Try This Decor Trick: How To Style An Open Shelf In 5 Steps

September 20, 2019 3 min read

steps in styling an open shelf

Cluttered, untended open shelving is one of the most noticeable eyesores in most homes. Don't get us wrong -- we love having open shelves that provide easy storage and access, whether it's a kitchen shelving unit, a bookcase in the living room, or even the bathroom rack. But because they are a focal point in the room, they must be treated as a decor element as well. A thoughtfully-arranged shelf can be the one unexpected difference between a messy-looking room and a refreshing (but still practical) space.

So if you have 20 minutes to spare today, we definitely recommend styling your open shelves. Here's a quick guide.

 

1. Pick your items.

Take down all the objects that are currently on the shelf. It's time to sort and streamline. Decide which objects can stay on the shelf and which ones you can stash away in a separate, concealed storage. 

For example, a typical kitchen shelf holds a mishmash of pots and pans, some dinnerware, cookbooks, spice jars, and more. You can store those bulky pots and pans in another cupboard or closed cabinet, leaving those cute spice jars and decorative dinnerware for displaying.

 

2. Shelf refresh

Now that the shelf is empty, see if it needs some TLC. A little dusting and polishing will work wonders! If you're feeling extra creative, you can do some upgrades such as refinishing the unit, lining the back with pretty fabric or wallpaper, or even installing some inner lighting.

 

3. Arrange the basic items.

We've come to the fun part. Start arranging your chosen items on the shelf, experimenting with their groupings, spacing, and symmetry.

A rule of thumb would be to place the larger items first, such as those bulky jars or big books. They're 'anchors' to the rest of the objects. Scatter them throughout the shelf in a way that's visually balanced, then place the smaller items around them. You can even play around with layering -- that is, putting the taller objects further to the back of the shelf, then positioning the small ones in front of them.

No matter how you arrange the objects, remember to leave lots of spaces in between. We still have a few more additions, and you want everything to have breathing room.

 

4. Punctuate with art and flora.

 

Your practical items are on the shelf; now, you can add some panache to it. Use some of the remaining spaces to display select ornaments such as figurines, small vases, art prints, framed photos, and little potted plants. The goal is to display bursts of style rather than keeping things uniform, so embrace the eclectic variety of your baubles!

We recommend small but beautiful text art, like this music-inspired canvas print:

 

5. Step back, adjust, and edit.

Take a look at your creation so far and see how you like it. Does it look a little cramped? Take down a few items and readjust. A little unbalanced? Switch up the positions of your larger objects. A little flat? Layer more objects in front of each other.

Edit your shelving as you wish, and don't be afraid to experiment! At the end of this process, you should be able to step back and see an open shelf that you'd love to look at everyday and be proud to show off to your guests.

 

Tell us: are you trying this interior decor tip at home? Share the results with us!

If you're on the hunt for inexpensive items to decorate your shelves with, check out our roundup of super-affordable wall art here.

Or if you're looking other beautiful, affordable home items, start browsing GearDen.com! Customers love our wall decor, pillows, and blankets -- and you'll find something you'll love, too.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Gift and Decor Guides

how to create home ambiance interior ambience
How to Create the Home Ambiance You Want: Step by Step

September 07, 2021 5 min read

There are places and rooms where you just feel a nice mood the moment you step inside. This is interior ambience (or ambiance). You can create your own home ambiance with simple decorating choices. Try this easy guide.

fall decor trends 2021
Fresh & Beautiful: 2021 Fall Decor Trends to Try at Home

September 03, 2021 4 min read

Autumn has always been equated with rustic colors and cute pumpkins, but this year's home decorating trends provide fresh ways to spice up that style. Try these expert tips to wow your guests on Thanksgiving and throughout the fall season.

decorating house exteriors without remodeling
Curb Appeal: Easy, Affordable Ideas for Decorating Your Front Porch

August 29, 2021 4 min read

How do you make your house exteriors pretty on a budget, without the need for contractors or remodeling? Here are our favorite examples and doable tips to spruce up your patio or front porch. Give these a try!