6 Tips For Perfectly Decorated Shelves


Shelves tend to be the first place your eyes are drawn to. Make sure yours are decorated perfectly.
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Shelving in your home can be used to organize and store frequently used objects and display decor that complements the ambiance of the room. The following recommendations blend usefulness and style to help you effectively arrange your shelves.

You must select if your shelf will be used for storage, display items you adore, or merely fill empty space. Do you like a more minimalist look or a more homey, lived-in feel?

Today, let’s I will do a deep dive into decorating shelves!

A large wooden bookshelf on display.

Only Display Objects of Some Value to You

Make sure to start with an empty shelf before you begin decorating. Only put items back on the shelf that you love, have meaning for you, or use frequently. You want these displays to be pleasing to the eye while also storing useful items. Things used infrequently should be kept in a more secluded location, such as a closet.

Two light colored floating shelves  blending with a plain gray wall.

6 Tips to Consider

1. Storage

If you plan to use the shelving for storage, be sure that each item has a place on the shelf. Baskets, bins, elegant jars, bowls, vases, and desktop accessories like pencil holders and paper sorters are ideal for this purpose. If the products are not visually appealing, you will want them hidden yet properly organized.

When selecting storage and organizational baskets and containers, choose neutral hues that may be readily moved around if your needs alter. Think about whites, blacks, and natural-colored baskets or wood.

A white built-in bathroom shelf good for storage.

Remove things from their original brand packaging and display them as-is or in a container with a more minimalist and modern appearance when possible. You might use this technique to transform something as simple as a package of printer paper into a sleek piece that would add dimension to your shelf. You could even add a little ornamental paperweight on the top to complete the look.

Industrial wooden planks and shelf.

2. Prized Possessions

Consider the lighting in the area while displaying collections, artwork, or family photos, and make sure it allows you to appropriately highlight those items that mean the most to you. Always keep your most prized possessions close to your and your guests’ eyes. To avoid mishaps involving children or pets, keep fragile goods on the top shelf or higher up.

A small lightwood open shelf against a wall.

3. Filling Space

If your home has a lot of built-in bookshelves or if you run out of stuff to put on your shelves, don’t go out and buy new decor right once. Remember that less is more sometimes, and the more you have on each shelf, the more dusting you will have to do!

Try going through all of your rooms and looking for stuff that could function on your shelves. You might have stuff on hand that you didn’t even consider, which could save you money when you don’t need it.

A tall brown free standing shelf as an open display furniture.

If you have a large set of shelves to fill, consider putting just one item on every other shelf and leave the rest empty. 

A white blank photo frame as decor.

An empty photo frame is also an easy way to take up space and change the dynamics of the space. 

An all white book collection, white figurines and vases, and plain dried leaves as decor pieces.

A small stack of books is also a great way to use up space. You can lean the books along either side of the shelves (with or without bookends) or you can lay a stack flat and centered. 

When putting books on the shelf, you can place them with the spines or bindings towards the back. This keeps your reading choices private and also keeps all the distracting text hidden for a clean, crisp look.  

A black and white rack to hold books and easy access items.

4. The Rule Of Three

Anyone privy to interior design will tell you that things simply look better in threes! The odd number of items make them more noticeable and memorable. 

Try placing three items of different sizes, textures, and colors in a close arrangement on your shelf. A great example of this is a framed photo, small succulent, and a decorative figurine grouped closely together. 

You can choose one item to be showcased front and center on the shelf, and the other two items arranged with it will help highlight your favorite piece. 

A minimalist home office setup.

5. Color, Texture, & Size

Make sure that the majority of the items you choose to display contrast the color of the shelf itself. You want your display to be noticed, not sink into the background. 

When considering textures, it can be fun to mix and match. Fashion your shelves with a blend of metals, photos, fabric, plants, glass, faux leather, mirrors, etc. 

Textured art pieces over a plain white bracket shelf.

The sizing of your display items is up to you! For a clean, minimalist look, you can choose to display items that are completely uniform, or If you have items of varying sizes, that works too! 

Earth toned book collection with same sizes.

Don’t be afraid to layer decor front to back; this adds depth, dimension, and fullness to your display. 

Indoor plants as decorative items.

If an item is little, almost too small to be noticed, one trick is to place it on a decorative box or a book to help magnify it. 

A tall and large industrial wall shelving unit.

6. Keep To A Pattern

When styling multiple shelves in a group, work in patterns and symmetry when possible. Shelf styling doesn’t need to be perfectly mirrored on all sides, but you should follow this rule to some degree to ensure a well-put-together design. You can incorporate patterns and symmetry with decor spacing, the number of items per shelf, right/left/center alignment, decor size, color, patterns, textures, etc.

Coordinated natural wood colors of toys and decor against a simple white wall.

Time to Get Started!

Now that you have read these tips, I’m sure your mind is racing and you are ready to tackle this DIY project. Shop your home for things you already have first, and then stop at the store for a few extra storage containers and some extra cute decor. If you keep these tips in mind and fill your shelves with items you love and items you use, they are sure to impress!

Sarah Wolfenstein
Sarah Wolfenstein is a mother of three and is skilled at DIY projects, design, and cleaning and organization. She never accepts a mediocre job - she is always challenging herself to make things appear better than even professionals with many years of training. Sarah has always strived for perfection in all her projects. She is also very active on Pinterest , where she posts tutorials, ideas, and home decorating tips that are simple enough to even be done at home by anyone with a moderate amount of experience doing basic DIYs.
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