5 Shelf Styling Tips + Inspiration


Shelf styling is one of those things that seems like it should be easy, but in reality there is an art to creating a balanced presentation that’s visually appealing.

I tend to differ in opinion with some people in that I don’t believe in going out and actively purchasing stuff to style my shelves. Like the rest of my home I want each space to not only be a representation of me and my family, but also to be filled with moments and pieces that tell a story. For that reason I tend to “shop my home” and go thrifting to find unique pieces to complete my shelves. To me, a souvenir from a special trip, or a one of a kind vintage find is way more interesting than grabbing the latest from Target. Not to diss Target. I have a serious love for Target just like the rest of you 😉.

I recently moved an Ikea VITTSJÖ shelf from our office to the dining room when I scored a rattan storage cabinet for the office. At first I had no plans to keep it in the dining room, but once it was in there I liked the look of it, and liked the added storage even more. I was able to properly display the beautiful green glasses my Mother In Law thrifted, and my husband’s humidor finally had a place to live.

We owned everything on the shelf with the exception of one piece I thrifted a few days later, a vintage pyramid shaped stacked lighter and ash tray. When I’m thrifting I pick up a few things here and there I think I could use for shelf styling later. But probably my biggest source of styling trinkets come from our trips. We don’t usually purchased a bunch of things when we travel, and we actively practice the Konmari Method to keep the clutter to a minimum, but if we come across something that sparks a great memory, or seems truly unique – we don’t hesitate in bringing it home with us.

I’m not a pro at the shelfie, but there are a few tried and true tricks that I try to employ that I think go a long way in helping me fake it until I make it with shelf styling.

Shelf Styling Tips:

  • Groups of Three – group items into threes. Whether they are all the same kind of item (three vases), or a variety. It’s visually attractive to have them placed into small group of 3 items.
  • Collections – Shelves are a great place to display your collections. Placing them all in one place can create a big impact.
  • Dimension – Place items at varying depths throughout the shelf. Calling the eye both to the back and the front.
  • Balance – This applies to empty space, greenery, color and the bulk of the items you are using. Arrange your items so the shelving doesn’t look too top or bottom or even side heavy.
  • Height Variation – Just like with depth, arrange your items so there are varying heights throughout each shelf, and with adjacent shelves.
  • BONUS TIP: LESS IS MORE. Not everyone will agree with me on this, but in general I tend to think shelves look better with less clutter and more empty space.

I have LOADS of shelfie inspiration pins over on Pinterest. If you haven’t joined the fun there, follow this link to check out my Shelfie + Styling board as well as a plethora of other pinspirations!

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