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  • Writer's pictureKirstin Adolfson

Shelving 101

Styling shelves can be a tricky task. Whether you’re decorating a bookcase or open shelving in your kitchen, these tips can help as a guide to creating perfectly styled shelves no matter where they are in your home. First, we will go over a few staple items that are great to have on hand for shelf styling. Then, we will go over how to place them together in a cohesive way.

When decorating shelves, it’s always good to gather items that are of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Matching items that vary in structure and texture will help you bring balance to your shelf later on and add depth to the overall look.

Artwork is a great place to start because it will take up a good portion of real estate. Choose something that stands out to you and make this the focal point. Once you have a focal point, it makes it easier to build off existing colors, sizes, and textures. One thing to think about when looking for art is the height. Make sure that there will be enough space between your shelves if necessary. You will also want to keep in mind the color palette you want for your design.

Pottery is also a great way to add depth and texture to your shelf. There are many different sizes, shapes, and finishes to choose from. Pairing a mixture of aged and weathered pieces along with simple, glossy finishes can help balance the contrast. Smaller vases are great to add on top of books or platforms, while bigger pots can stand alone as a statement piece.

You can never go wrong adding a little bit of life to your shelving. Including some plants or flowers will brighten up your arrangement. If your shelving doesn’t get a lot of light, you can always use faux plants to achieve the same look.

Including a few sculpture pieces can add a unique look to your decor. Pick items that speak to you and share a little more about your taste. Sculptures will add character to your shelf. Styling simple pieces around your sculptural art will create the perfect balance.

For the layout, balance is your friend. Although all the staple items mentioned work perfectly on shelves, they won’t all look great together. The best way to start is by choosing a few statement pieces depending on how large your self is and adding simple pieces around them. Think of each item as a hierarchy. Some should be more attention-grabbing than others. Having too many large or small items can make your shelf look random.

Hopefully, this helped generate some ideas that you can use to decorate your shelving. Need more interior design help or inspiration? Contact me today at (651) 468-6208 or email

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