This article is a guide to shelf styling using decor and things you already own.
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with our book shelf over the years. There’s been many times that I thought about selling it, painting it or even just stashing it somewhere in the basement. But I’ve realized it wasn’t the shelf that I hated, so much as the styling.
Every home and every person has a style that’s all their own, and I wanted to share tips that you could use to style your shelf regardless of your style.
In fact, I would even go as far as saying you could use these tips and shop your own home! Meaning you could repurpose decor and books you already own. While still giving it a completely new look and feel.
6 Steps to Easy Shelf Styling
As tempting as buying a new shelf was, I decided to stick with this one and our budget (for now). I also knew I had a ton of decor in the basement I could repurpose for this quick project.
Find your style
Inspiration changes all the time, and with it your style. I found that the best way to narrow down what you like is by making a secret board on Pinterest and pin pictures of shelves that catch your eye. Sometimes it’s easier to see a pattern or style that way. I’m including the original source of my inspiration below, and I needed to decide how I was going to incorporate that design style into my home.
From this picture I could see that less was more. The decor had a lot of black that grounded the shelves and I loved how Athena grouped together books by colours.
Clean and wipe it down
After you’ve created a plan of action, the next step is to fully clean and take everything off the shelf. It’s easier to start fresh then it is to pile more things on or take things off.
The biggest tip I have for all you book lovers, is to take off the covers and see what kind of binding the books have underneath. I personally like to check out thrift shops or used book stores for books who have really pretty bindings. The perfect book would be either black, white or beige under the cover. From there you want to decide if your plan is to group the books by colours, or if you will lay them horizontal, vertical or both.
Group Smaller Items
The idea of shelf styling is to group together smaller decor items, in order to create a balance. The balance I’m looking for is within each shelf. So I want to have smaller items grouped on one shelf, then a large item on the next. Grouping smaller items together tricks your brain into thinking there’s a synergy that’s pleasing to the eye.
Balance with Large Items
Like I said, the key is to create a balance on your shelves so they don’t look messy. You want your shelf to look intentional and not cluttered. The way you do this is by using larger items like, vessels or pots. Some of my favourites I’m sharing below. I’m obsessed with collecting old pots, vases and vessels because I also think you can inject a lot of character into your styling when you use vintage decor.
The best tip I have for everyone, especially parents is to use baskets in their home. Why not use a basket as a catch all on your shelf as well? as you can probably tell I hate anything out of place. I’m constantly battling OCD when it comes to my home, and I love having baskets to stash anything that looks out of place. Baskets is another way you can play with your style. For example, using a bright coloured basket could completely change the style of your shelf from minimalistic to electric. So it’s another aspect to think about when your planning on your approach to shelf styling.
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