DecorateHome Management

Decorating Shelves

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If you don't know where to start when decorating your shelves, check out these ideas. These simple decor tips will work for any space!

When we moved into our home, the previous owners left behind a tall corner shelf. I’m so glad they did because when we toured the home, I secretly wished it was staying. 🙂

It used to have a red painted background that you can see in my Christmas Home Tour, but I recently painted it cream because I am changing up the decorations in my dining room.

Decorating a tall bookshelf like mine can be a bit intimidating.

How are you suppose to fill up all of those shelves and make sure it doesn’t look like a mess?

Here are some things that I kept in mind while decorating. (You can also see the tips on video.)


1. Group Items in Odd Numbers

I believe it is easiest to create a balanced look when you group your items in odd numbers like 3 or 5. I chose to stick with three items on each shelf.

The taller objects look best in the center and then the shorter items on either side help balance the look. I did this with the top shelf by putting the lantern in the middle and adding the metal bin to one side and the stack of books to the other side.

Use Groups of 3 to decorate shelves.

2. Repeat Color

To give the shelves a cohesive look, pick 1-3 colors to repeat throughout all of the shelves while keeping the other items neutral. I scattered black items on each shelf and then added in some greens and blues. Even the pictures have green and blue in them.

Use Similar Colors to Create a Cohesive Look When Decorating Shelves.

3. Use Various Heights

Resit the urge to fill up every space on the shelves with a bunch of little knick-knacks. This makes the shelves look cluttered and busy. Instead, use several bigger pieces throughout the shelves and pair them with a couple of smaller items.

I varied the height on each shelf, but I particularly like this one. The greenery is tall and full while the short black frame keeps the shelf grounded.

Decorate Shelves Using Opposites

4. Incorporate Opposites

One of my favorite house decorating books is The Nesting Place* by Myquillin Smith. She is known for using lots of different textures and opposites in her home, and that is one of her decorating tricks that she suggested in her book.

For my shelf I included a modern silver frame next to an old mason jar. My fluffy coffee filter wreath is a much different texture compared to the smooth books and frame in front of it. I also used a lot of black and white. The contrast of the opposite items gives the shelf some dimension and interest.

Use Different Textures When Decorating.

5. Rearrange and Rearrange Again

Honestly, I don’t know how many times I rearranged the shelves before finally settling on this look! It took me a few weeks until I got to the point where it felt right. It may not take you weeks, but try several different pieces in different ways to find what works.

My favorite way to do this is by shopping my house. Simply, walk around your home and look for pieces that you could use. Some tried and true decor elements for bookshelves are books, vases, mason jars, pitchers, picture frames, buckets, candle holders, and decorative knick-knacks.

Decorating a Corner Shelf

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Decorate With What You Have

Simple Fall Decor

Christmas Home Tour










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