Shelf-Styling 101

5 Tips to Create Interesting, Pulled-Together Vignettes

Shelf Styling 101Whether you’ve got built-in shelving to fill, lots of classic literature to house or collections to display, you want the bookshelves in your home to look stylish, right? Erika Gervin, founder and designer at South Harlow Interiors, says what goes on (and what doesn’t) is really dictated by aesthetics and where the shelving lives in the house—play spaces demand different items than the family room. “Don’t make the space feel so designed that it loses that personal touch,” she says. “Family photos and art from the kids should be incorporated into the styling.” What else? Erika shares a few easy steps to help anyone create a nook worthy of an Instagram shelfie.

1. Start with a clear, consistent color palette.
“You want to pull from the room and then add a pop,” she explains. “In a room that’s black, white and gray, you might want to add accents of brass.”

shelf styling 101

2. Edit your belongings.
If an object is not functional, sentimental or beautiful, donate it. “And think about what makes sense in the room,” Erika says. “Functional can be beautiful.” A candle works in a bathroom as do pretty canisters filled with cotton swabs. And coffee mugs, stacks of plates, cutting boards and vintage dough bowls fit well on open shelves in a kitchen.

3. Place books first.
shelf styling 101Stack tomes horizontally and vertically and pepper the colors throughout.

4. Add decorative objects.
This can be a bit overwhelming, so Erika suggests pulling everything together before putting them on shelves. “The right mix combines modern and vintage—I love antiquing for one-of-a-kind candlesticks, glass beads and old books,” she reveals. “I also like small maiden-hair ferns and succulents. Greenery brings the space to life and keeps it from feeling stagnant.”

shelf styling 101

5. Mix it up.
Make small groupings to decorate the books you’ve already placed. Vary heights. On top of a horizontal pile, you might place a bowl and something taller such as a vase or candlestick next to it. “Play with texture too,” she says. “Put a cloth doll on top of a collection of reads in the kids’ room, or roll hand towels on a shelf in the half bath.”

We’d love to see your styled shelves. Share your shelfies with the hashtag #sdhglshelfie

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