Design Project: Decorating Shelves

Do you have shelves in you home that you’ve tried to decorate but just wonder if they could look better? There is good news, you can love your shelves!


Shelves can be such a conundrum when it comes to decorating.  How many things on each shelf?  What sizes, colors, shapes?  You may ask, “How come my shelves just look messy?  Or cluttered?”

Shelves can look awesome or not so awesome depending on how they are put together and I hope to give you a little help on this topic today, although it might take a little work on your part too (I’ll explain at the bottom of the post).

I had fun this week taking some new shelfies!  (Sorry, couldn’t resist).  My friend just moved into a new house and had custom shelves built around a beautiful new fireplace. She asked if I would come over and help her style them.  She didn’t have to ask twice!


Shelf Redesign


IMG_2559Now that you’ve seen the overview, here is how it all came together.

My friend and I met at Hobby Lobbby which is my favorite one-stop shop for all accessory type items.  We piled a LOT in my friend’s cart–more than we would need, but enough to have some different options to work with.  We picked out items she loved, items that had meaning (like the infinity rings made of wood) and items that worked together with material, color and style.  When you look at your cart full of items, they should all look good together piled in the cart!  If something stands out or looks very different from everything else, it’s probably not going to look good on the shelf.

We brought everything home, unwrapped it all and laid it on the floor.  My friend had already purchased a few things prior to this shopping trip so my hope was to use as much of that as possible and add in some new items.


Use existing items that you love and combine them with some new accessories that work well with what you already have (similar color, style, material).

After unpacking I started by placing items on shelves in groups of 3 or 5.  Shelves of this caliber can take a few hours–it is not a quick process!  It is a system of placing, stepping back and looking at the whole, shifting here and there, stepping back again, etc. until I have pulled together a look that feels calm, interesting and balanced.

Take your time, try different combinations, and if something doesn’t feel right, keep going. Here are several tips to help you in this process:

Shelf Redesign 1.6

Decorating Shelves


Shelf Redesign

Pair shelves with a lot of items with a -less busy- shelf

Notice below how we pulled the wood tones through both sides of the shelving, but also allowed a bit of whimsy with the blue glass (we made sure to have blue accents on the right side also).

Shelf Redesign

Shelf Redesign 11

Shelf Redesign

Mix materials--like metallic and wood!

So, hopefully you have some new shelf-spiration!

Remember at the beginning of this post I said you might have to do a little work to get the shelves you want?  Well, I’m talking about doing a little research on Pinterest or Houzz or just on Google.  Search images of shelf decor and start browsing.  Pick out the pictures that most reflect what you love and then be a copy-cat.  Look for inspiration and then go shopping–use the pictures to help you design your own shelves.

Here are a few I pulled off of Pinterest to get you started.



Have fun decorating and if you are just too overwhelmed to think about doing this yourself seek out a designer to help you.  And I can help too!  If you go under my design services tab you will see I provide local and remote “Skype” design services.

Until next week!



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