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How To Style Shelves

Do you ever struggle with styling your bookcases or built in shelving? Sometimes it feels like a lot of space that can easily get cluttered with too many decor pieces. Or if you’re a book-collector, it may seem too full of books and not very pretty. So, here are some basic tips for making these storage areas a beautiful part of your decor and not an eye-sore!

 

1. Achieving the “Random” Look

You know how you look at someone’s shelves that are stunning or see a picture on instagram or in Southern Living and think, “How did they style that so randomly and it look so good!?”. I used to think the same thing, but the secret is that there is an underlying design that gives balance to what may seem “random”.  The image below shows a weighted triangle design in what may look random at first glance, but has a specific design.

One way to make your layout seem extremely put together is to keep the colors/patterns all similar and coordinated.

 

2. Center Weighted Shelves

This layout puts the visual weight or the focus on the middle shelves. It works the best with four or 6 shelves high, putting large but simple items on the top and bottom shelves to add balance and color but keep the photos, little items, layered items and floral arrangements on the center shelves. Then within those two center shelves create a diamond shape with the height of your items.

 

3. Scattering Similar Items

The third way to approach shelf styling is to gather several items that are similar and then place them all over the shelves. This strategy draws your eye to one plant or floral and then takes it to another plant and then to the last one. The key is to keep an odd number of each thing (3 plants, 3 stacks of books…), and to keep the color scheme very small. If you scatter too many types of items or too many colors, your shelves will end up looking cluttered and disorganized.

 

 

If you have a lot of books that need to be stored, you can easily fill the negative space I have in these images with books. If it starts to feel too colorful or “busy” then flip your books so the pages are pointing out instead of the bindings! Or you can group similar colored bindings with decor of the same color families!

Don’t be afraid to try styling or to fail! Keep moving things around until you like it and feel like it feels balanced when you step back. No one perfects it on the first try, so if you don’t like your original attempt, take everything off the shelves and try again!

 

 

 

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