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Shelf Styling Tips and Tricks

DIY | Interior Decor

I like to think that shelf-styling is a skill that’s learned through doing. And I know for a fact that it’s a process. I think for many of us when we start out with the mission to style shelves in our home, it can be overwhelming. Where do I start? What do I need to buy? How do I know where to put things? And if you’re not careful, it can get cluttered pretty quickly. So, I’m here to give a few shelf styling tips and tricks to make the whole process feel more doable.

shelf styling tips and tricks

Shelf Styling Tips and Tricks

Starting with curating items for the shelves:

Shop your home.

If you were to go out and buy all new items to style your shelves, it would likely get expensive. This is why I always start by shopping my own home. I literally gather every object, book, box, and dish that I think might work in the space.

Upcycle old objects.

Don’t overlook objects that feel old or dated. I’ve painted and upcycled objects that maybe I wasn’t in love with the look of any more to breathe fresh life into them.

shelf styling tips and tricks

In my office, my overall design theme was “globally inspired home office with masculine & feminine design touches.”  So, I gathered all of our souvenirs and artifacts from travel & old photos of our escapades. I pulled out boxes, sculptures, jars, and tins. I even found some old trophies from my sellin’ days and a funny copper change tray my hubby has been carrying with him for years.

For my living room shelves, I kept it more neutral. But I still managed to find a lot of the decor I used, in my own home already. And then for the remaining items I bargain shopped!

shelf styling tips and tricks

Bargain hunt.

My favorite places to hunt for deals on shelf styling items are At Home Stores, TJ Maxx, and Amazon.

At Home Stores are great places to find shelf styling pieces at great prices. However, if you plan on going in store or shopping on their site, I highly recommend going there with a list of things and types and sizes of what you are looking for. Because if you don’t, odds are you might get overwhelmed.

Tap the products above to shop my shelves!

TJ Maxx is great, but for the best luck, I recommend going to the store or browsing online often. And if you see something you like, buy it. You can always return it if it doesn’t work out. Because of the nature of the store, things come and go quickly. And odds are if you see something you like and you don’t buy it, it most likely won’t be there the next time you go.

Tap the products above to shop my shelves!

I also love Amazon for shelf styling finds. Because of how many products are available on Amazon, this is another place that it’s best to search at when you know exactly what you’re looking for. Because just browsing the site isn’t really a thing. I have all my styling favorites linked HERE on my storefront!

Tap the links below to shop my shelves!

  1. Faux leather boxes
  2. Wood and marble bookends
  3. Herringbone frame
  4. Black and white frame
  5. Concrete apple
  6. Gold frame set
  7. Book decor set
  8. Wood knot decor
  9. Gold bookends
  10. Ceramic donut vase set
  11. Silver ceramic vases
  12. Bone storage box

Edit your decor:

Once you have your pile of possibilities in full view, begin to edit. I would say the first thing to do would be to separate and lay out all of your decor in categories. That way you know what you have to work with. These are my categories:


Vases & urns

Sculptural/artistic details

Base layers: trays, books, etc

Back layers: art, frames, photos

Style your shelves:

Now that you’ve gathered things for your shelves, let’s move on to shelf styling technical tips, like how to know where to put things. I always work in layers. Layers add depth and dimension in every aspect of design – shelves are no exception. Treat each shelf as its own little art curation that also seamlessly blends with the entire unit. I detail each of the steps below in my Shelf Styling blog post, where I walk you through styling my living room shelves.

  1. Create different heights.
  2. Create visual triangles.
  3. Balance it out.
  4. Add depth.
  5. Fill the holes.
shelf styling tips and tricks

For bookshelves:

If you’re styling a shelf that’ll be primarily for books, start with the books first and then do the decor items. Because this will be a shelf primarily for holding books, you’ll want to make sure all the books you want on the shelf will fit.

Put the least read books on the highest shelves. Style your books vertically and horizontally to add interest and layers.

shelf styling tips and tricks

Shelf styling is a task that can feel overwhelming and can also get expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. These shelf styling tips and tricks will help you curate and style your shelves to perfectly fill the space in your home to make it feel well styled and personal without breaking the bank.

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