How to Decorate Shelves

Hey, my name is Frances Acevedo and I am an interior designer just starting out my career. I love all that is design, color, and pattern. Mixing different styles when designing is one of my fortes and I just want to showcase some helpful tips to make your home look its best.

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How to style shelves:

Have you ever struggled trying to figure out how to decorate shelves in your home? You worry they might look too cluttered, too empty, or with no personality. Well, I’ve taken the time to show you a few key points to think about if you want your shelves to look their best.


First, start with an empty shelf. Gather items that have some meaning to you and reflect your personality. For example, I love traveling, pets, candles, and design. These words describe things my husband and I love; always remember to take into consideration everyone in the household when decorating your home. You want it to be a reflection of everybody that uses the space.


The first piece should be something that serves as an anchor point. This can be the biggest piece. Height is an important element when decorating and designing any space.  In this case, I chose an art print my husband got for me for my birthday last year. I love how it’s so simple, yet each country is represented by different patterns and colors.


Make sure to keep things balanced by either adding another element of height or a bold color on the opposite side. This makes it pleasing to the eye. I chose these candles not only for their height, but I wanted to bring in some wood to add some warmth.


Even though the height is there, it is not completely balanced due to the size of the art.  By adding a metal jacks it completes the vignette; this adds interest and an unexpected sheen that draws attention to the right side creating harmony between all of the elements on the shelf. Try mixing different finishes, textures and/or patterns.

Another component that helps create that pleasant visual impact is having an odd number of items. You might ask, why odd numbers instead of even? Aren’t even numbers more appealing to the eye? While even numbers create symmetry which is very pleasing to the eye, odd numbers create more interest. If you’re looking to stay away from dullness, try using odd numbers.


Here is another example of how to style a shelf. This time I started out with the biggest piece in the middle and worked my way out.  Layering is a great way to bring more depth in the way you showcase your items. This means placing one element in front of the other. You can see this in the image above, where I placed a portrait in the back, a picture frame and candle holder in front. This makes three items into one component altogether.

Remember to always have fun when styling your shelves. It is a way of showcasing things you love in a creative way, so don’t be afraid of mixing colors and textures. Keep in mind these are just a few ways to do it, as long as you have an anchor point, balance, height and harmony you should be successful making your shelves look great.


Frances Acevedo

Interior Designer

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