Designer Favs: Open Shelf Styling Ideas

You don’t have to be a designer to make the open shelves in your home or office look polished. While we contend that styling shelves is definitely more art than science, with a few helpful hints, the floating shelves and bookcases in your home will look like they’ve come straight out of a magazine. Che Bella Interiors Design Assistant, Stephanie Osei, has ideas to help you pull it off. It’s time to style those shelves!

Find Your Style

To get the shelving party started, pick a style or theme for your display that will work with your space. Let existing items that will be included in the grouping guide your direction. Steph encourages, “collect them together in one place and see what color palette and theme emerges. If the display focuses on family photos, consider the types of frames and the colors within the photos. Are they of wintry scenes, or taken on the beach at sunrise?”

The theme that surfaces will give you a jumping off point. Depending on the mood and aesthetic you want to bring into the space, you may have to search out additional pieces to complement your existing ones. Let your décor hunt begin!

Shelf Styling Tip #1: Find Your Style

Leave Open Space

Here’s a sneaky little secret, you don’t need to fill every square inch of a shelf. Having some ‘negative space’ (designer lingo for ‘empty space’) helps break things up so that your shelves or bookcases aren’t too heavy on the eyes. Negative spacing allows breathing room for all the objects on the shelf. Over time, and as you get the hang of ‘styling,’ you’ll be able to change out displays seasonally and add to them when you bring new treasures into your home!

Shelf Styling Tip #2: Leave Open Space

Use Odd Numbered Groupings

At some point, you’ve likely heard about the rule of three in design, the rule that suggests that groupings of three elements and odd-numbered groupings as a whole are more pleasing to the eye. Steph leans into this concept and says, “I find it helpful when I can group items in sets of three or five as a starting point. This creates visual balance and gives the illusion of symmetry even if the group on each shelf might vary in height, shape, and color.” Think of adding elements in odd-numbered groups when styling your shelving.

Shelf Styling Tip #3: Use Odd Groupings

Vary the Height and Repeat Colors and Elements

Varying height is the secret sauce of styling your shelving. “When it comes to height, try adding a piece like a tall, narrow-seeded glass vase next to a short and wide stack of vintage books,” Steph suggests. “The variety will create visual interest and a harmonious flow to your shelving.” Note that décor elements of every ilk can help you achieve variety – plants, artwork, rocks, driftwood, and more!

“For continuity and to stretch your design budget, consider repeating a color throughout your ensemble and utilizing multiple pieces of a singular element.”  Use similar colors from end to end on a single shelf as well as from the top to bottom of the shelving unit. Place a set of similar items on one shelf and then place the matched element on another shelf diagonally across. Use this same philosophy vertically. Consider using decorative boxes and seasonal elements such as faux grass arrangements or pine-forward décor depending on the season. You’ll be amazed at how this technique brings your shelving look together.

Shelf Styling Tip #4: Repeat color and play with height

Take the Leap

You’ve read the tips, you’ve gathered your items, now it’s time to take the leap. It will likely take some trial and error and rearranging of shelves using our helpful guidelines to get it ‘just so.’ Keep the faith and stay the course!

When you’re thinking of design, whether it be of a single bookshelf or that of an entire room in your home, keep your eye on the Twin Cities Che Bella Interiors Design + Remodeling team for inspiration. We take pride in offering uncompromised interior design services, including design and space planning, and materials selection.  Our award-winning remodeling projects include bathrooms, kitchens, home offices,  lower-level remodels  and more. And, we offer virtual interior design services to help bring the vision of a smaller scale project to life. Let’s make your home beautifully yours together!

Leave a Reply

contact us