Shelf Styling Secrets: 5 Tips for Styling Open Shelves


Open shelving can be a daunting design dilemma (see what I did there haha!). I get it. It can be overwhelming.. and often times when you’re styling shelves, they need a lot more accessories than you expect. With years of shelf styling under my belt, I have a few tried and true tips that make shelf styling a breeze.

1: Place your largest items first.

A good way to get a head start on your shelf styling is to start by placing all of your biggest items first. These are your “anchor” pieces and will start to set the tone for the entire shelf. Be sure to place them evenly throughout all the shelves so that everything feels balanced.

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2: Add books (But think outside the box!)

A bookshelf isn’t a bookshelf without… you guessed it, books! Did you know that there’s a tonne of different ways you can use books in your styling? Be creative! You can face the spines inwards, outwards, cover facing forward. You can leave the book nonchalantly opened like an accordion. You can play with colour, the age of the book, book titles. Books are SO much fun and a staple in any shelf styling.

3: Consider Texture + Colour.

Texture and colour is so so important in all aspects of design, but especially in open shelving. It’s important to have variety to keep the eye moving. Try playing with different metals and sheens. Woven and natural elements like woods and baskets. Add a dash of vintage for some personality and soul. You can also incorporate newer, shiny items, or glass even! Variety is the spice of life, make it interesting!

4: Leave breathing room.

Let your vignettes breathe! White space can be GOOD. Before I even tackle any shelf I’ll completely clear it first. It’s important to let specific items shine and “too much” on any shelves will lessen the overall impact.

5: Plants. Always, plants.

Last but not least, plants. Plants are one of my FAV ways to add texture, depth, dimension and life to a space! Play with varying heights, textures, colours.

Happy Shelf Styling!

Becky Freeman