3 Easy Steps to Styling a Shelf

3 Easy Steps to Styling a Shelf – Top Tips 

Styling a shelf takes a little practice to get right. Is there really a right way to do it? Well there are tricks and hacks you can use to make the display look effective, but ultimately it’s up to you how you arranged your accessories. 

I like to shake mine up every now and again – they get a bit stagnant and messed up after a while, especially if I start adding random bits to them over time. 

Every now and again I like to start from scratch and reorganise them. So that’s exactly what I’ve done. 

Keep reading to find out my tips on styling a shelf and the ideas I’ve picked up along my 7 years or interior blogging. 


Every time I sat down in this room and looked at the shelves I felt slightly peeved. They weren’t feeling at all coordinated and the display had become quite disjointed.

I’d kept adding bits and taking away others but nothing seemed to make it feel right, so it was time to start again. 

Clear the Shelves – Gather Your Accessories

Before you do anything, it’s a good idea to clear off the shelves and gather all the accessories that you could use into one place.

I collected a few extra plants and other pieces in greens, blacks and whites from around the house, thinking these were the colours I wanted to focus on in my display. 

Step 1: Add the Art:

There are various ways you can add art to a shelving display like this. I opted for hanging a piece above the top shelf, keeping the actual space free for more accessories. 

This piece of art if from Fy and is a personalised art print depicting the coordinates of our home city. I simply filled in the details on the website and it arrived a week or so later. Easy. 

I love a piece of personalised art. Our home is really special to us all and having art around that represents where we live and where we come from makes it feel even more special.

Art has to mean something, it has to make you feel something and this kind of piece does it for me. 

Step 2: Add the Plants:

Next up I opted for adding plants as the display pieces on the shelves. Styling a shelf has to include plants right now but if you’re not good at keeping the real thing alive, opt for a few faux varieties which look just as good. 

Spread them out across the shelves balancing the larger specimens into the bigger spaces. Don’t be afraid to move things around until you get it right. 

Step 3: Add the Accessories:

Ok, so this is the fun bit. Start adding your accessories. 

Things to remember:

  1. Add pieces in small groups of odd numbers. This look is easy to pull off and is a well-known interior design trick. 
  2. Vary the heights. In your vignettes or groupings, add pieces of differing heights to help fill the space and keep interest going throughout the displays. 
  3. Opt for symmetry on one or two shelves to offset the more random displays on other. 
  4. Run your base colour throughout the accessories (I’ve gone for whites and greens, with a couple of black touches) to add cohesion to the display.
  5. Move things around until it looks correct to your eye. There is no real right and wrong here, but you’ll feel when it looks complete. 

There are lots of other pieces you could add to a styling a shelf like this. 

For example, add sets of books. Lie them down and pop a plant or accessories on top to add height. 

You could also go for more candles, some family photos or add more artwork behind the smaller accessories. 

I like to keep things quite simple on my displays but there’s no reason why you can’t add more and more to fill the space, just remember the tips above. 

What do you think of the tips for styling a shelf? Do you think they’ll help you next time you want to shake up your shelving display?

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Maybe you’re feeling inspired to rearrange some shelves right now. If so, I’d love to know how you get on. Leave me a comment below to let me know.

Jen x


3 easy steps to styling shelves. Learn the interior design tricks and hacks to styling display shelves in your living room - or any room! Update your home decor, do it on a budget and create a styling and modern home interior #shelfie #shelfstyling #displayshelves #shelfstylinghacks #lovechicliving

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All images copyright Jen Stanbrook

Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. Nicolette Lafonseca
    February 23, 2019 / 5:48 pm

    I love that the word shelfie now exists. They look so much better a grand job it is refreshing to have a switch it makes the whole room feel new

    • Jen Stanbrook
      February 24, 2019 / 9:22 am

      Thanks so much Nicolette, I can’t stop looking at them, very happy with the way they turned out šŸ™‚

  2. CA
    February 25, 2019 / 11:37 am

    This turned out so lovely! I struggle the most with decorating my shelves and coffee tables ā€“ this breaks it down into simple steps.

  3. Vicki / Wheel Chic Home
    March 3, 2019 / 10:54 am

    These shelves look great, i love it, so green and cosy! ps also loving the new look blog šŸ™‚

    • Jen Stanbrook
      March 3, 2019 / 3:42 pm

      Thanks Vicki, really pleased with how they turned out.
      And thanks! So glad you like the new look blog šŸ™‚ x

  4. Jayne
    March 3, 2019 / 8:24 pm

    This is exactly my kind of styling – lots of lovely plants! I love how the green pops against the blue wall too

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