What’s the difference between a room that’s good and a room that’s great? It’s the styling and decor. When you bought the perfect furniture, rug and art but something’s missing, it’s the styling. And the question I get asked the most is…”how to style open shelves”.
There are quite a few differing opinions about the “perfect” way to style shelves. And believe me when I say I’ve tried them all!!!
In fact, I’ve tried, practiced and mastered the “art of styling the shelf” or so I think. Now some may disagree that it’s an art….if you do- give it a try and I promise you will be converted.
I’m lucky that most of my clients want me to complete their rooms by styling and accessorizing their space, this includes my self-proclaimed shelf styling art.
I do think there’s one method to style shelves that stands out as the easiest and most dramatic way to get that drool-worthy styling that will elevate your room:
THE PYRAMID METHOD
Not to be confused with pyramid marketing- haha Buuutt it’s exactly what it sounds like. You’re going to very loosely follow the shape of a pyramid.
This method works for any style so believe me when I say it’s for everybody.
Before you get started here is a quick PRO TIP:
TRADITIONAL HOME, you’ll want to use objects in pairs and create symmetry.
MODERN HOME, you’ll start with the same method but ditch the symmetry. Think of different but complementary objects that you love and bring them all to the party.
STEPS TO STYLE A SHELF
STEP 1 – START IN THE CENTRE
Always start with the largest item in the centre. It should be something that’s more of a backdrop like a painting or a mirror. You don’t want anything that’s protruding into the shelf because it won’t allow for layering. And this method is all about the layering!
STEP 2 – THE OUTER EDGES
Next we’re moving to the outside edges and we’re adding something tall. Remember my pro tip from above? This is where style matters so pay attention here friends.
STEP 3 – FILL IT IN
This is where the magic of layering will happen. Start adding smaller items next to the tall pieces and move into the centre. Use the more personal items like photos, books and little objects that are meaningful to you. Take your time here and have fun playing.
BEST ITEMS TO STYLE A SHELF
mirrors and paintings
vases and urns
something from nature (plant, branches, flowers)
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
1/ If possible, gather all your “stuff” before you start your styling. It’s a lot easier if it’s all within arms reach as opposed to running around the house trying to find something to fill in gaps.
2/ consider a colour palette before you begin. It might include several colours but they need to work together harmoniously.
3/ texture is super important to making this shelf a success. Look for hammered metals, natural fibres, worn or objects with some great patina. Lots of times Homeowners, call me to help them “finish off their space”. I can see that the room needs some pop to liven it up.
If that feels like you, I want you to try some styling and see how you feel about your space afterwards. Be patient, take a picture of the styled shelf and step away. Then go back, It will take a while to land on what’s perfect for you but just keep working at it.
If you’re anything like me you’ll be changing it forever. I just love different looks for different seasons or for how I’m feeling that week. Fresh and bold or cozy and subdued. Take your time and don’t expect to nail it on the first try.