Shelf Decoration Ideas Stylize your shelves in four easy steps

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The shelf style seems so simple in the inspiring images we see on social media, right? But we all know that is certainly not the whole truth. This guide full of shelf decorating ideas aims to eliminate the stress of the process.

Learn how to design the perfect combination of books, pottery, art and more. This is a step-by-step guide that will allow you to enjoy the process and create a look that you will love.

Because I’m something like that minimalist, decorating the shelves is really quite difficult for me. I want it to feel organic, organized and soothing to the eye, but I also want it to feel sleek and elegant.

Clutter is my enemy! When I decided it was time to rework the elements built into ours neutral living room I knew they had to be simple, but they still felt intentional and beautiful. Luckily, I think we nailed it after trying it.

The end result is full of texture, the soft neutral colors that I love and the feeling of perfect collection that is still very quiet to the naked eye. It’s personalized and tells our story, but it feels relaxing in the overall space.

I am very happy with the result and I hope you can be inspired by all these tips and images. If you want to see more of our house in Sant Lluís, come and occupy the whole Before and after tour here!

White books with a decorative gold metal knot accent on the top for shelf style.

Shelf decoration

These are the most common items used in decorating shelves. However, remember: there are no rules. And if there are rules about shelving, they are surely made to break them.

Whether you have built-in shelves, floating shelves or any type of decorative shelves, these design ideas are perfect for your shelf style.

Ceramics

Ceramic pieces add such a soft, handmade look to your bookshelf style. Of course, they offer a wide variety of finishes, colors and styles, so this is a flexible accent that can work in all types of homes, from modern to traditional.

This category ranges from stone-look pieces to terracotta and porcelain. Think vintage pieces or ultra-modern glass accents.

I love the imperfect finish of a ceramic style vase, like this of Target or more of the stoneware pieces of McGee Store.

A white ceramic vase full of green with books and a shelf decoration on top.

Art

The art is so personalized according to the tastes of each person. Adding artwork to shelf decor is a great way to tell your family’s story.

There are so many amazing ones Free art sources and it’s easy to print your own pieces and frame them so they’re high-end.

Of course, you can also use family photos in your favorite frames to add a personalized element to your shelves.

Shelf decoration ideas: a piece of art framed in gold and a small wooden bowl in front, on white-painted inserts.

Books

Books are such an important part of the shelves, of course. Because we keep the books we actually read in different areas of our home, I like to think that our bookshelf-style books are decorative.

I tend to gravitate toward two styles of books to decorate our living room. First, I use my favorite interior design decorating books, which you can find below Coffee Table Books in mine Amazon Shop here.

Secondly, I have found the best kept secret of books intended for decoration. I use Etsy to find books with the shape, style and color I am looking for. They are often sold in batches, making them the perfect price and color for decorating shelves. Start the search here.

White papers with a gold box on top for shelf style.

Baskets

I’ve been preaching about the design and function of style meetings for years. It is so important in our home! It’s weird that you choose an object just for beauty … I love having multiple functions and fulfilling a real purpose.

This is where the baskets come in! These baskets from our shelves have been used to store everything. We’ve used them for TV accessories such as remote controls and signal amplifiers, games for girls, random toy storage and more.

Not only do they look nice and tidy on our shelves, but they have an important purpose. Find more of my favorite Containers and storage supplies here!

Decorating ideas for basket shelves, white pottery and artwork on white backgrounds.

Boxes

Likewise, the boxes are such a fantastic item for the style of the shelves. They can hide unattractive items or simply be used as a prop to give you more height as you design.

They are resilient, textural and help tell the story. Here I have used a raw wood style box and brass boxes that elevate the look of our shelves while staying in line with the warm and neutral look of the overall living room.

Shelf of a raw wooden box with a small white vase on top.

Accents

This is another area so easy to customize. These decorative elements can range from the brass knot we used on top of the books, to a piece of coral or a collection of sea shells.

Small bowls, figurines and other decorative pieces also fall into this category. Use them sparingly and with the intention of creating the look you are looking for; disorder serves no one in this situation.

Decorating ideas for basket shelves, white pottery and artwork on white backgrounds.

How to decorate the shelves

Again, remember that there are no rules. This is simply a guide to help you get started and design the shelves in a way you like.

Learn how to decorate the shelves step by step to make it easier.

Step 1: Start with a blank canvas

Take it all off the shelves to start with a blank canvas. This allows you to decorate without restrictions and rethink your space.

Of course, I love white shelves, but you can make them amazing, no matter what color you paint. Get my best tips for White paint clipping and my favorite Cream paint colors to mimic this aspect.

Step 2: Collect potential items

Consider adding some organic elements to bring it to life, as well as natural pieces to add some depth, color and texture.

Keep it practical and make it functional. This makes it feel warm and realistic instead of an artificial screen. Use baskets and boxes to store DVDs, remote controls, and more. Use the shelves to store your favorite coffee table books or display treasures.

Create balance by adding tone and texture. Use a variety of materials, including wood, metals, and ceramics. Mix it instead of grouping them as items.

The mix of old and new pieces adds a bit of depth to the shelves.

A white living room with a shelf decoration, a brick fireplace surrounded by built-in inserts,

Step 3: Group by size

Add height to the shelves floor. Integrates pottery, stacked books, art or a green to add height, create interest and movement.

Use diagonal lines or triangle composition, sticking to simple pieces or grouping into odd numbers to help you achieve balance.

Step 4: Adjust it

Take a step back and make the necessary adjustments. I like to take a quick snapshot on the phone to evaluate it. See what works and what doesn’t, to add and subtract until you feel good.

Shelf style tips

  • Find your inspiration and start here! Look for images that can inspire your favorite interior designers and influencers.
  • Do not overcrowd. Leave blank to make the pieces stand out.
  • Create a layered look by overlaying elements or separating them slightly.
  • Think in terms of odd numbers. Ideally, three elements to create the traditional “design triangle” can help you find the perfect design. High, medium, low can be a good angle to try.
  • A monochrome or minimal color scheme will immediately help you get a sophisticated look. Simplifying the color palette is the easiest way to do this; i like to keep it with three primary color tones.
  • In these photos, I used fresh olive branches in the vases because they dry very well and I can leave them for a long time. However, feel free to use fake images for a lasting green environment.
A white living room with shelf decoration and a brick fireplace surrounded by integrated inserts.

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