A blog from Visual Jill, East Bay Interior Design

A blog from Visual Jill, East Bay Interior Design

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quick Tips for Styling Shelves

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to look at empty shelves or a bare mantel. How do you arrange your books, vases, and other stuff without making it look like a thrift store?

Well, fret no more. Here are some secrets to styling that will make your shelves look ready for a magazine shoot!
Play with shapes and scale. In this vignette, we mixed round objects (the vase, the bowl and the lemons) with square (the mirror and the books).
Use different textures. This vignette uses finished and raw wood, grass, and textured ceramics. What makes it work so well? The three vertical pieces on the left are different materials but similar shapes, and are offset by the small stack of books next to them. We also incorporated the artwork on the wall as part of the overall styling.

Pay attention to scale. Don't use all big, or all small, pieces. Here we used a bold round vase with tall branches on the left, and a lower composition of books and basket on the right. The horizontal artwork acts as a "bridge" that joins the two.

Put your books in different directions. Vertical, horizontal, spines in, spines out. Just make sure the books in the stacks are similar sizes. And leave "white space" between and around the books -- don't pack the shelves completely full.

Here are a few more tried-and-true styling rules to remember:
- In general, pieces look best grouped in odd numbers (one or three) vs. even numbers (two or four).
- Avoid "matching" the two sides of a mantel. For example, don't put one green vase on the left corner and a matching green vase on the right corner. It will look better if you switch out one of the vases for a live plant or a similar-scale basket.
- Less is more. Just because you have more room for books or accessories doesn't mean you should add them! Leave some breathing room for your objects so your eye has somewhere to rest when taking it all in.


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