Let’s talk shelfies! I usually am not one to partake in sharing close-ups of my shelves. In fact, I’m usually not one to have many styled shelves in my home in general.
Because honestly, shelves have always been tough for me. I usually stuff them full of trinkets and tchotchkes that serve no purpose, and when items serve no true purpose for me, they just start to feel like clutter.
I had always been in a mindset that I needed to go out and gather things FOR my shelves. To shop in order to fill the shelves. When the reality of it was that I needed to intentionally decorate my shelves to be full of items I love. Items that serve a purpose.
I have been on such a push lately to decorate with intention. To make sure that anything I add to my home serves me and my family. That we love it, and that it’s not just there to fill space.
So because of my mindset around shelves, I had just chosen to stay away from them instead. That is until I recently received a beautiful new shelf I was more than excited to style.
So to help myself, and to help anyone else who may be struggling to style a shelf with intention and function, I put together 4 simple steps to follow while styling a shelf so that it can serve you!
HOW TO STYLE A SHELF WITH INTENTION IN 4 SIMPLE STEPS
The first step is to shop, but not how you might think…
STEP 1: SHOP YOUR HOME
That’s right – shop your home! Walk around your house and search for items you already have and love that might look nice on your shelf.
Pull from items that would not only make sense on your new shelf but items that have maybe been in the same place for quite some time.
Gather your items together, and think about adding functional items to your shelf as well.
By shopping your home and changing the location of items you have and love, you’re almost making them new again and breathing new life into them! You’ll be amazing at how much more you notice and appreciate them.
STEP 2: STYLE WITH INTENTION AND FUNCTION
This can be the tough part! With every item you place on your shelves, first question whether or not you love it and whether or not it serves a purpose.
Now hear me out — if this isn’t your thing and you’re all about the tchotchkes, add all the tchotchkes! But for me, it’s so important that the items I display in my home are ones that tell a story and add a deeper meaning.
For this example, I chose items I have thrifted such as old books and bottles which I have a strange obsession for as well as an old can I used as a vase to hold fall florals.
You could also choose pictures, signs, trinkets, plants, baskets… whatever YOU’D like!
Also, depending on where your shelf it located, think of function! For example, on our bathroom shelves, I have towels displayed on them. In our laundry room, I have a shelf that contains jars of clothespins and laundry pods. Functional can be beautiful if you style it!
Make sure your items vary in size and height and fall into a similar color scheme, then begin adding the items to your shelf and playing around with placement.
Which leads me to step 3…
STEP 3: THINK SPACING, BALANCE, AND COLOR
My goals with styling shelves are usually flow, balance, and space. I never like to over-decorate shelves, as it leads to that cluttered feeling that tends to make me anxious!
I love to start by adding my largest items to the shelves first, making sure to counterbalance. For example, I’ll add one of the largest items on the top left shelf and the second largest item on the bottom right shelf.
On smaller shelves, I usually like to play a rule of 3s or rule of 5s game, meaning I use either 3 or 5 items per shelf. Having an odd number of items allows you to position them in a way that draws in the eye. Think about positioning 3 bottles on a shelf. You’d likely create a triangle of sorts, allowing the eye to find the front bottle first, which would pull it in to find the back 2 bottles.
I also love to play around with height and color to take the eyes on a journey throughout the shelf! I know it sounds silly, but your eyes truly follow a natural path that you can create with styling!
By using height and color, you’re able to draw the eye in to focus on one item first, then pull it downward and allow it to zig-zag throughout your entire shelving unit with ease and flow. Your goals should be to make it easy from start to finish instead of creating breaks in the flow.
This shelf in the picture, for example, flows from top left to bottom right in a zig-zag pattern! You start with the sign at the top, are pulled down by that small succulent, then hop over to the height of the bottles, to the towels, to the can of florals, and finish at the towel flowing off the shelf on the bottom left.
If you focus on balance with size and color, you can usually achieve flow with ease!
STEP 4: YOU DO YOU!
This step is the most important one – YOU DO YOU! This is how I like to decorate my shelves, but be sure you decorate your shelves to serve your wants and needs!
If you struggle with clutter like I do and dislike items that serve little to no purpose, then try out this method! If you love collecting all the trinkets and goodies, display them!
Simply focus on what you love. What you’d like to show off and display. And go from there. For me – it’s functional items and items I truly love. For you, items you truly love might look way different, and that’s totally fine!
TO WRAP IT UP
Regardless, I do encourage you to decorate with items you love so you always see them on your shelves and appreciate their presence in your home.
After all, creating a home is all about creating spaces that serve you and your family. If you love the items and spaces in your home, they’ll serve you in a bigger way!
I’d love to hear one key takeaway you learned from this how-to! Share it with me in the comments!