Home Styling 101: How to Style a Shelf

Home styling can be very daunting task for home owners – especially when it comes to functional areas within the home, such as built-in or free standing shelving units. Sure, these units provide the home with a means of storing everyday items such as books or family photographs. However, it is easy to forget that they are intended to display them as well – resulting in arrangements that appear as clusters of “things” rather than a beautiful, visually interesting display. Clear up all of that clutter and dust off those shelves, we're here to give you some styling tips that will not only add dimension to your home but it will also create a more engaging space for your guests!


four styling steps

First, find some horizontal objects for your shelving arrangement:

  • These horizontal items are just that – they lay or span in a horizontal direction. These items can be books, boxes, landscape-style picture frames, baskets, or any other item that takes up space in a horizontal direction.

Next, you need some vertical objects:

  • Vertical items are – you guessed it – items which lean on, span, or take up space in the vertical direction. These items include tall accent pieces – such as candle sticks, vases, portrait-style picture frames, or any other piece which takes up space in the vertical direction. What really creates a visually interesting display is when these vertical objects vary in height and scale – the less matchy-matchy the better!!

Now for some anchoring objects:

  • Pieces which anchor the horizontal and vertical items together are integral to completing your shelving arrangement. Anchors are any item whose height and scale balance the horizontal and vertical objects used in your composition. These items include unique sculptures, planters, or any other piece of decor that will compliment or contrast your horizontal and vertical objects.

Last but not least – some breathing room:

  • The horizontal and vertical objects will never be complete without the help of items which anchor them, however, what makes or breaks the success of these compositions is the amount of space between them. Remember: less is more – allow some breathing room between the items on each level. This will help guide the eye, highlight certain objects and complete your shelving arrangement.



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Photograph by: @amberinteriors


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