Can y’all believe I found the bookshelf in our dining room at an antique mall for $50? I couldn’t believe it either, but if I’m being totally honest, I had to rent a U-Haul then drive about 40 miles round trip to get it home, so it turned out to be a little more than $50. But anyway, now that y’all know the full story, I started styling this bookshelf as soon as I got it home and after weeks and weeks of fiddling with it, I’m finally satisfied with every little inch of it. If any of you are struggling to style a bookshelf, don’t worry because today I’m sharing eight tips to create a fabulous shelfie and at the end, I’m sharing some pictures of what not to do.
1. Decide on a color scheme.
Before I started adding accessories to my shelves, I decided on a pink, white, and gold color scheme. I wouldn’t say this it totally required to create a fabulous shelfie, but for me and my OCD mind, it was completely necessary. However, if this is your first time styling a shelf like it was mine, deciding on a color scheme makes shopping for decorative accessories much easier because you’ve got a plan in place which means you’re less likely to buy something that doesn’t work.
2. Use a variety of objects.
When I first started adding accessories to my shelves, I didn’t have a lot of variation. I had a stack of books on nearly every shelf and it was just boring. My suggestion is to use objects that are big and small, tall and short, various materials, and textures. Also, if you’re using books, a great way to add some interest is to stack some and then use bookends to stand some up.
3. Include meaningful items or family heirlooms.
If you have any family heirlooms or meaningful items, a bookshelf is the perfect place to display them. My Nana gave me this old black and white photo of my Papaw when he was a baby sitting at our family farm where my parents live now and I thought it was the cutest thing. So, I decided to frame it and put it on one of my shelves. It makes the bookshelf so much more personal and puts a smile on my face every time I see it!
4. Include plants.
At one point, the only plant I had on my bookshelf was a faux boxwood ball and it seemed like something was missing. I finally decided to take the heart leaf Philodendron plant from our kitchen and put in on the middle shelf. It was a little too wild for the middle shelf, so I tried it on the very top shelf and I haven’t moved it since! Plants are a great way to make a huge statement for not a lot of money.
5. Pay attention to scale.
Now that you may have some ideas on things to add to your shelfie, pay close attention to the size of your objects and the size of your shelves. When I first started styling mine, I wasn’t paying any attention to the height of the space between the shelves. I was adding accessories that were too short or too tall and they just didn’t look right. If you’re needing to add height to an item, use books.
6. Love everything.
While paying attention to the size of your objects and shelves is important, don’t include things just to fill space. Only decorate your shelves with things you absolutely love, you’ll be more satisfied with the end result.
7. Keep it simple.
Again, this step isn’t totally necessary to create a fabulous shelfie because some people pull off the “collected” look very well, but like I said, I’m a little OCD and that just doesn’t work for me. My suggestion is too keep it simple and avoid clutter.
I went through many revisions of my shelves to get it exactly how I wanted. My suggestion would be to keep experimenting and moving things around until your completely satisfied with it. Don’t like something, try something different!
Now, onto examples of what not to do!
Say hello to the very first version of my styled shelves. Isn’t that shiny brass dreamy? Not! This was the finish of the bookshelf when I bought it and I lived with it for a while, but after a while, it seemed too dated. As far as styling, you can see I wasn’t paying attention to the scale of my items and all of my books are stacked. No variation and pretty boring.
This was after I gave it a coat of my favorite gilding paint. So much better, right? The styling definitely improved from the last picture, but there was still some items that were a little small for their space.
I’m a little embarrassed to show this picture because I think this is actually worse than the picture I showed before, but I got there eventually and that’s all that matters, right? At this point, I was still really struggling with scale, but I didn’t realize that at the time, all I knew was something didn’t look right.
And that is what my shelves were looking like right before I finally figured them out! Still some issues with scale and that plant was a little too crazy for that small spot.
The final result!
I hope these tips and photos of what not to do help you create a fabulous shelfie the first time instead of switching things around about a billion times like me!
And, if you liked this post, feel free to pin the image below!