decorate with: shelves



Follow Mr. Kate’s board STYLIN’ SHELVES on Pinterest.

Bara Asks: Hi Mr.Kate, can you share some tricks on how to decorate a bigger shelf which is one of the major focus points in the room?

My Answer: Hi Bara! Styling shelves is one of my favorite things to do in a room. Shelving is where you can place your fun odds and ends and really give the room some personality.  A large shelf thats the center of attention is no different.  It needs to have a clean balance of functionality and purpose.  With one large shelf you can place a statement piece of art surrounded by some large decorative vases, stacks of books, potted plants, bronze/copper/ceramic animals or objects, etc. The possibilities are endless!  The main thing to remember is not to overdo it.  Over styled or cramped shelves look messy and can hurt a room.  Simplicity and balance is key!  Take a look at this board above to see some successfully styled rooms and peep my checklist below as a cheat sheet to make your shelf look its best.

Hold your mouse curser over the images on the board to see my captions.

For more shelf styling inspo, check out my post on ‘Floating Shelves‘.

Tips on Styling a Shelf:

  1. If the shelf is solo, leave enough room to prop a nice large piece of art, photograph or sculpture to be your main focal point.
  2. Decorate around that focal point with shorter/smaller items in a variety of textures and materials. Ex: Pretty books, potted plant, candles, smaller picture frames, vases or pretty glass jugs, found objects like crystals or pieces of driftwood, etc.
  3. If you’d rather a more minimal look or want to style multiple frames or pieces of artwork on a shelf, try placing them evenly apart from each other or layering them to slightly overlap.
  4. Think about lighting for your shelf. Install a sconce above or nearby to light the contents of your shelf or experiment with rope lights or battery operated lights placed in clear glass (like I did in this living room design) to bring more life to your shelf and let it shine (literally)!
  5. Mix and match – play with your shelf layout, snap a photo of it on your phone for reference and then try another set up with the same items until you find the perfect mix. Be fluid and don’t judge your instincts!


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