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Five Tips for Styling Shelves

No-fail tricks for an instant refresh

One easy way to transform a room? Mix things up on your shelves. Whether you have built-ins or standalone bookcases, well-curated arrangements add interest and personality to a room, elevating your space. 

Styling shelves doesn’t mean you need to purchase anything new—just use what you already have around your home. And the best part? When you want a new look, simply rearrange the items again.  

Ready to begin? Start with the following basics, and you’ll be on your way to smarter-looking shelves. 


  • Display what you truly love. Use only what is meaningful to you—as opposed to every trinket you’ve accumulated over the last 5 year.

  • Highlight handcrafts. Shelves are an ideal venue for showing off framed kids’ art your collection of local pottery.

  • Spread out materials and colors. You’ll achieve a more balanced look if, for example, you integrate woven materials or your collection of pink Depression glass across multiple shelves.

  • Rethink your books. Instead of orienting your books like a library, stacked vertically together, break them up between shelves. Arrange some vertically, then stack others in groups.

  • Add some houseplants. Houseplants can make shelves come alive—and not just literally. They’re an easy way to add form, color and texture. (Just make sure they’ll receive enough light to grow well.)

Show off your pottery collection Show off your pottery collection

Thoughtfully arrange books Thoughtfully arrange books
Channel Mother Nature Channel Mother Nature

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