How To Style Shelves In 5 Simple Steps

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Hey there, Interior Collective readers! I'm Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog, and I'm so excited to be visiting today to talk about one of my very favorite decor topics: shelf styling! Now I have to be honest-- styling shelves used to intimidate me. It seemed like everyone else could just throw some cute decor items on their shelves and have them look perfect immediately, and I couldn't figure out how they did it. After some practice and trial and error though, I have my shelf styling technique down to a little system, and now I can create cute shelves in no time at all!

Here's how I do it:

1. Decide on a theme or color scheme.

I always want my shelves to look cohesive, so having a consistent theme or color scheme helps tie everything together. For the shelves in my new entertainment unit, for example, I chose a color scheme of aqua, white, and metallics with some natural elements sprinkled in throughout.

I always try to repeat each element of my theme or color scheme at least three times so that everything ties together well. On a larger set of shelves like these, I'll end up repeating much more than that!

2. Shop your house.

Once I have decided on my theme or color scheme, I shop my house and gather up every possible decor piece that could fit in with that scheme. I gather many more pieces than I'll actually need so that I can try out several different arrangements and possibilities. If I try many variations and still feel like there are holes I need to fill, then I will go out an buy a new little piece or two, but most of the time, I am able to use just what I have on hand.

3. I start with my "leaners."

Once I've gathered up a bunch of pieces that fit my desired theme color scheme, I start by adding my "leaners," or taller items in the back row that lean against the wall or the back of the shelving unit. One of the keys to styling beautiful shelves is having many different layers to give it a collected look, and leaners help to ground the arrangement and allow you the space to layer many different items in front of them. In the hutch photo above, I used plates, trays, books, and picture frames as my "leaners."

For these fall shelves, I used a large frame (filled with a piece of wrapping paper) and a simple wreath as my "leaners."

4. I add tall items on the ends.

In all of my shelf arrangements, I tend to lean toward putting taller items on the ends. This helps to frame in the look as a whole and gives it balance. Vases of flowers or other natural elements are great for this. For the shelves above I also used a lantern and a crate turned on its end to define the space.

I used similar items in this Christmas display and simply changed the contents of the vase and the lantern to reflect the season. The mini trees also were an easy addition to add some height to the ends of the shelves and define the space.

5. Finally, I fill in the rest of my shelves with smaller items of various heights.

If everything on my shelves is the same height, it will look more flat and boring, but if I vary the heights of the items I choose, it gives the arrangement more interest. Along with varying the heights, I also try to place items in groups of three or five. The eye tends to be drawn to odd numbered groupings, so placing items of different heights in threes will give the shelves a more polished look.

So that's my method! Styled shelves are a great way to add some seasonal decor and switch up the look of your home without making over an entire room. By following these five steps, you'll be on your way to gorgeous shelf decor in no time!

Thanks so much for joining me today! Have a wonderful week!

For more home decorating tips: A Log Holder for Every Fireplace | DIY Chicken Wire Mason Jar Candle Holder

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Abby Lawson is the girl behind Just a Girl and Her Blog where she works to create a beautiful home, life, and business and helps others do the same. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband Donnie and two sons, Connor and Caleb.