How to Style Shelves

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In the process of filling my shelves, I realized there was an art to getting the right style and balance. I wanted them to look layered and personal, but not too busy or fussy. I found a few easy key steps helped to edit and streamline the whole process. My first piece of advice is to take everything completely off your shelves and start with a blank canvas. Next, choose what your color palette will be and start from there. The best part is you can always play around with rearranging as you continue to hone your personal style.

  1. Layer

    The key to a good looking shelf is layering. Art, books, photographs, candles, fresh clippings, flowers and personal mementos all created a personal and curated look. I like to take into account colors and textures, shapes and heights to balance the shelves.  I also like to keep things neutral overall, which allows you to show off a few key pieces or add some color with some seasonal flowers. 

    2. Candles

    A beautiful scent is a must and it’s nice to switch it up according to the season. In fall and winter, I like deeper scents with amber, musk or balsam while in spring and summer, I prefer citrus or bright florals. Lately, I have been lighting the Jenni Kayne Ash candle which makes the room feel cozy with notes of clove and birchwood. I also love her ceramic match striker to accompany it. 

    3. Books

    What is a shelf without books?  I find that sticking to neutral coffee table books look best, a jumble of mismatched books can look messy. Fortunately, design books are so beautiful, they deserve to be on display. I like stacking them in two’s and three’s and placing something on top for height. 

    4. Art

    Art is personal. I like a mixture of simple prints and photographs. I enjoy picking up a postcard at a museum and framing it or even taking out pages from an art book or magazine. I absolutely love Josh Young’s designs, they come numbered with a handwritten note. I framed my linear piece in a burlwood frame which adds some warmth and sets off the print. 

    5. Seasonal Clippings

    Adding a natural seasonal element balances out a layered shelf. I like rotating different eucalyptus varietals, olive branches and seasonal blooms. In fall, I  add white pumpkins and in winter, I like fir greens draped on the shelves. Flowers are a good way to add some color.

    6. Ceramics, Baskets, and Wood 

    Finally to fill it all out, I like adding different pieces I have collected over the years. It is easy to want to buy a bunch of new stuff, but part of the fun is picking up a special piece here or there on a trip or finding something unique  at a flea market or antique store. Amber Interiors has a great mix of both old and new things.