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Shelf Styling Tips

Do you have shelves in your home that sit empty, or minimally designed, because you have no idea what to do?

Today's post is just for you! We just wrapped our install for our Hermosa project, and featured the kitchen and breakfast nook a few weeks ago. This built in storage and shelving is right around the corner in their living room, and we're going to walk through our process for adding decor, step by step! Thank you to Tara for humoring me and styling this together!

Here's our blank slate - does this look similar to yours?

We always start with artwork or frames as the first layer. We chose two complementary landscapes to use across from each other, and another botanical print one level above the first two pieces. We lean them off center on their shelf because we will be adding more items as we go, and the vignette will eventually look more dynamic that way.

Vessels are a great next step - this is a surefire way to bring in varying textures and heights. Here we brought in a woven basket, a matte finished geometric vase that has great height, and a shiny finished antique brass vessel with a fuller leafed plant. If you're shopping around your house or actually shopping for decor, keep texture and height in mind, and try not to both throughout to keep the entire composition more interesting.

If you don't have vessels with that much variation in height, a stack of books is a great way to add height under various pieces, and add horizontal elements in different colors as well.

We also added a centered box stack on the lower shelf in a beautiful woven rattan texture. That gives us a nice moment of negative space within the full composition, and additional storage if these clients ever need it.

We added two black vases that echo the geometric shape of the tall oatmeal colored vase on the top shelf. Adding a darker element provides us with great contrast, and pulls in the darker hardware on the cabinet fronts.

We then added a handmade white water pitcher, and a clear glass decanter next to the art pieces for new finishes and shapes. Bone inlay stacked boxes are up on the top shelf for another texture element, and a similar height to mirror the height of the basket on the other side.

This is also serving as a bar for this family, so the lowest shelves were left for wine glasses and high boy glasses that can be grabbed easily when they use the undercounted refrigerator below. These two built-ins have glass doors, so dust will be minimized here. A tray, an MND candle, a serving bowl, and a bit of greenery are the last touches that look great every day, but definitely serve a purpose when guests are over.

The small drawers beneath the glasses are the drop zones near the front door for keys and other small items. The bottom drawers hold dining accessories like table runners, and dinner party decor, so this entire built-in is really working in multiple ways! A combination of visually pleasing, but functional storage is always our goal for built-in cabinets and shelving.

Cheers! If you decide to tackle your shelves, tag us on Instagram - we'd love to see how you style your own shelves with your well loved and new items! And have a look at the process sped up a bit down below :)


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