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The Best Shelf Styling Tips

Who doesn’t love a good faff with your shelf styling? If you’re struggling to get the perfect shelfie, or just need some inspiration, below are some of my top shelf styling tips that work every time!

Pinterest cover of the best shelf styling tips

Pick a colour scheme

By this, I definitely don’t mean just sticking to one colour. Instead, pick 2-3 colours and try to stick to these!

In our kitchen, we have green walls so kept the shelf styling pretty neutral with blacks, whites and brown tones of wood. We also brought some different shades of green in through some plants.

If you are all about the colour though, this is still a scheme in itself! You might want to use lots of bright, almost neon colours in your books or eclectic pottery you have. Or you could stick to pastels! Whatever your style, just make sure it looks cohesive.

Use greenery

Styling kitchen reclaimed wood shelves

This is something I do EVERYWHERE in my home, not just the shelves! 

I think adding some plants instantly makes your house a home. Plus, they’re great for filling in those small gaps in rooms that you’re not sure what to do with.

For shelves, I love adding a mix of greenery.

Trailing plants always look killer on shelves, but you could also go for some dried plants such as eucalyptus for height.

Or even some little potted plants dotted around look equally nice.

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The rule of three

One rule of interior design is to stick to odd numbers, as this is far more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

This doesn’t need to be all the same item, but just ensure if you are putting different items together, they are in a group of three.

The same rule applies to heights, too! Grouping 3 items of all the same height will look wrong. Instead, try using three items of all different heights and sizes. For example, you could use a small plant, a tall candlestick and a vase!

Notice in the images below, images that are grouped in three have enough empty space around them to allow the shelf to breathe. The last thing you want is for it to feel cluttered!

If you’re unsure how to group your items, one of the best shelf styling tips is to start with your largest items. This way, it makes it a lot easier to fill in the gaps with smaller items such as trinkets or candles.

Add some books

colourful books used to style white shelves with vases and other decor

Depending on your colour scheme, you can use the spine of your books or flip them around to show just the pages!

The latter makes for a beautiful rustic feel while using the spine can be a great opportunity to add a pop of colour to the scheme.

I like to have some standing up and some laid horizontally with other items stacked on top. Again, this just adds a bit of interest and looks great.

You can also go find any old hardback and print your own cover off to create your own spine to fit your aesthetic!

Read a full guide on how to do this here.

Ground the look with larger pieces

Start by using your largest items first to create focal points. You could use bowls, vases, art or other large decorative pieces. These are great for adding some texture and substance.

The best way to approach this is to regularly take a step back and evaluate. Does one side look heavier than the other? Keep playing until you find the right balance. You can always use smaller items to fill in any awkward gaps.

dark alcove shelving with built in lighting and shelf styling tips
Dark walls styled with monochrome prints and pops of blue.

Play with different heights

living room shelving unit styling using prints, candles, vases, plants and other home decor

This is one of my favourite tips when it comes to styling shelves!

If I don’t do this, they always seem to fall flat and just doesn’t sit right on the eye.

Using items of various size and height will create a much better visual impact. It keeps the line interesting and makes the space seem taller by drawing your eye up.

To add height, try using candles, art, a vase or chopping boards for a fun mix. I also like to play around with artificial flowers.

Adding some dried eucalyptus, pampas, or bunny tails, as I have here, is a brilliant trick to draw your eye up and add some texture while you’re at it.

I’d recommend taking a step back every so often and look at the shelves as a whole. If your eye is immediately drawn to somewhere, it’s probably for a reason. Just keep playing around until you’re happy!

Oh – and take photos!!! I cannot tell you the amount of times I have re-styled a shelf, only to realise it looked better before and then I can’t remember what it looked like!

I hope these tips were helpful for you. If you use any of them, make sure to leave me a comment below, or tag me on Insta! I would love to see how it turns out for you.

You can also check out my shelf styling reels below!

Thanks so much for reading!

Tasmine x

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