Shelf Styling Tips

If there is one thing in my house that gets rearranged often, it’s shelves. They are my favorite thing to style. But I know they can also be intimidating. When I style shelves, I like them to look full without looking cluttered. I have shelves in almost every room in my house. The key to styling them is to pick items that fit that particular room. I like to start with a clean slate and gather the items I want to use so that they are handy to grab. One thing to remember…you want varying heights. For my bathroom shelves I started with this cute sign from Target and worked around that. Leaving the top shelf to lean a piece of wall art on. Simple but effective.

Another thing to remember is to keep your color scheme cohesive. I even try to keep the different wood tones similar. You want everything on that shelf to look like it’s right at home. A few key items I always use are candles, greenery and dishes (in the kitchen.) It’s also a good idea to stand back often to get a better look at your progress. I never nail it on my first try. In fact, because I’m OCD, it takes me several attempts to get my shelves styled to perfection. But practice makes perfect, right?

I replaced all of my upper cabinets in my kitchen with open shelving. Some of the shelves are multifunctional while others just hold decorative items. I get asked a lot if it’s hard to keep them clean. I also hear “Pretty, but major dust collectors.” Do they require a little more attention? Yes. But I love rearranging my shelves. So keeping them clean is not that hard. For example, the shelves that house items we use everyday get switched out often with clean dishes. The others I rearrange or clean about twice a month or more. When styling kitchen shelves with items you use, make sure the shelf is easily within reach. I store our everyday kitchen items on the bottom shelf. Like coffee mugs, glassware and plates. One thing to keep in mind if you’re wanting to add open shelving in your kitchen is the amount of weight they will hold. My shelves hold a lot of weight so we were sure to hit studs or use drywall anchors when we added the brackets. Almost all of the shelving in our home was made by us. We love DIY’s. The shelving in my kitchen is made up of 1 inch thick plywood sheets that we cut down (Home Depot will do this for you as long as your cuts are 12″ or more.) The brackets we used were made by my husband using 1 x 3 pieces of pine board from Home Depot.

Open shelving is a fun way to display decor and dishes. But they can easily look cluttered and messy. I try to style items on my shelves that blend together nicely and create a cohesive look. Like white dishes, small plants and vintage decor items. Baskets are also a great way to store items while still keeping your shelves organized and clutter free. The shelves in our eat-in kitchen area are mostly for decorative items. But I still keep items on them that look like they belong with the theme in the rest of kitchen. For these shelves we used 1 x 8 pine boards from Home Depot. The brackets were made using 2 x 2’s.

This space has seen a lot of changes over that last few years but the shelves have remained a constant. We also recently added shelves at the end of our hallway. It’s amazing how much they changed the look of this dead, useless space. Adding shelving is a great way to utilize a space that currently serves no purpose. I wanted the shelves in my hallway to look built in. I added beadboard to the back wall and then I created ledges for the shelves to sit on by using 1 x 2’s that I fastened to the beadboard wall and both sidewalls. Then I used 1 x 10 pine boards for the shelves. P.s. If you want adjustable shelves this method wouldn’t work. Check out the before and after below to see the difference the shelving makes.

Crazy, right? Don’t let shelving scare or intimidate you. They are so fun to style and look good just about anywhere in your home. Just keep in mind a few key things when styling them.

  • Use items with varying heights.
  • Keep the color scheme cohesive.
  • Use items that flow with the theme in the room.
  • Start with a blank slate.
  • Stand back often to get a better perspective.
  • Play around with the decor until it looks right.
  • Use drywall anchors or studs when hanging your shelves.
  • Keep items used often on lower shelves within reach.

I’d love to see some shelf styling inspo from you. Follow and tag me on Instagram and I’ll share some of my favs in my stories.