Tips on Shelf Decorating by Melissa

Tips on Shelf Decorating by Melissa

Last month Amber brought her skills to the shelf and presented her go-to way to design- the time honored zig zag method. We thought since there about a bazillion design techniques out there, we’d feature another way to go about bringing life to your shelves. Like everything in life, there isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes to shelf styling. The biggest advice we can give is just try it! Go for it! EVERYTHING can be undone when it comes to shelf decor. You’ll be amazed how the design completes itself. 

Always start with all available items for the space. And keep in mind other items around your house! For this design, I borrowed a basket from the open shelving in the bathroom. I replaced the bandaids and q-tips with greens and it was just what I needed on the top shelf. Don’t limit yourself to what you think you should use. Pull books and vases and greens, sure. But don’t forget about the personal items you want to display. Grab the trinkets and trays, cake stands and bowls, all the dust collectors that bring you joy and see where it leads! You’ll not use all of the items but it’s better to start with everything and narrow it down.

If you haven't yet collected a million decorative items, start with what you have! As you go, you will notice "holes" in your styling and it will create a natural shopping list. You can visually see what color is missing and what size you are looking for. We have created a handy shopping list to keep you organized. It is even equipped with a ruler so that you can measure as you shop without having to lug a measuring tape or guess (the horror!).

Home Decor Shopping List

One of the biggest helps for me is to take a picture while I’m working. I don’t know why it helps, but I do it when I’m deciding on an outfit too. It’s like seeing it through someone else’s eyes. So get those cameras up and at the ready and get that second opinion. If you’re like me, the hubs and kids are no help- nor do I ask them for help, now that I think about it!

For this design, I’m styling 25” built-in shelves in my dining room. Built-ins are a little bit of a different animal because of the height restrictions. It’s also important to leave space between items. Free floating shelves offer space on both ends, but not so with these bad boys. Don’t shy away from the edges of the shelf, but make sure there is breathing room somewhere else on the shelf. Ain’t nobody got time for clutter.

Any shelf I’m designing, I visually divide the space into thirds and fill either the outer spaces or the middle space. 

Let's take a look:

In this design, the bottom 2 rows contain the most interest. The top shelf finishes the design with the larger stand alone item in the center. The outer thirds are filled on the bottom 2 shelves, giving a mix of color and texture. Don’t be afraid of layering- it brings sophistication and attention to detail. I used a framed photo and a hanging planter to create the layering I was looking for. Use a tray, artwork, basket or any narrow item to get dimension. 

I always like to bring personal items into my designs. In this design, you see a clock. This was the very alarm clock I used in college! I worked at Restoration Hardware and it was my first purchase as an employee, (thank you 40% employee discount!) I can no longer abide a ticking clock so it sits pretty on my shelf, sans batteries.

Now it’s your turn! Give it a whirl! See what you got! Go get ‘em tiger! You’re going to do great! And if you get stuck, check out our new community format on Facebook! Seriously, we could look at designs all day, so the pleasure would be ours!


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