Decorate shelves with 13 beautiful ideas

Decorating shelves is a fabulous way to bring personality to your home. Whether they're fixed to the wall or part of a freestanding unit, shelves offer the perfect surface for curating beautiful arrangements to put the finishing touches to any room.More than just practical storage solutions, open shelves are a lovely decorating device, offering space…
A great way to add personality to your home is to decorate shelves. They can be attached to the wall or freestanding units. This allows you to create beautiful arrangements that will add the finishing touch to any room.Open shelves offer more than storage space. They can also be used as a decorative tool, allowing you to express your creativity and create displays that reflect your personality and bring back happy memories.We have a variety of ideas for arranging shelves, including bookshelf ideas and within cabinets. Also, some tips from experts to help you style your shelf.

Decorate shelves

There are many options when it comes to decorating shelves. There are many options for decorating shelves. You can use family photos and cherished possessions as well as decorative antiques and collectibles. These items can also be used to make unique displays that add character and joy to your interior design.Although there are no rules regarding how to style a shelf, there is some important decorating tips and design principles that can transform shelves from cluttered to well-curated. We have compiled some useful advice and tips to help you get started.

1. Begin with books

You might be wondering where to start when styling shelves. Simon Temprell, interior designer at Neptune, says that books are a great starting point because they can be arranged in a traditional way or placed in small stacks with enough space for ornaments to rest on top.After the books have been placed, you can ‘layer in small pieces and decorative objects at various heights. Keep in mind that odd numbers work better than even.

2. Arrange in odd numbers

Interior designers have a golden rule when it comes to placing vases, artworks, and other decorative items on shelves or sideboards. It’s the theory of odd numbers. Emma Deterding (opens in new window): “Use uneven numbers. Group things in threes and fives. Odd numbers add balance and make it easier to see,” says Deterding.Pringle & Pringle’s creative director Sophie Pringle echoes the advice. She says that “living rooms benefit from mixing things up – incorporate art, add plants and use odd numbers of objects grouped together; begin with large pieces and work your way around.”

3. It is all about size

Choose a variety of sizes and heights when choosing objects to decorate your shelves. This will ensure that your display flows according to experts.Emma Deterding says, ‘Be sure you use ornaments and objects of different sizes across your shelving so that there is movement.’ “Grouping larger items with smaller ones will keep them together, and create a flow that your eyes can use to travel.

4. Make a striking display of ceramics

You can display your ceramic vases and decorative objects on open shelving. Instead of hanging a painting on the wall, you can create a focal point in your living room by placing a series shaped vessels on shelves behind your sofa.Simon Temprell says that open shelving is a great way to organize all your different objects and keep it contained, rather than scattered around the room.Wall decor that is interesting and varied should include pieces with sculptural forms and interesting surface textures. He also suggests that you avoid too many small objects and focus on items with presence and form.

5. Limit yourself to one color palette

Simon Temprell advises that it is a good idea to group items according to a color scheme. However, this can make the item look too staged.Simon Temprell says, “You can group by color, or by decorative style, or material, but ensure that the final results look cohesive, and not a different look on every shelf.” Avoid getting too obsessed with symmetry, and don’t be too matchy-matchy. You will have better results if the collection appears organic. The shelves should look like your home and not a showroom.Avril leigh, a Regency ceramicist, created a stunning shelf display using blue and white china. The display is varied and interesting thanks to a mix of styles and shapes, including vintage Spode and Burleigh pieces and contemporary artisan ceramics with abstract patterns.

6. Artwork can help you break it down

A wall-to-wall installation of bespoke shelving is a great way to maximize living room storage. However, too many shelves can make the space look cluttered or busy. A striking piece of artwork can be hung from the shelves to create a visual break. It can also be used to hide cables and electricals.Camilla Clarke, Albion Nord’s creative director, says, “Art doesn’t always have to be hung in the middle of the wall. It can be placed on top of tables, next to sculptures, or on bookshelves or joinery.

7. Decorate alcove shelves

Alcoves can be either built-in or part of existing architecture. They are a great place to install shelving and create decorative displays.Recessed shelving in alcoves allows for the display of cherished objects, artwork, and decorative items without taking up too much space. They can also be used to add interest to hallways and landings that can often be overlooked when it comes down to decor.Julia Dempster says that it is important to consider texture when arranging alcove shelves (opens in new window). The British interior designer says that she prefers to use contrast textures such as glass next to a vase with texture or a wooden vessel. She also limits the number of colors to three. The reflective glass can be placed against a raffia vase or rough pottery vase to make the items stand out.

8. Incorporate plants

According to interior designers, decorating with plants instantly creates a positive feeling and is an essential part of shelf styling. Plants not only have many health benefits, but they can also make your home more beautiful.Plants can add a touch of freshness and softness to shelves, especially ones that are trailing. Simon Temprell explains that succulents are architecturally designed and require very little attention. They can also be used to fill in the spaces where objects feel a bit too rigid.Plants are the ideal addition to open shelves in an open-plan living room. They soften the edges and add color while keeping the space open and airy.

9. Add character to your kitchen

The kitchen is the most used room in the house and can be decorated with art because you will be able appreciate it daily. The casual look of hanging artwork on a shelf gives it a relaxed feel. It can also be changed as often as you like. Try antique paintings for a quirky look.Helen Parker, Devol’s creative director, says that people are more open to their style choices, but less concerned about the durability and quality of their materials. “We’ve seen people use items that were not appropriate for their kitchens ten-years ago, such as oil paintings and antiques.Consider adding wall lights to your kitchen when you tie shelves.

10. Make a memory wall

It’s a wonderful way to create happy memories by decorating shelves with photos of loved ones and meaningful objects, such as items from holidays or heirlooms.It can be difficult to hang a gallery wall. You can also create a gallery wall effect by placing artwork and other possessions on narrow picture shelf. It gives you a lot of freedom over the display, allowing you to style it to your hearts content.

11. It is better to have less than you think

Simon Temprell says don’t overfill your shelves when you are thinking about how to arrange them. In fact, it’s important to think about the empty spaces as well as the filled spaces when designing open shelves, according to Neptune’s interior design manager.A minimalist living space will have a tranquil atmosphere created by grouping simple objects in small groups in monochrome tones. This will allow you to highlight the beauty and simplicity in each piece.

12. Layering is a great idea

Interior designers are unanimous in agreeing that shelves cannot be complete without books. Emma Deterding says that books are an important part of any shelving system. After all, books make a house home. The covers’ different textures, colors and prints will add interest to the eyes. Just make sure you group them by colour for a pleasing rainbow effect.Layering artworks and small objects can add warmth and texture to small spaces or bookshelves.Simon Temprell says, “If space is tight and shelves are already crowded, consider adding artwork to the bookshelves, using the bookshelves like wallpaper.”

13. To set your display apart, use color

It is an easy way to display collectibles above shelves in a glass cabinet. A cabinet’s back can be painted brightly to show off a collection. This is especially true if the pieces are light or have sculptural forms.

What can you decorate shelves with?

There are many options when it comes to decorating shelves. Emma Deterding (creative director at Kelling Designs), says, “Think about your best pottery, vases, and ornaments, as well as personal objects such as prints and photographs.” The shelving should be filled up with memories you cherish.Interior designers consider books a must-have because they give the space a natural look and can be used to create structure. You can display them in a variety of ways. They can be displayed in a traditional manner or they can be stacked horizontally into piles, and used as mini platforms for smaller decorative items.Emma Deterding says that plants and greenery can add life and color to shelving.Sophie Pringle, creative director at Pringle & Pringle, says that no matter what object you choose, ‘when styling shelves ensure to mix heights with depths of objects.She adds that while you can have the most stunning pieces, if your shelves aren’t designed in an attractive way they can lose their impact.

How can you fill empty shelves?

Do you wonder how to fill empty shelves with books? It can be overwhelming to find empty shelves. What number of shelves are there? Are they different heights or widths? This will be your starting point. It will help you get a good idea of what objects, shapes, and sizes you might want to use.Next, gather all accessories, personal memorabilia and objects you want to display. “Try to be creative and include a variety of sizes, shapes, and textures. Books, boxes, vases and flowers can all be included. To add rhythm and interest, make sure you choose a range of textures and sizes.Start by arranging larger items, such as large books or framed artworks. These will help to create the structure of your display. Start by stacking the books on different shelves. Samantha Wilson says that if you already have a tray, this is the right time to use it.Once the larger items are in place, you can layer smaller pieces. Keep in mind that your shelf’s purpose is to display, not just store. So, keep the smaller pieces to a minimum.

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