Maybe you’re someone blessed/cursed with built-in shelves in your home. Or maybe you can’t throw a book away. Or worse yet, an object hoarder in need of shelving to house your collection of vintage baby doll heads. Either way, making the shelving in your house look pulled together, interesting and stylish is challenging and poorly styled shelves are a problem riddling America. In the book, STYLED, (yes, its been a while but surely some of you haven’t purchased it yet) the secret to styling the shelves (as well as every single surface or piece of furniture in your house) is outlined and the daunting tasks of making your home look pulled together and beautiful is broken down in very manageable ways.
Before you begin there are some universal rules to styling any surface or room in your house that I need to go over: 1.) Have a clear consistent color palette and 2.) Edit out what you don’t need or like. That sounds obvious but it’s not. If your pieces aren’t a.) Functional, b.) Sentimental or c.) Beautiful then please donate them. That’s just a universal rule for the styling of any surface (and one that I expound on in the book).
*Let me add a disclaimer – there are lots of ways to go about this (first off being that just having books can be good enough) but we wanted to show another option or method of styling shelves that could be helpful.
1. Start with your books – maybe it’s only a few books (like this) or a library full of dusty old novels. Stack them both vertically and horizontally and pepper the colors around evenly for a more collected, yet pulled together look. In other words don’t throw all your darker books in one corner and your lighter books in another UNLESS you are doing that color coding thing which is more for a proper bookshelf, less for a collection of pieces and objects like this.
2. Add art – Not all shelving can house art but if it can, DO IT. Incorporating art into your shelves does some really good things: 1.) It adds personality, obviously, as art is one of those purchases that we make based on what we like, not based on function. 2.) It draws your eye to the back of the shelf, thus making it look deeper and bigger and creating a sense of layering. 3.) It takes up a lot of visual real estate that is otherwise hard to fill with smaller objects.
3. Mix it up – This is where you add all your pretty things – your objects, sculptures, vessels, collections and even lighting. Mix up the textures, sizes, styles and tones but stay within that color palette so it doesn’t look like a thrift store.
A lot of people don’t know where to start when decorating their own home, so in the book, STYLED, I break down the smaller concepts, each vignette, each art wall and if you read the book and implement the ideas you will, someday soon, look around and magically (it will seem) your home will have come together to look like the best version of your personality possible.
***All photos by Tessa Neustadt for EHD, check the design/build of my bookshelf, and how to style 1 bookcase four different ways for more shelf styling fun.
**Here’s a secret. We made the red in the rug more pink to work with the shelves. Did you catch the difference? Also we shot this when we shot this bookshelf styling post but saved it for spring what with the happy color palette and all. My shelves are back to normal although I loved seeing them this way.