Styling shelves is hardly a new concept. Heck, we learned that shelves themselves have been around since cave dwellers decided they needed a safe place to store a few things (thank you, Google), but the art of actively styling shelves is obviously a more recent phenomenon, and there are countless posts dedicated to this intriguing art form. Maybe we can’t leave well enough alone, but we thought today is as good a time as any to share our 4 tips for achieving true “top shelf style.”
1. CONSIDER THE ARCHITECTURE
If you’re a dedicated follower, you’ll recognize that this tip is nothing new for our team. Before we make any design decisions, we evaluate the room’s basic composition and determine if there are any structural changes that could be made that would enhance its authentic sense of beauty and function. Sometimes these changes are a necessity and sometimes they’re simply made to enhance visual interest, but when it comes to shelving, we love thinking outside the box! Have fun playing with non-traditional shapes and sizes to create a fresh and unique focal point; we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
2. LET YOUR ART DO THE TALKING
Another great way to kick it up a notch is to focus less on what’s happening on top of the shelves and more on what’s happening in front of them. You can easily transform your bookshelves from a storage space to an in-home art gallery by hanging art from the shelves themselves.
Expert Tip: Evaluate the width of your shelves. If they’re wide, opt for hanging art horizontally, and if they’re narrow, hang art vertically.
Lastly, if you’re going to hang art on your shelves, we suggest you let loose with the light. We love the sophisticated touch gallery lighting offers a space and, whether you’re looking for hardwired or battery-operated, there are some exceptional options available to the modern homeowner. Need to know more? Check out the lustworthy details from this “Room for Tuesday” gallery light round-up from here!
3. PICK A COLOR, ANY COLOR
Oh, the beauty of color. Regardless of how you choose to use it (or not use it), it’s one of the most powerful design tools in your arsenal. It’s also one of the least expensive. If you’re not up for making structural changes to your space, grabbing a can of paint and layering on an invigorating new color is always a fantastic way to refresh your shelves. We’ve got two ideas that we hope leave you feeling hue-happy.
Monochromatic – Long gone are the days when walls were festively painted or wallpapered while shelves remained a tried and true shade of bright, bright white. Shelves aren’t playing by the rules anymore and, personally, we’re feeling really great about that. One trend we’re particularly enjoying is a style the industry likes to call “monochromatic.” It’s a mighty big word used to describe the use of only one color; so, what’s the big idea, you ask? Avoid changing up the paint color when you hit the shelves and just keep on rolling. Painting your walls, trim, and shelves the same shade offers up a modern twist on a traditional set of built-in shelves, while also making the room appear more spacious.
Color Block: Ensure that each section of your bookshelf is visually interesting by grouping items like books, art, and accessories according to their color. This creates separate mini-stories that keep the eye engaged. Be sure to play with textures and sizes to keep things interesting, and take a note from these shelves a la “Gal Meets Glam” where the color blocking technique was mastered in her adorable built-in cabinets.
4. GO AHEAD AND GET TRENDY
Don’t get stuck in a rut; the display on your shelves should operate just like your wardrobe and can be updated from season to season. For instance, fall florals are everywhere and we’re huge fans! You can incorporate that trend in a big way by wallpapering the backs of your shelves in a bold, floral wallcovering (like this gem from Anthropologie), or you can go the more subtle route and cut out a piece of floral fabric, insert it into a frame, and hang it like a piece of art for the world to see how amazingly on-trend you’ve become.
Food for Thought: If bold florals aren’t your style, opt for a subtle, timeless pattern like the one we see on this Persian vase.