How to Style Shelves

I’m so glad you stopped by today! We’re going over how to style bookshelves, something that can be tricky for even the seasoned decorator. I’ve broken it down to a few steps that I hope will help you conquer this task in your own home and make those shelves look classy and not cluttered.


Step 1: Clear the Clutter

We are visual people, and sometimes when there are a lot of things crowding a space, it’s hard to think straight. Well, at least that’s the way it is for me. By taking things out of a space, you can start fresh without any  preconceived notions of what it should  look like and can really think about what it could look like.


2. Decide on your theme.

By narrowing down the elements you use to three or four items, you allow your shelves to be styled without looking too busy or cluttered. For today, I chose three main elements; warm wood tones and texture in the form of picture frames and baskets, neutral color in the form of books (turned backwards and with spines removed), and green elements such as real and faux plants to bring in a cozy spring element. Clutter isn’t pleasing to the eye and definitely isn’t soothing. When in doubt, edit. Meaning, if you think it might possibly be too busy, go ahead and remove an element and see how that looks and feels to you.

3. Repeat your elements.

As pictured below, start by adding in your decided elements one at a time. Allow space for the other elements to be added in. I started by adding my largest items, spacing them out across the entire shelving unit. They are all similar in size, shape, and finish, and I spaced them out with the end in mind. That way, it creates balance throughout. Next, add another element, like books. Some can be horizontal, some vertical. There again, add them throughout the unit. Next add in your smaller like items, then greenery.


 4. Pay attention to scale.

You want your shelves to be balanced. What I mean by that is you don’t want all of your wood tones to be grouped close together and not spread throughout. Or all of the larger, chunkier items to be placed on one side. Visually, that throws off the balance.


5. Work within the rule of triangles, even if loosely.

What I call the rule of triangles is when you’re looking at your space and how you place like items forms a triangle. If you’re not sure how to space things, this will help you create that balance and flow that is needed.




6. Bring in different textures.

This can be different textures within the same color family or element, such as the wood tones or plants used. This will keep it from being a flat, one-dimensional space.








I really hope this helps you in your own home! Don’t be scared to tackle those shelves.  You can do it!

Have a creative day, Amanda!

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