Shelf styling options are endless, thats what makes them so much fun! This is my formula (with pictures) for the simple, uncluttered style of my shelves below. The key points to this style are balance, an edited color palette and restraint.
1. The first step is to collect an assortment of things you want to display. Run around the house and grab your favorite treasures! Here is what I collected- books, pottery, bowls, vases, baskets, trinkets, a few pieces of art, candles, and a few plants.
2. Group like items and edit them. I made a pile of bowls, grouped all of the wood pieces, stacked up the books and so on. I noticed there was a common color palette and I edited out anything that didn't fit into that color palette. Grouping like items will help you later on when you start to spread things out.
3. Determine your essentials and place them first. Before I started styling I added our essentials. In this case I put baskets on the the lower shelves to hide stuff the kids play with and stash some blankets. I also added our stereo speaker to a lower, out of sight spot.
4. Work in your larger decorative pieces. For my top shelves I tried to use things that were all of similar size but different colors within my palette. I added the cigar box to a kid friendly height because it's full of shells the girls like to look at. They like the wood links so those are also within reach. I added a few pieces of art to an empty shelf and the wood plate to the only open spot not directly above or below another wood piece.
*Tip- Keep your colors balanced! My color palette here is mostly black, white, wood and blues. As you place your items around notice where you are putting them in relation to other similar colors. Are two blues next to each other? Move one to the opposite side. This is important in the overall end result and will keep your eye moving around the shelves, keep your colors in mind throughout all of the steps.
Here we are after steps 1-4...
5. Add some books! Stack them and lean them. Try to evenly distribute the color of the books paying attention to the spines. If you have a book whose spine you don't like- take the cover off if possible or just turn it around so the spine faces the back. Place your stacks of books throughout the shelves alternating from the left, middle and right sides of the shelves filling in some of the blank spots. Use books to raise your treasures up and give them more presence.
*Tip- Step back often and check to see if your shelves are feeling balanced. If you aren't sure, look through your phone camera or take a picture and study it to see what feels off. Looking at it through a lens gives you a different perspective and I find it to be very helpful!
6. Add some greenery! Whether its real, a good faux, or dried foliage: adding greenery brings a little life and movement to your shelves.
7. Fill the empty spaces with your smaller treasures. Lean baskets or bowls with pretty insides against the back. Add decorative orbs, or bookends to your leaning books. Throw in some extra art, candles, smaller pieces of pottery and whatever knick knacks you have.
*Tip- Work in odd numbers, a group of three feels more balanced than a group of 4. It's not the end of the world if you have 4 similar items and you want to see them all. If it feels right to you, do it. Odd numbers are generally just a good rule to keep in mind if something feels unbalanced.
8. Now take some stuff off. Seriously. Just like Coco Chanel said, "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off." Believe me, it applies in decor too. Take a picture. Does anything look cluttered? Take it off.
*Tip- Anything smaller than your fist does not need to be displayed on a shelf unless it's in a group of like items. Tiny pieces will just end up feeling like clutter.
Here is my end result. Remember a good "shelfie" takes time. I edit mine over and over. Sometimes I like them from one angle in a room but it feels unbalanced from another view. Fix it. Just keep messing with it until you love it. Then wait a while and when the urge strikes, start all over again. Rearranging the same things gives you a new view on your treasures.
Remember these are just basic guidelines. Have fun and display whatever your heart desires!!! Its your house and your treasures to enjoy.
I've rounded up some affordable items that are similar to some of the items on my own shelves. You can shop them all by clicking the photos below. You can also check out my Small Shop Love category, each of them has a round up of beautiful treasures to display.