How to style your shelves like a pro

Follow these decorator-approved tips for shelves that look photoshoot worthy!  

If you want shelves that are both practical and pleasing on the eye, the golden rule to remember is that less is more these days.

Whether you’re styling a bookcase in your living room or decorating shelves in the kitchen, a clean, uncluttered approach will create a sense of calm, as opposed to chaos.

Clear your shelves so that you have a blank canvas to work with and use the guidelines below to help you achieve success:

Be selective with books and decorative items

Follow professional organiser Marie Kondo’s advice and only showcase items that spark joy. This applies to books, photos, plants, candles and ornaments.

Choose a colour palette

A colour scheme is the quickest way to create harmony and unity when decorating an area. Neutrals are easiest to work with: they suit contemporary, classic and farmhouse looks and are easy to update or alter with a pop of colour. We love black, white and grey together; ditto sandy beige, white and green.

Add variety and play with size and shape

Framed art, photos and books make great focal points, so start with these and style remaining areas accordingly. Plants and flowers add life, while bowls and baskets add texture. If you’re going to group items, three is a winning number. Don’t be afraid to have just two items on a shelf  though – or even just one. Make sure you vary shapes and heights for interest; this includes books which can stand vertically, lie horizontally or be displayed open if there are beautiful pages you want to display.

Repetition is helpful

Repeating decorative elements helps to create flow. Just remember to vary their positions on shelf so that they don’t line up underneath each other. Rather let the eye zig zag…

Embrace white space

Our natural tendency is to fill every little space, but shelves look far more stylish when items have room to breathe. Placing a large/heavy object on the bottom shelf will help to anchor your display (think big coffee table books, baskets or a long wooden ornament or bowl).

* Source: House by Hoff, The White Interior and Love Grows Wild.

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