Here’s a fun fact for you: I have open shelving in every room in our flat, including the hallway! I find it’s the very best way of seeing all your favourite things, of creating a warm, cosy space that feels inviting and never cluttered.
Of course, it’s something that takes a little work – getting the shelves looking effortlessly styled whilst still having a bit of personality and not looking overly busy is kind of a mission!
When I first started working on styling shelves, I was horrendous. I cringe looking back at old photos (I mean, this applies to any old photos…), but I seem to have mastered the art by now. So let me show you how it’s done!
Strip It Back
If you’re going to overhaul your shelves, I always find it’s easier to just empty the shelves as much as possible and start all over again. Just bin everything! Kidding, don’t do that. Just take everything off the shelves – that way you can look at the space with fresh eyes and have a blank canvas to work with.
I like to collect a few decorative items and books and put them to one side so when it comes to piecing it all together, I have an idea of how it will all work.
Work With Height
Once I’m a little more organised, I start to think about the foundations of my shelves – for me, this is usually books and storage boxes and baskets. I think once you have a bit of height, the shelves really come together.
Stack a pile of books on a couple of the shelves, and then place a wicker basket or a pretty box here and there too. It’s easy enough to then build on these by placing smaller items on top of and around these starter building blocks.
I like to use the boxes from any handbags or sunglasses, it’s trés chic daaahlings.
Stick To Similar Tones
I like to keep a bit of theme when it comes to styling shelves because I think it makes the end result look a little more ‘put together’, like you’ve actually made an attempt at decorating here.
I usually choose blush tones (duh), metallic details and a few leafy green plants. Sometimes I’ll add in mint green or a lovely shade of cornflower blue to balance it out a little – it’s always ideal to have balance… and it keeps the boys from complaining, eye roll.
Choose Your Favourite Pieces
One of the reasons I love open shelving so much is because it gives you a chance to show off your favourite ornaments, fragrances, accessories, frames etc. – the things that bring you joy!
On my office shelves I have introduced a few favourite candles and a much loved handbag amongst the more practical workspace items. It makes the room look a lot less ‘boring office space’ and more ‘my spending habits are out of control’.
Less Is More
There’s a really fine line between organised clutter and anxiety-inducing mess! I think the secret is to lean towards a more minimal approach, so quit when you’re… behind. By that I mean, it’s better to have it looking under-styled than too OTT.
I usually work in odd numbers, so I’ll split each shelf in to three parts and style mini sections to keep things interesting but never overdone.
Change It Up
It’ll take some time to get your shelves looking perf, so spend a little while arranging and rearranging them. I like to move things about a little and I usually take a couple of photos on my phone of the finished result each time so I can see what works best.
Once you’re happy, you can also give the shelves a little reshuffle every few months to breathe life in to the space – it’s more economical than buying new ornaments etc., and it does the same job.
Will you be trying these steps?