Happy Saturday, yall!

 Decorating built-ins, a mantel, a bookcase, etc can add a lot of character to a space but it can also be a challenge when it’s not coming together how you’ve envisioned. I don’t claim to be a professional but here are my top 10 tips I’ve picked up along the way that have helped me create a visually pleasing display that I have been happy with!

1. BLANK SLATE: Start with empty shelves + an open mind + plenty of time. Decorating shelves isn’t always a quick process. Trial and error for sure! 

2. VARIATION: Make sure you have gathered an array of different items in varying heights and sizes. Start by placing your largest items on the shelves. Some of the larger items I used in this display only fit on certain shelves due to height difference so starting with those can eliminate having to start over later and it’s just best to start with the largest items. 

3. STACK: I love stacking items such as books, bowls, trays etc.This adds character and height.

4. LEAN: Lean  baskets, pictures, books, etc against the back of the shelf or you can use an easel to prop them up. 

5. TRAYS/STANDS: I love using trays, trivets  + cake stands etc and arranging small trinkets/decor on top.This may be one of my favorite parts of our dining room shelf decor. 

6. TEXTURE: Mix in items of varying textures evenly throughout your shelves.  For this shelf,  I used it to display a lot of my serveware in our dining room  but I also evenly distributed greenery for a different color + texture throughout. 

7. PERSONALIZE: It’s always nice to add some meaningful items to the display like photographs, etc. Here we added a newlywed cookbook and some personalized serveware that was gifted as wedding gifts and a photo of Jake and I’s first Christmas together.

8. DEPTH: Create depth by layering different items in front of one another from back to front. 

9. DON’T BE MATCHY MATCHY: You can create balance and a visually appealing display without making each display look the same. Ex.) having too many of one item.  Remember to space out items of varying size, texture, etc. 

10. GROUPS OF THREE: Grouping items in sets of 3 is a good rule of thumb. Grouping of 3 are visually pleasing to the eye. Also, leave negative space between groupings to avoid your shelves appearing cluttered.

If I had an 11th tip it would be that you will need to stand back and observe over and over until you achieve a look that is pleasing to your eye. I am constantly moving items around for different holidays, etc. It is truly a process. I hope these 10 tips help in your shelf decor endeavors!

PS. I wasn’t able to link all of the exact items used but I linked as much as I could below as well as some similar items used. As always, let me know if you have any questions and happy decorating!




  • Sherri

    Great tips!


      Thank you! 😉

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