Styling Open Shelving

Styling Open Shelving: What The Pros Know That You Should Too

Styling open shelving seems simple in theory — find some fun home decor accessories and arrange them on a shelf. If you have ever tried to style a shelf then you know it can be quite the contrary at times. Cute can lean towards cluttered real quick!

Styling Open Shelving

Styling Open Shelving

Here are pro tips to help you dodge a hodgepodge next time you style a shelf:


Shelving is a focal point in a room, a place for your story to be seen. Incorporate intentional accessories that illustrate your personal style — from family heirlooms to favorite finds. Shelves can be both pretty and purposeful so also consider function when choosing decor. Think baskets and boxes to store loose items like remote controls, iPads, kindles, reading glasses, and other easily misplaced objects. 


Attractive shelf displays usually have a little of this and that. A mix of content including framed family photos, art prints, books, trays, clocks, vases, baskets, plants, and 3-D structural pieces can all be part of the design plan. Blend unique finishes like wood, glass, ceramic, and metallics for stimulating textures. Keep color in check with the surrounding room design, limiting the palette to two or three shades. Incorporate colors that compliment textiles, walls, and furnishings within the same space. 

Size and Scale

If you style a shelf and something seems a little off, step back, it could be the size and scale that is out of balance. Start by placing larger items first to ground the space. Then fill voids with smaller items to bring unity. Stagger heights and widths of individual objects to create visual interest and dimension. You might even elevate smaller decor pieces on stacks of books or boxes for extra height. 


Aim for an organic design by displaying odd numbers of objects. This might include odd numbers of items in one cubby or three items in one cubby and two complimenting items in a neighboring cubby. Arrange an eclectic mix of finishes within each individual grouping and repeat similar elements throughout the entire shelf display to support overall design flow.

Keep it Fresh

As the seasons change and holidays come and go, incorporate fresh decor. Swap standard accessories for seasonal colors and textures to reinvent shelf style. Integrate holiday decor and new finds periodically for fresh feels. 

Styling Open Shelving

Styling Open Shelving

Need help accessorizing your home? Everything Home offers accessory/styling service packages. Contact us to learn more about our flexible and accessible interior design services. 

Happy Home. Happy Life. 

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