Transform any room with these curated shelf decor ideas. Discover creative and versatile styling tips to make your home feel warm and inviting.
One of my favorite hobbies/activities is shelf styling.
If there was a job that I could apply for that was solely shelf styling, I would apply to it and would want to go to work everyday. I am not sure why it gives me such a thrill to styles shelves!
It could be that I enjoy the thought process that goes into shelf styling.
I can think about and obsess over an area that I want to style for days, which helps to keep my mind busy and distracts me from other, anxious thoughts that like to creep into my mind.
It could be that changing the decor on a shelf or a cabinet can instantly change the look and feel of a room without moving any furniture.
Or it could be that I just have fun moving this item here and that item there until the perfect balance is achieved.
No matter the reason, I love it!
However, I know that not everyone feels the same way. In this blog post, I am sharing a glass cabinet that I recently styled along with a few pointers for you to follow if shelf styling is intimidating for you.
You’ll notice a common denominator in most of my tips…visual interest.
The key to perfectly styled shelves is eye movement. You want the eye to move up & down, focus in on textures, and to move between groupings & layers.
My hope is that you are able take these tips for perfectly styled shelves, put them to use in your home, and eliminate the intimidation that you may feel, so that you can have beautifully styled shelves in your home too, no matter your decorating style!
Best Shelf Decor Ideas
Elevate the charm of any room with this curated collection of the best shelf decor ideas.
Discover the perfect blend of form and function as you reimagine your shelves as not just storage space, but a canvas for self expression and style.
Add Texture to Open Shelves for Warmth & Coziness
Texture is the best way to add warmth and coziness to home decor.
Glass bottles, baskets, stacks of books, plants, blankets, pillows, candles, and wood are all examples of different types of textures that will add visual interest to your shelves.
Mix these textures on each shelf.
One of my favorite and one of the easiest ways to add texture to a shelf is by adding books.
Books are usually something we all have in our homes, right?!
I like to style books in groups. Books can be grouped together going vertically across a shelf, like I have done in the top shelf of this cabinet.
Or, books can be grouped together laying down, with something placed on top, like I have down on the bottom shelf of this cabinet.
My secret to book styling, is to alternate your favorite books with some of the books showing their spine, and others with the pages facing out. This is a simple and easy way to add texture to any shelf.
Use Groups of Odd Numbers
Objects grouped together are visually appealing.
Specifically, groups of odd numbered items. (This is actually a scientific fact!)
I always like to group decorative objects in either groups of three or groups of five. Odd numbers force our eyes to move around the grouping, and thus gives visual interest.
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Notice how your eye moves around between the three items?
That is exactly what you want the eye to do when looking at your shelf!
Add Items in Different Sizes to Each Shelf
Each shelf should contain items of different heights.
This will draw the eye up and down.
If you have too many small objects on a shelf it can make the shelf look cluttered. Too many large objects and the shelf becomes overwhelming.
To make your shelf appealing, layer a couple of smaller objects with larger ones.
You will notice each shelf I styled has items of different sizes.
If something is too small, you can always add height by placing a couple of books beneath it, or by placing on a stand, or inside of a cloche.
The glass vase on the very bottom shelf on the left side was a little too short. I placed a stack of books beneath it, and presto! It gave the vase the height it needed.
Add Depth & Dimension to Open Shelving With Layers
Layers add depth and dimension to your shelves.
Your shelves will become three dimensional instead of one dimensional when you layer pieces together on a shelf.
Place a small picture or piece of art in front of larger items as I did on the middle shelf. Or similarly, place a larger vase behind a smaller one.
I layered artwork together towards the back of the middle shelf placing the larger artwork behind the smaller one.
Placed a cloche (with a small object inside) in front of the art, and then placed a smaller object in front of the cloche.
Layering all of these pieces and these small touches create a much bigger impact on your shelves and will make them pop!
Create a Cohesive Look & Strike a Balance
Even though each shelf is styled individually, you want to think about the bigger picture when styling each shelf so that your cabinet or built-in bookshelves are balanced and cohesive when you’re finished.
This means alternating groupings, alternating your layers, and mixing textures.
On the top left side of the cabinet, there is a basket with a green plant inside. You will notice I have the same basket with the same plant inside on the bottom right side. This is an example of balance. Top and bottom, left and right.
Play around with the items on your shelf paying attention to the other shelves to ensure your eye bounces between each one of the shelves.
If that happens, you are on the right track to achieving balance for entire cabinet or bookshelves!
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Gather Creative Ideas & Inspiration Everywhere
Do not be afraid to gather creative ideas and inspiration from other people, stores you may visit, magazines, social media, or from designers whose style you love.
I always find inspiration from Pinterest, other home decor bloggers, nature, among many other places.
When I see something I like; I pin it, or I take a screen shot to refer back to later.
Doing this helps me to think of ideas that I might not normally have or gives me permission to continue on with an idea that I know might work based on something similar I’ve seen.
It’s ok to take someone else’s idea, add your own twist to it, and make it your own.
A Few Examples of Decorative Objects That Can Be Styled on a Shelf
Remember, there are no strict rules when it comes to styling a shelf.
The key is to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics while reflecting your personal style.
Experiment with different combinations until you find bookshelf decor that resonates with you and complements your home’s overall design.
- Books: Arrange books vertically and horizontally for visual interest. Consider using old books with colorful spines or coffee table books with interesting covers.
- Plants: Add a touch of nature with real or faux plants. Use a combination of tall and short plants for variety.
- Art & Frames: Display framed family photos, artwork, or prints. Mix and match frame styles for an eclectic look.
- Candles: Incorporate candles of different heights and shapes. Opt for scented candles to add a pleasant aroma.
- Decorative Boxes: Use stylish boxes with interesting textures or patterns to hide clutter and add a structured element.
- Collectibles: Showcase small sculptures, figurines, or unique collectibles. Ensure they complement the overall color scheme.
- Baskets: Use woven baskets for a rustic country vibe. Store items inside to maintain a tidy appearance.
- Trays: Place decorative trays to hold smaller items. Choose trays that match or complement the shelf’s style.
- Mirrors: Hang a small mirror or lean one against the back of the shelf to add depth. Mirrors can also reflect light and make the space feel larger.
- Personal Items: Incorporate personal items like travel souvenirs or sentimental objects. These decorative items add a unique touch and tell a story.
- Geometric Shapes: Introduce geometric shapes through decorative objects. Consider items like a bulky vase or decorative bowls.
Final Thoughts on Decorating Shelves
I hope you are able to take these tips and use them in your own home!
Shelf styling can be scary and overwhelming but when you have the right tools, a little bit of time, and some creativity your shelves will be beautiful and the envy of the town (yes, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but you know what I mean!).
Don’t forget to always decorate your home and your shelves with pieces you love.
Doing this will make your house a cozy place that you will want to come home to.
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