The built-in bookshelves in our new home certainly provide character and give us a space to personalize the home! However, it brings a challenge of a large space that can easily become cluttered. I didn’t want to go out and buy anything new for these shelves as we have some plans in the works, on top of many other projects that would be best to put money to. Like I (and a lot of others) stress – shop your home! While they aren’t my dream shelves, it makes a hell of a difference to have them styled for now!
As I worked through the process, it was fun and freeing to not search for all kinds of inspiration and go with my gut and previous knowledge. With that, I’m sharing a few photos and a full list of essential decor accents to mix in for simple shelf styling. I’ll write a tips post soon, but these two should help for now as a lot of the same principles apply:
Ok, let’s get into it!
1. Personal Items
This is first for a reason. If this is the only thing you read in the post, you’ll walk away with an improved shelf look! Mixing in items that are personal/sentimental to you and your family is key. There is nothing worse than a shelf full of items that are obviously from Target. You’ll always feel like something is off, because it is lacking core ties to you. To make it feel like home, mixing in some thrifted finds that brought joy when you found them, objects that symbolize places and things you love, or framed photos of core memories will instantly give the unique touch.
On these shelves, I’ve incorporated our wedding crest that my friend watercolored for us, a basket hand woven by my late grandmother, a watercolor portrait of our late pup, Hudson, photo albums, antique thrifted items and much more! These are all pieces someone else can’t get, making the look truly yours.
2. Layered Books
I know you’re thinking, of course books belong on a bookshelf. But, make sure you’re using them in the right way. Vary position, stacking, height and color to give that lived-in look.
3. Baskets, Boxes & Bowls
From wood to paper mache, to rattan woven – baskets, boxes & bowls are an easy way to add organic shapes to a shelf. Mix up textures within a shelf by dropping in a basket, or, make a statement with a large bowl. Stack and layer a little decorative box – bonus, it may hide some essential items for the space.
4. Decorative Figures/Objects
These may fall into the personalized items category, but by consciously adding marble, brass, wood and or clay objects creates variation. Additionally, they add unique lines that allow for depth to your overall design. From spheres, to clocks, sculptures and candle holders – the range is endless!
5. Framed, Layered Art
Art can be a powerful way to play with color, whether bold or muted. Framing adds an elegant, refined touch and provides a way to pull in another metal. Canvas art looks great, too! Show off your personal style by selecting scenes of your surroundings or favorite interests.
Whether faux or real, varied areas of greens gives essential life to a shelf. Whether in a small bud vase, or a large plant, they breathe life into a space by contrasting from the man made objects.
7. Vases & Jars
Filling empty space (large or small) can be best done with a vase or jar. They come in so many varied shapes and sizes and can easily add depth and texture to your overall look.
I’m so excited to see how these evolve over time! If you’ve made it this far, you’ve earned a little peep into the future. Unfortunately, we don’t plan to have these shelves for long. We hope to take this left side of the room and install cabinetry to create a dry bar. Don’t fret – some shelf styling will be involved! From glassware to entertaining essentials, we can’t wait for more storage and an area to entertain!
Shop Favorite Essentials & My Shelves