Home Decorating How To: Shelfie Edition

How To: Shelfie Edition

We break down how to arrange your bookcases for maximum visual impact.

To the bookshelf-starved bibliophile, styling your shelves may sound like an oxymoron: The real question is where else you can stash the overflow books? But for many people, shelf styling becomes a pressing question when they move into a home with generous built-ins–and not enough books to fill them. Suddenly, those half-empty shelves are a daunting blank canvas that can make a room feel unfinished. To help you fill your shelf space in style, we’ve rounded up six smart ideas for how to style your shelves. With just a few styling tips your shelves will be shelfie-worthy in no time!

Let Your
Built-Ins Breathe

If your living room is graced with built-ins, resist the temptation to fill them with your entire library. While a solid wall of books is a delight to explore, it can be visually heavy in your main living and entertaining space. Instead save those wall-to-wall books for a study or den. Instead, pare down your collection to a sprinkling of your favorite tomes and mix in art and objets to add interest to your arrangement.

Let Your
Built-Ins Breathe

If your living room is graced with built-ins, resist the temptation to fill them with your entire library. While a solid wall of books is a delight to explore, it can be visually heavy in your main living and entertaining space. Instead save those wall-to-wall books for a study or den. Instead, pare down your collection to a sprinkling of your favorite tomes and mix in art and objets to add interest to your arrangement.

Put Objects
On Display

@makingprettyspaces
In a modern home, it’s rare to find a traditional china cabinet, so it’s a smart idea to use empty shelves to store your favorite vases and platters. In this room by @makingprettyspaces, floating shelves hold a collection of vases, art, and a few coffee table books. Charming cachepots with houseplants bring the whole tableaux to life.

Create a
Gallery Display

Shallow shelves happen to make a wonderful place to display your art—without the commitment of permanent arrangement! To further up the style quotient, limit what you display to a single theme, like this grouping of butterflies, birds, and floral and botanical prints. Keep the arrangement loose, with a few overlapping frames for a truly salon-style effect.

Create a
Gallery Display

Shallow shelves happen to make a wonderful place to display your art—without the commitment of permanent arrangement! To further up the style quotient, limit what you display to a single theme, like this grouping of butterflies, birds, and floral and botanical prints. Keep the arrangement loose, with a few overlapping frames for a truly salon-style effect.

Camouflage
Utility Shelves

@creekwoodhill
Even humble track shelves can look chic with the right styling, as Lea from @creekwoodhill proves. Lea wisely painted her walls white, so the track hardware and shelves disappear (a mostly white rug enhances the white-out effect). Then she created strong visual blocks to draw the eye away from the hardware by using a block of baskets up top, a full row of books, and an airy row of attractive objects.

Fake a
View

If you’ve got shelves to fill in a humdrum space, why not fake a fantastic view? A trio of coastal-inspired canvas prints offers a calming “view” on a windowless wall. Any nature-themed art will give you the same effect, and you can enhance the outdoor vibes with house plants (real or fabulous faux) a vase of flowers, and even some garden books.

Fake a
View

If you’ve got shelves to fill in a humdrum space, why not fake a fantastic view? A trio of coastal-inspired canvas prints offers a calming “view” on a windowless wall. Any nature-themed art will give you the same effect, and you can enhance the outdoor vibes with house plants (real or fabulous faux) a vase of flowers, and even some garden books.

Dial Up
the Texture

@jointhebandd
For an organic modern look, play up textures as you style your shelf. In this living room by Sara Malek Barney of @jointhebandd natural wood shelves and a nearby limewashed fireplace give the shelves a base layer of texture, but Sara dialed up the visual interest with fern fronds, gnarled found wood, colorful books, and a touch of brass–a true medley of textures to delight the eye!

Everything You Need to Create Your Perfect Shelfie:

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