One of my first jobs after college was designing model homes. When it was time for the install, everything selected for the homes (generally 5-7 homes at once) would arrive and needed to be placed with perfection. One of my favorite yet most challenging parts of these installs was styling the shelves and vignettes in the homes.
Here are some of my tried and true tips that I’ve learned over the years and now implement in my clients homes as well as the homes of my friends and family and of course my own!
Start at the bottom – On the bottom shelf (or two depending on height) place heavier (or visually heavier) accessories. These can be a large baskets, sculptures or filing boxes.
Stack and mix – Not every book needs to be displayed at once! Treat the books differently, by turning them on their sides, flat or even leaning. If you have books that are not as attractive as others, turn them around and show their pages. This brings in texture and lightness to the shelves. Remember not all books should be on one shelf!
Bring in life – I find it a must to bring in a plant of some sort. I am partial to succulents due to my black thumb! They provide texture, dimension and a natural element.
Artwork & Frames– I love framed photos of loved ones as well as framed artwork, mix up your horizontals and verticals. This will keep your eyes moving.
Small Accessories – I keep these fun pieces for last. These accessories can range from vases, bowls, and statues. Use travel keepsakes and antique accessories as conversation pieces that tell a story.
One of the most important aspects of getting your shelfie style just right is to LEAVE BREATHING ROOM! Don’t overwhelm your bookcase with every item you want to show off. It’s okay to rotate your items over time, providing a fresh look to your home. The negative space will help to achieve overall balance.
A few more notes:
• Take your time, step back occasionally or even take a picture of your shelves to help work towards your look.
• Play with trends: color coordinate your books or even go for a fun rainbow pattern with colorful spines.
• Objects look better in odd numbers, this will help to achieve overall balance.
• Add some color to the back of your shelves; use paint or wallpaper or even contact paper to bring them to life!
• If none of your book spines work for you, cover them up! Use printed or plain contact paper or wrapping paper to give them a punch of color.
• Really stuck? Walk away and return the next day with fresh eyes and tackle it again, you will get there! It often takes a round or two to get the finished product!
Follow these steps and you will have a manicured shelfie!