10 Tips to Style Shelves Like a Pro

Decorating shelves is a great way to add personality to your entire house. You don’t want to be like everyone else, do you? When people first attempt shelf styling, they might feel a tad overwhelmed because there might be too many ideas in their head or they don’t know what items to buy when they are staring at the home decor section on Amazon or at Target. Girl, if you feel like this is you, don’t worry, I got you!

I’m going to give you 10 different tips to style your shelves like a pro! These are my secret techniques to make any shelf in your home turn from a boring old place holder to the star the room in a matter of a few minutes! Shelf styling is fun, and I’m going to make every single one of you love it!

This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

Tip 1: Play around with varying heights

Lifestyle blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek shares 10 Tips to Style Shelves Like a Pro by Playing around with varying heights

When you are styling shelves, you should never have the same height on the shelf. As a rule of thumb when using varying heights, always think of your accessories in terms of small, medium and large.

Try to NEVER group accessories of the same height together. It will look weird. For example, if you have an item that is tall, place a smaller item next to it!

Tip 2: Let your décor breath

Lifestyle blogger Nicole Reid shares tips to style shelves like a pro

More doesn’t mean better. What?! Yes, girl. Let me explain. When you are styling a shelf, you might think it’s natural to put a bunch of things on a shelf and call it a day. To be honest, you don’t want that! Clutter is clutter and too much “stuff” on a shelf will make your shelves look bad.

My tip? Allow for some negative space around your decorative items. Let your décor stand out.  

Tip 3: Stack some books and stand some books.

Lifestyle blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek shares how to Stack Books Horizontally and Vertically on built in shelves

Do you know those boring books that are sitting on your bookshelf collecting dust? Well instead of having them be a place older, start by using them for decoration! It might seem obvious to put books on a bookshelf, but it’s not obvious how to decorate them.

First, choose the best-looking books and flip them around so only the pages show to create uniformity. The perfect books to use are design books because they are meant to be seen.

Make full use of their design by stacking them with the spine facing out. You should look for book covers that fit your overall design and color scheme. Any color that doesn’t go with your color scheme should not be used! If necessary, remove the book covers!

Tip 4: Layer artwork

Lifestyle blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek shares how to Use Artwork on shelves

If you are trying to style your shelf, trying hanging artwork on the back of it! Yes, you heard me right! By hanging artwork on the backs of shelves, it creates an interesting contrast between frames anchored to the shelf. 

It doesn’t have to be fancywork! Start by mixing personal photos with the artwork. It will give a look of sophistication, style, and a hint of personality that every shelf needs.

Tip 5: Add Storage

Lifestyle blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek how to Add Storage when styling shelves like a pro

Every shelf doesn’t have to be used to put décor on there. You can add storage to any shelf. So it looks clean, try to find some decorative boxes and/or baskets to store unsightly items and knick-knacks. 

This can help with your kid’s room or your living room where you don’t want certain items out for the whole world to see.

Tip 6: Add Greenery and Texture

Lifestyle blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek shows how to Add Greenery and Texture to shelves

To spruce up a shelf, add some greenery and texture. To prevent your shelf styling to fall flat, add in textured vases, sculptures and greenery. This will bring that pop of color to any shelf in the house. It will make it stand out and look professionally done.

Tip 7: Don’t be afraid to add color and personality

Lifestyle blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek shares why you should Add Color when shelf styling

Speaking of color, don’t be afraid to add it! Color adds personality to each individual shelf. You might want to feel like you should play it safe when styling your shelves, but you should add your own personality! Don’t play it safe, that makes it boring.

To mix everything up, display family heirlooms or your favorite decorative pieces

Tip 8: Mix texture, metals, and natural elements

Lifestyle blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek how to add texture and metals to any shelf

Texture, metal and natural elements break up the monotony of any design. Smooth and flat items that have texture will give depth to a shelf! If you have any shiny or mirrored items, try adding a dark wicker basket or bowl. This will prevent every item looking the same.

Don’t be afraid to mix metals like mixing silver and golds. The silver and gold objects will give a pop of color that any shelf deserves and needs to stand out.

Tip 9: Group Pairings in odd numbers.

Lifestyle blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek explains why you should Group accessories when shelf styling

Even numbers are boring and it will make anything look too traditional. It’s almost 2020, girl. Get a little odd! Grouping items in odd numbers gives a feeling of completion. Instead of having four items together, add a fifth and it will make the decoration feel more complete.

Tip 10: Don’t be afraid to single some items out.

Lifestyle blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek shows how to single items out to style shelves like a pro

It’s totally okay to single out some items on a shelf. Some decorative items are better left alone. Start by centering the items on your shelf which makes them stand out more. This gives the eye a break from the other details on your shelf. 

If you have an object that you are completely head over heels for, try singling it out and giving it your full attention! It’s okay not to have multiple objects on your shelf all at once. It’s all about balance with your shelves.

Simple and easy!

Shelf styling is simple, easy, and lots of fun! Styling your shelves will start to become more natural after getting in the right way. These 10 tips to style any shelf will make your shelf the star of the room. Your house or a certain room will become Instagram-worthy in a short amount of time. Invite friends over and show off your hard work.

Do you want more design goodness? Check out my 2019 Fall Home Tour! It will put you in the mindset of fall! Or if you are looking for your next DIY project, read more on how to make an easy board and batten wall.

I would love to see how you’ve styled your shelves! Tag me on Instagram @homeonpoplarcreek or shoot me a message!

Until next time,

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Lifestyle blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek shares 10 tips to style shelves like a pro #shelfstyling #builtins

September 25, 2019

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