How to spruce up your shelving
Emma Jane Palin,-Interiors Writer

Learn how to create moments of delight with these expert tips on styling your shelving

When it comes to bringing new life to your home, rearranging your shelving is an instant win. Not only can it give your rooms an update and surround you with the things that you love, but it can also acting as a calming task for the weekend.

Think of the decor as you would the accessories for an outfit, rotating them depending on your mood. Follow our expert guide to shelving brilliance below.

How to spruce up your shelving
How to spruce up your shelving

Choosing a loose colour palette for your shelves will help to keep you on track when deciding which objects to display. Think about hues that will complement your existing space, but also add visual interest. For example, a pop of primary colours can look fantastic set against a more neutral backdrop. Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone here – this area of your home is one of the easiest to experiment with.

Style items in odd numbers

The rule of three is an important guideline in interior design, and one that is easily applied to styling shelves. When arranging items, all you need to do is group them in odd numbers, ideally experimenting with different heights and materials. Why? Our brain finds groups of odd numbers more appealing and memorable. It’s a simple tip, but one that will help to achieve a dynamic aesthetic with lots of interesting vignettes for the eye to linger on.

Mix materials and play with height

Using the same materials in your setup will leave your shelving looking flat. Try mixing up glass, ceramics, wood – anything that will add a new texture. Using the rule of three as above, style these different materials in odd-numbered groups, playing around until they look balanced. Utilising objects that vary in height will also help to create a bigger impact. A tall vase, plant, or artwork will draw the eyes up, creating balance and filling any empty voids. Don’t forget to regularly step back from your shelving – a quick assessment will help you to check that everything looks balanced and allow you to move things around at different stages.

Make use of books and magazines

While books and magazines are a great indicator of personality and interest, they’re also ideal for creating layers and adding that all important height. Bonus points if they also add colour or unique typography. Layer the books horizontally if you want to create something a little more refined, or use bookends if you’re actually planning to use the shelf as storage. For titles that are a little less visually appealing, place them with the spine inwards, allowing the neutral pages to do the talking instead.

Focus on statement objects

Want to create a ‘wow’ moment with your shelves? Look for statement objects that will immediately bring the eye in. Colourful accent lighting, metallic decor and interesting sculptures will help to establish talking points in your home. For those with a love of art, leaning prints is an elegant alternative way of displaying artwork, and will also allow you to experiment more freely with the overall aesthetic of your shelving.

Go green

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘bring the outside in’ before, but yes, adding greenery to your interior can really help with your wellbeing. Nothing adds more life to your setup than a little flora and fauna. 

Before you grow an indoor conservatory, think about plants that won’t take over your shelving. Look for varieties with visual appeal such as smaller succulents in patterned pots, or trailing options that you can manipulate to grow around your shelves. Fresh blooms are always ideal for popping into vases, especially as small posies, but you could also try this season’s trend for dried flowers if you want something a little more fuss-free.

Make it personal

Our final tip is by far the most important. Your home should reflect you and your own story. Bringing your personality to your shelving will create a more emotive response both for you and for any guests. Remind yourself of times gone by and the people you love by displaying treasures from your travels, photographs of friends and family in beautiful photo frames, and anything else that is reflective of your achievements. If the items on your shelves speak to you and remind you of your favourite memories, they’re sure to bring a smile to your face on a daily basis.

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