Hi friends! Dropping by today to answer a couple questions we received last week on Instagram regarding shelf styling! In no way am I a pro or expert on such a science, (because that's what it feels like sometimes!), but through so much trial and error it's a task that feels much easier now than when I was first starting out. I guess we could part ways with the age old advice that practice makes perfect, but that's just outdated. Hah! (I kid. I like practice and enjoy sharing my finds through practice)
So here are some tips I've found helpful in the task of styling shelves. No big secrets or groundbreaking news here; just a few helpful tricks I've used to guide my way through styling a shelf, mantle, bookcase, or the like.
This was one of the first things I learned that made the biggest difference! Just because the surface space is there doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be filled with something. Don't be afraid of empty space. Pick a few things, spread them out, and allow the shelves to breath.
On shelves I plan to put a whole lot of the same thing on, like our basement built-in bookshelves, I try to mix up the heights. Whenever books are involved, I place taller books alongside shorter ones to give some variation and interest to the arrangement.
I recently saw someone post a photo on Instagram of their floor to ceiling buildtins, asking for help with the styling on the shelves. The first thing I noticed was that they seemed to have dark decorative pieces all on one side, and neutral/white pieces on the other. The balance was off just a bit. Once you have a few decorative objects, try making two separate piles that share some commonalities - similar sizes and similar color/saturation. If you have all your larger or darker items on one side, the balance will look off.
For our industrial shelves, I had a lot of space to work with and a lot of items to use! I knew I wanted my glass and books, and then I had an assortment of other items from around the house to fill in here and there. I started with my two groups - placing the glass up top and the books two shelves down, so that my most 'full' shelves weren't right near each other. Then I used a dark twiggy wreath and black framed feather to balance two dark things on either side of the same shelf. Not everyone likes perfect symmetry, so if you're going with an asymmetrical arrangement with different objects, you can still achieve a pleasing balance by strategically placing similar sized and colored pieces on each side.
Now, this one is completely a matter of personal opinion. :) I just love walking into a home and seeing personal keepsakes used to decorate the home. Family photos, favorite books, travel mementos, treasured family heirlooms. With today's access to big stores like HomeGoods, Target, Ikea, World Market, (to name a few), it's easy to do up your entire home without a single personal item out in the open. I'm up for a trip to any one of these stores any day of the week, don't get me wrong! But I always try to mix in some sentimental pieces with the new. It's what will set your home apart from anyone else's.
In our living room I keep leather-bound photo albums on the rustic bakers rack. When I was young my favorite thing to do was curl up with one of our family photo albums. My Mom was so good about filling those albums and we had a dozen at least to flip through! I like mine out as an open invitation to grab one anytime.
Other trinkets on those shelves include the family home phone that used to be in my husband's grandparent's house, and the bottom of one of the green glass champagne bottles from my grandparent's wedding reception. It has their names and wedding date etched into the glass!
Personal items are wonderful conversation starters and take a home from beautiful to warm and inviting as well.
I know none of these tips are brand new news, but I hope they're a helpful jumping off point if you're staring at some empty shelves wondering what to do! We've all been there - and I still am sometimes! If you've got any helpful styling tips to add, please jump in and share! Don't keep your tricks up your sleeve - get em' out!
As always, thank you so much for stopping by! We sure appreciate you. XO