Top 10 Tips for Shelf Styling

Here we are, the first Top 10 on my blog!

You may have heard the term “Shelfie” going around and wonder to yourself, what on Earth is a shelfie? It’s essentially shelf styling, a well presented display of your favourite things for decorative purposes.

Shelf styling can be a budget friendly way of making a room feel chic and modern, while also being very personal, telling your own story. I also love that it’s a great opportunity to showcase your favourite items, books and treasures for all to see.

It’s also an easy way to keep things fresh and feeling different and new as you can change it up regularly.

Now, everyone’s “shelfie” will be different. Mine for example is all about the monochrome with flashes of greenery. Which is basically what the rest of my house looks like if I’m honest!

First off, however, here are some top suggested items to gather to get you started:

  • Books
  • Ornaments
  • Plants
  • Antique and vintage pieces
  • Framed artwork/typography
  • Candles
  • Vases

So without further ado, I give you my top 10 tips to shelf styling!

Top Ten Tips

#1 The Colour Theme

The colour scheme is a good place to start. Clearly for me I’m into the black and white thing. I’ve even spray painted black bargain pieces I’ve come across so it would match my shelves. I’d ensure the colour theme matches the rest of the room the shelves will be featured in if you’ve already decided on that. If not, take a look at Pinterest for example for some inspiration, and perhaps it can kick start the new theme.

You could also have a colour theme for each shelf which would look brilliant if you’re after a colour pop!

#2 The Rule of Three

Generally speaking, odd numbers are more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than even numbers, unless it is symmetrical. This also applies to shelf styling.

You’ll notice above that each shelf has three ‘sections’, and some things are also grouped into threes. It’s a gut feel, but I’ve tried it and trust me it works so much better! This hard and fast rule is also great to apply in other areas of interior styling too.

#3 Books as an Anchor

Books are a great place to start, stacking them horizontally, vertically, a combination of both is a great way to space out the shelf decor. It is also a great way to add height to ornaments. Even using the colours of the books can help with the shelf styling. Perhaps try grouping similar colours together, or do what I’ve done and limit what colour books you use on your shelves, and hide the rest in neat baskets on the bottom shelves. (In my case, black baskets of course!)

#4 The Object Theme

Using similar objects spaced out across different shelves can help it feel coherent. If you’re into photography perhaps place cameras or lenses etc on a couple of shelves. Or if you prefer a boho theme, plates, vases and natural sculptures could equally work. Of course when you use that with the Rule of Three, you’re onto a winner!

#5 Focal Point

Each shelf should have a focal point to stand out. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the focal point needs to be in the middle of the shelf, you’ll know where it feels right.
Personally I look at each shelf as a part of a story, and ensure that every piece on that shelf compliments each other. For example, the shelf above has a Parisian theme (if that wasn’t already obvious!). That’s normally what helps guide the focal point on each shelf.

#6 Different Heights and Sizes

One of the most important things to take away from this top ten, is this one. (Not sure why it’s number six on my list.. in no particular order!) Having things at different heights and sizes adds intrigue and creates a larger visual impact.
You can do this by using taller and bigger objects such as tall vases, big plants, prints and art work. The other option is stacking books horizontally to then act as a platform for showing off your favourite items. You’ll see that’s one of the main methods I’ve used!

#7 Add Greenery

Whether it’s real or faux, adding some plants can really help fill up some of the empty negative spaces. It’s an easy way of adding depth, size and height to your shelving. This can be on the shelves themselves, or even on top! In case you can’t tell, I’m a big, big fan of this one!

#8 Don’t Go Overboard

Take your time with it. Too much it can look messy and tacky. There’s quite a nack to make a cluttered shelf look good, and that’s generally if you’ve mastered the maximalist look! Plus I also think of how much effort would then go into the dusting. *shivers*. If you take your time on the styling, and are more picky on the objects that get to be featured, you’re well on your way. Add that to step #9…

#9 Take a Step Back

Make sure throughout the process of styling your shelves, you keep taking a step back to review how it looks and whether it feels right. Sometimes you notice things aren’t quite balanced.

#10 Have Fun With It

After all, this is about showcasing you and your personality, your own story. Mix it up a bit, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be right for you!

This is my overall look, I love how it’s such a statement when you walk in the room!

Budget Tips

As I’m all about doing these interior ideas on a budget, I also have some top tips on how to get this style nailed, without breaking the bank!

  • Spray paint bargain finds that aren’t the right colour, whether it’s a charity shop find or something shop bought.
  • Free printables found online are great, just get a cheap frame from Ikea or charity shops.
  • Ebay: a lot of my vintage finds were bought on eBay for a couple of quid rather than paying over the odds in antique shops. (Though I’ve also found brilliant bargains there too!) Just do your research.
  • Second hand books: I found loads of books in charity shops for literally pence. I also purchased some from eBay and Amazon Marketplace rather than buying new. This is also better for the environment as they would sadly otherwise be binned!
  • Use free samples of wallpaper a frame them for a pop of colour/pattern.
  • DIY Ornaments.
  • Empty bottles such as gin and wine. You can always paint these too to match the colour theme.

If you have a go, make sure you’re following me on Instagram @budgethomeinteriordesign and you share with me using #thisbudgethome, I’d love to see your creations! Show me your #shelfie!

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