Create Your Best #Shelfie

January 4, 2021

"What do I need to do with my shelves?" is probably among the top ten questions that we field at the home store on a regular basis.   And it also falls high on the list of things that most often need to be updated in our clients' homes.   

It seems that those pesky built-in shelves we often find in our homes never quite live up to our expectations.  And as a result, what we do end up putting on them (because we have to put something on them, right?) often ends up there for years accumulating dust.

Shelves that need updated

The goal of today's blog is to give you a few tips that will inspire to make your own shelving interesting and stylish...and to have fun doing it.  

Okay, so what is this #shelfie thing we keep referring to?   It seems that over the last several years there has been a #shelfie movement on Instagram that has gained some pretty incredible popularity.  Thousands of images are posted by users of shelving displays that they are proud of creating in their own homes.    


With all this interest in styling beautiful shelving displays, let's talk about how to get it done.

There are some universal rules to styling almost anything in your home whether that be your bookshelves, mantle or cocktail table.   

1. Have a clearly defined and consistent color palette.

2.  Eliminate what you don’t love or need.

3.  Group items in odd numbers, usually 1 item or in 3’s.   


One's and three's

Easy right?    Now on to our #shelfie tips…

Tip One:   Keep it simple


Keep it simple

Resist the urge to jam pack accessories on every shelf and open space.   This will just create a cluttered look.  Instead, allow for some white space to surround your groupings or objects. The pieces that you really love will stand out as special.


White space


Tip Two:   Vary objects of height and size.

It’s also important to mix and match the shapes and heights of the objects that you use for your shelves. Start by placing your biggest pieces and then surround with smaller objects to create a balanced look.   Items should not ALL be centered; instead, place a few to the left and a few to the right.  Balance is the secret.. so as you work, take a step back and assess your work.  

From our #shelfie event

Tip Three:  Play with texture

Play with texture and mix it up with different shapes. Add pops of metal, something shiny or reflective to add visual interest and lightness to your shelving.



 Play with texture Play with texture


Tip Four:  Use more neutrals than colorful objects

Neutrals can be both metallics and colors such as whites, blacks, browns, and beiges.  Shelves can quickly become overbearing or mismatched with too much or too many colors on display. Mix up the textures, sizes, styles, and tones but stay within that color palette, so it doesn’t begin to look like a thrift store.


You absolutely can carry your color scheme onto your bookshelf by simply adding just a few pieces mixed in with neutrals to create a sense of balance.  


Tip Five: Add greenery

Nothing adds a little life to a room like plants or other natural elements. A few bits of green can brighten an entire space as well as add texture and a pop of color to your room.


Add a little green

Warning: Be careful not to add TOO much greenery.   Too much of a good thing...well, is too much.


Tip Six:  Utilize artwork

Incorporating art into your shelves can be a great look.   It not only adds some personality but draws your eye to the back of the shelves in a good way - creating a sense of layering. Art also takes up a great deal of visual space and is great for filling those hard to fill spots.  


So, go home and get to work.  Take everything off your shelves and put it all on the floor.     Be ruthless about what you decide to put back on them.   Do you like it or does it just fill space?   Is the family portrait outdated or is it a classic favorite?    

 Get to work


If you don't have pieces that you love and resonate with your current style, perhaps its time to do a little shopping.  But before you come in, take pictures of your current shelves so our stylists can help you create unexpected but beautiful options.  

Probably the most important takeaway for you to consider is to edit, edit, and edit.    Built-in shelves can easily become cluttered if you are not careful.    Having some open space is not a bad thing and many times helps you create a sharper focus on the really special pieces that you want to feature!

 Shelves at home