Inspiring Home Décor Ideas

6 Ways to Decorate Shelves Around Your Home

Shelves are more than just storage areas. They can be decorative spaces that are perfect for showcasing your favorite things. In this article, Balsam Hill offers useful decorating tips to help you make the most out of your open shelving.

Photo courtesy of Nest of Posies

What objects would display well on your shelf? How should you arrange them? Find out as we discuss the answers below and feature shelves styled beautifully by our blogger partners.

Display Similar Items Together

A single theme ties the look of the shelf and its contents (Photo courtesy of The Yellow Cape Cod)

Objects of the same theme are especially pleasing to the eye when arranged in rows on shelves. China dishes of a similar make and color are a common shelf display, but you can also showcase your collection of favorite items.

“Layer” Your Shelves

Lines formed by stacked items make this display visually interesting (Photo courtesy of Liz Marie Blog)

Stacking is a practical way to maximize space and create “layers” in your decorating. When stacked on top of each other, identical objects like plates and bowls create patterns of recurring lines that add a strong visual element to your shelf. You can stack different items but limit to three types of objects to keep the display from appearing too busy.

Add Florals and Greenery

These artificial flowers adds elegance to this reclaimed shelving (Photo courtesy of Nest of Posies)

Potted plants or vases of flowers can make any shelf look graceful and lively. Lush petals and leaves will add texture and color while providing strong focal points. Arrange your plants on lower tiers where they can be easily watered or decorate with artificial greenery for year-round freshness.

Decorate Tiers Differently

Creating contrast in every tier makes the overall display more dynamic (Photo courtesy of The Wicker House)

Create contrast between shelves by decorating each level differently. If the top shelf has many items on display, try placing fewer objects on the tier below. Vary the color or sizes of the objects displayed on shelves, and mix up the themes and combinations across tiers to keep things interesting.

Less is More

Allotting space between items makes your shelf look uncluttered (Photo courtesy of Finding Silver Pennies)

Let your shelves “breathe” by providing ample spacing between items.  Crowding your shelves makes them look busy – this is why museum curators create white or neutral spaces in between paintings so each piece of art can be appreciated individually.

Add a Personal Touch

A pressed and framed maple leaf taken from a hike creates the focal point for this shelf (Photo courtesy of Not Just A Housewife)

Include items that are significant to you when decorating your shelves. These can be objects in your favorite color, a framed family photo, or something you have made yourself. This often becomes the focal point of your shelf, and will likely invite conversation from guests.

Shelves are great in that they can be easily redecorated, so don’t hesitate to experiment. We hope you found our tips helpful in getting your decorating started. For more top-tier decorative items, visit today.

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