Homeing 101: How to Style a Shelf

Homeing 101: How to Style a Shelf


You're flipping through your monthly "Home Living" magazine and of course...everything is beautiful. You look around your own house and sigh. My house looks nice, but...not THAT cute. First you look down at the photo, then up at your nearby console shelf, then back down. Comparing comparing comparing and racking your brain over how YOU can get that look too. There's no way, you think. I can't spend a fortune on decorations! 

Fortunately, we have news for you. First of all, your house probably already looks WAY better than you think. After all, everyone's their own worst critic; and second, your home doesn't have to look like the photos! In fact, it shouldn't. The environment you live in should be a reflection of your own unique personality. 

With that being said, here are some guidelines on how to decorate your shelves using your own style. Shelving is important because it is often times what draws the attention of the eye. While a room should be minimalist and simple, a shelf is where all of the action is. Instead of using it for storage, use it has a display piece; an art form. 

 1. Extinguish the clutter! 

This is just a general, over-arching rule that everyone should follow. As described in our article Novel Trends: The Eastern Inspired Home, "The more clutter there is, the more we will feel tied down. Disorganization and clutter creates a stagnation of energy, stopping us from moving forward with freedom and an abundance-mindset."

While collecting clutter is easy, letting it go is even more fun! If you haven't done much of this, try it and you may find that it feels better than ever. Having a minimalist and clean space creates a feeling of ease and peace. In general, it also fosters an atmosphere that is welcoming and attractive to guests! 

2. Take some time to re-evaluate.

If you're interested in this article, it may be because you're thinking about "re-branding" your home, so-to-speak. Look around and ask yourself, do you like how things appear right now? Take into consideration: the room layout, furniture, and current decorations. How do you feel about it? 

Here are some ideas: Maybe you need to spend a few hours re-arranging furniture. Perhaps there is something you want to donate to free up space or maybe you'll want to go on a thrifty shopping spree in search of cheap, quality decorations. Either way, all of these options are little to no cost and will leave you feeling accomplished.

Evaluating the overall look of your space before honing in on the minute shelf details is essential to creating the look you want. This way, instead of expanding outward, you can decorate based on the look of an entire room. 

3. What's a good theme?

Okay, so you're honing it in and you've created the layout that feels right. Now, let's get to the shelf decorating already! 

While mismatching and modge podging is fun, you may want to consider creating an overall theme and feel. It can be the same throughout the house or different from room to room. 

Walk around and envision what you want to see. Say you're in your kitchen...What colors will look best? What kind of feel are you going for? 

Here are a couple of examples:

  • A minimalist room might have mostly white and tan colors with a splash of peach. Throw a couple of plants in there, minimize clutter, and you've got a look! 
  • A Japanese-inspired room could portray a lot of dark earthy tones like deep burgundy reds, forest greens, and mountainous browns. A space like this may be adorned with bamboo furniture pieces and porcelain glassware. 
  • A modern city room may display flat, bold colors such as navy blue, grey, and sunset orange. The decor will be centered around what you'd see in a modern scholar's room - books, metallic sculptures, and maybe a world map print that takes up most of one wall. 

Of course, these are all just examples. Your options are limitless!  

Another money-saving idea is, if you don't want to go out and buy new furniture, you can just re-paint yours! This is a great way to get creative and make anything your mind can imagine. We also highly recommend two awesome furniture up-cyclist in Asheville, NC who do commissioned projects: Vignettes of North Carolina and ReFabulous. They do an amazing job and will make the piece that you desire! 

Go thrifting! 

While this has already been mentioned, let's re-iterate...Go thrifting! It's amazing how inexpensive some things really are. One person's trash is another person's treasure and you may just stumble upon that one cool item you'll be looking for for years. Who knows?

Your personality is the most important.

This is self-explanatory. Your personality is the most important element in decorating a shelf. Forget copying magazine or blog photos and make it your own! Yes, these are excellent for inspiration, but ultimately you'll be more satisfied at the end of the day if you've made something unique to you.

Mixing and matching is a great way to go as well. Gather what you have around the house and put it all in one place. From there, pick out what you like and arrange them in whatever way feels right. There's no wrong way to go here because...guess what? It's not permanent. 

Group and layer.

This is a great specific instruction for shelf decorating. There are many different ways to group and layer decorations on a shelf depending on what you're going for. Here are some examples:

  • Symmetrical: Place two tall and matching items on either end of the surface. Then place a smaller, more eye-catching piece in the center.
  • Centered: Group a collection of tall and short items into the center of the surface. 
  • Off-Set: Stack items onto books on one end and then illuminate with a lamp on the other end.
  • Cascading: Place a picture frame against the wall in the back and then place taller to shorter items cascading from back to front. 

Again, the options are limitless

Keep adjusting & ask your friends.

Maybe you think your shelving work looks good. Spend a day feeling it out. Go about your regular activities while taking the occasional glace at the shelf. Not feeling it after 24 hours? Switch it up!

It can be difficult to do your own decorating since you're probably biased toward your own work! This is where friends come in. Invite a friend over and ask what he or she thinks about it. Constructive criticism is always welcome! 




We hope this has been helpful! Feel free to check out our online selection of decor. We ship any and all items! 

Curated Art Decor


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