Decorating Shelves

  • Create a contrasting back: A beautiful way to make your shelves stand out is to change the background of the shelves. You can go dramatic and paint it much darker or lighter, or go subtle and only move a few shades off. Either way, the contrast will draw the eye in.
  • Change the shelf height: For those who think outside the box, a great way to break things up is to make the shelves various heights. If your shelves are adjustable, you can change things up making each a different level. This asymmetry can add appeal and interest to your shelves.
  • Go bigger and keep it simple: Some people feel the need to fill up the entire space. But often all those little knick-knacks and bric-a-brac turn out looking cluttered and collect dust. Not having to dust each little piece is a reward in itself. Go bigger and more simple with larger vases, bigger candles, and simple designs. The simplistic look will avoid clutter and make dusting easier.
  • Use decorative boxes and baskets: If your shelf is not simply decorative, but also used for storing items, it can still be attractive. Keeping items in decorative baskets or boxes can still give you the visual appeal you are looking for, while containing the items you need.
  • Create visual triangles: A well known designer technique that people may not notice at first is visual triangles. When grouping objects together, try to create visual triangles with items. This can be done with colors, shapes, sizes, or items. But the visual triangle will look pleasing without looking staged.
  • Group like with like: Grouping similar items or creating a theme can set a mood for an entire room. A beach theme, with shells, sailboats, lighthouses, or even jars of sand would be a good example. But groups can be of functional use as well, such as serving sets, tea sets, or canisters.
  • Add lighting: Creating an eye catching display can be as easy as adding lighting to the shelving. Backlit items, overhead lighting, or even candlelight can draw focus to certain spots. Running stringed lights along edges or behind can give an overall glow to your shelves.
  • Share your passion: If you have something you are passionate about, share your passion with a collection of items. Anything from movies, books or belt buckles, if you love them, share them. Spotlighting your favorite items can be an excellent way to create a look you love.

Whether you have a few spare shelves or a wall to wall bookcase, you can turn your shelves into a beautiful display. Collecting items from around your home, hunting for the perfect piece at a thrift or antique store, or searching online can be a thrill when you find the right items for your ideas. Allow your personality to shine through with a look that makes your house your home.