment the pops of pink added to the living room decor this spring. And it was time to move some things around and change it up. Using a few items from the living room and gathering a few from around our house here is how I put it together.
Tip #5: Use things from around your home, shop for a couple new extra items ensuring you have the 5 Key Items you need to create a whole new perfectly styled shelf.
Referring to the first image at the top of the post. First, I placed the vertical print at the back of the shelf. Place your larger items on the shelf before your smaller items to make sure there is adequate space around them and the shelf doesn’t seem cluttered.
Next up was the pink bottle with LED stars on the right to add another vertical object to the shelf. This draws the eye over to the right towards the smaller items that might otherwise go unnoticed. The white swirly glass votive holder and lavender glitzy essential oils decanter were next. The bottle and the candle provide subtle lighting and soft glow in the entrance and the essential oil keeps it smelling fresh.
In my mind, I pictured my unique or different item, the geometric white star to the right of the print (where the pink glass bottle is), but once I started placing the items I soon realized the white star would be best over to the left. The white frame and white candle holder are balanced by the white star. With this arrangement, the color white is shown across the shelf to unite the style; whereas if I had used the star beside the frame the two would blend together, and there would be no white represented on the left side of the shelf.
You can purchase a geometric star from West Elm >> here.
Tip #6: Incorporate one main color across the shelf to give it a unified and balanced look. Limit the shelf or shelving unit objects to 3 colors.
For the horizontal component, I chose books for this shelf style because I have a lot of them in all different colors! Placing them in front of the print I then added my natural or organic item, the white ceramic vase with pink flowers. With any shelf style don’t worry if you end up covering part of the artwork, the items in front give the shelf depth and make it more interesting.
Tip #7: Take a step back and make sure there are different heights represented. For instance, if I had used three books the flowers would be as tall as the frame which would not be visually appealing.
Last but not least, as it is actually bigger than it looks in the photo, I placed the short pink glass vase just a touch in front of the print and filled it with clear and glittery gemstones.
The LED star lit bottle, short pink vase and lavender shiny decanter fulfill the glitzy, light catching category, done deal, the shelf is complete and perfectly styled.
You can definitely tell when you walk in the door that I am addicted to pink and glam this summer!
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For the second example, I went complete opposite from a white and bright shelf
to a neutral and light shelf.
Now let’s see if I have the 5 Key Items to a perfectly styled shelf, did I miss any?
First, I added the taller items; the vertical items on each side. The bird-cage on the left and the green essential oil diffuser on the right to add height and symmetry. Your eye is drawn all the way from the left to right so you take in the entire ensemble.
I then placed the decorative storage box a tad behind the essential oil diffuser to add depth. Don’t worry if you partially hide a decorative item or print, layering is visually stimulating and an important part of any styled shelf.
Then I included the larger horizontal mint green wooden box with creamy yellow flowers as it would take a fair bit of room and I wanted to ensure that I would still have free space on either side of it. This item is one of the natural/organic items on this shelf, giving it a homey, welcoming feel.
Next, I placed the natural/organic XOXO horizontal sign in front of the bird-cage and wooden flower box. Placing the vertical sign in front of these two items makes them not appear too large, they are easily visible but not dominating the collection of objects.
Finally, by placing the two smaller items: the jar with natural rope on the left, and the candle holder with burlap and dangly, glitzy silver heart in the middle I created groups of three on the left and right sides of the shelf.
Tip#8: Group smaller items in 3’s or 5’s, odd-numbered groupings are more natural and appealing. When you see an odd number your eye is forced to move around more which makes the shelf more visually interesting.
The decanter and wooden flower box add a touch mint green to the shelf while maintaining a neutral overall pleasing canvas.
Is there a key unique or interesting object on this shelf? Do any of the items on this shelf fall into the category? Let me know in the comments below!
For me and my style, the birdcage is the unique and interesting object. I do not have any other decor items with birds on them nor do I own any bird cages….but I fell in love with this piece when I saw it at Home Sense.
Tip #9: Your shelf reflects you and your home, use this guide, take what works for you but remember rules were made to be broken.
The most important thing is to have fun while you are creating your perfectly styled shelf!
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