Shelf Styling 101

Shelf Styling occurs in the midst of a project installation. After all the rugs and furniture exist in the space, our team’s next big task involves styling the entire home. We handle everything from organizing a client’s bar to placing flower arrangements, because every little detail counts when making a house a home.

Through countless conversations had, we realize that shelf styling is one of the most common home decorating struggles, which is why we’re writing this post! Read on for Shelf Styling 101.


The first thing to consider when styling your shelves is in what room they are in? Whether they’re in your living room, library, kitchen, or even your bathroom, their location will help determine what items will look best (and feel functionally correct). In a library/office, for instance, a large majority of the shelves will likely be occupied by books, so choose decorative items such as bookends and urns that will fill in extra space. In a kitchen, copper pots, spices, glasses, and simple coffee mugs will look elegant alongside cookbooks and traditional decorative items.


Our enjoyment of a space increases when we’re surrounded by pieces we love, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t incorporate some of your favorite personal items into your shelves. Small works of art, framed photos, and family heirlooms can all bring depth and personality to your arrangement. If you feel like you’re lacking styling pieces, hit up your favorite home retailers for those beautiful filler items!


This is likely the most important and misunderstood aspect of shelf styling. When creating an arrangement, you must consider the visual weight of each item to create a balanced look and feel. This can be created by incorporating pieces that are different colors, sizes, heights, and textures. For instance, a large white item takes up less visual space than something tall and dark. As a result, placing the two items together creates balance. The same is true for balancing textural items with those that are smooth.


Coco Chanel said it best: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” This mantra should also be on your mind when decorating your shelves. The truth is, you probably have too many items crammed together, creating visual chaos. Often, less is more, and there’s nothing wrong with letting one or two items really shine! Give them space and always remember, one large item will look better and go further than a lot of small items.


Most importantly, don’t feel pressured to commit to an arrangement on the first attempt! If you have multiple shelves, try decorating one at a time, and walk away if you get overwhelmed. After all, you can always come back tomorrow and edit.

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