Shelf Decor 101

Now, I'm not an expert, but I do mess around with the decor in my own home quite a bit. I was sitting around looking at my stuff last week and felt smothered, stifled by all the stuff! I wanted some empty spaces, some clean lines (fewer objects to dust around) and realized the overstuffed decor on the shelves of my media unit was overwhelming!

I decided to remove everything and start over with a clean slate. Then replaced each item intentionally.

While deciding what to put back on and what to get rid of I tried to follow these rules:

* Scale - I tried to use items that filled up at least 2/3's of the shelf in height.
Lots of little items don't equal one large item. I had many smaller things bunched up on the shelves, reasoning that they equaled one big item. They didn't.

* Limit yourself - 3 items or less per shelf, but not every shelf! I counted grouped books as one item and because one shelf was long I grouped 4 small balls.

* Be unique - look at each shelf as an individual. If I had books on one shelf, I tried not to put books on the one beside it for example.

* Line 'em up - the balls lined up are just glass mosaic Christmas balls that I pulled the loop out of the top and turned upside down. Each red bowl is too small alone, but matched up they fit perfectly.

* Books - If you have books that don't match, pull of the dust covers! Or, turn them spine side in so the white pages create a contrast. The stack of books on the left is a random assortment of travel, art, and wine books that didn't match at all!

* Contrast - I tried to take away some of the dark items and replace them with lighter objects that would show up against the black shelves. Sometimes all I had to do was move items out to the edge of the shelf to be seen.

* Top it off - Treat an open top like a large shelf. This is the perfect spot for large items, like framed art, that won't fit anyplace else. Create dimension by pulling some items forward and letting others lean against the wall. Remember lots of heights - don't line things up like soldiers.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow to Teach me Stuff for Tutorial Tuesday!



  1. Dear Jen,

    Funny...I did a similar thing with my media unit.

    I removed all the nick-nac stuff...stood back...looked at it ....
    and then gave it to my son for his apartment.

    I have real clean lines now ;->

    Your's is lovely.

    Janet xox

  2. That looks lovely! I've collected lots of my favourite things into a big cubed bookshelf and I follow those principles but it still looks pretty busy! Will get there eventually! :D

  3. Looks great, Jennifer. :) I am awful about arranging shelves. Everything looks crammed. :s Thanks for the tips!

  4. Jennifer,
    Great decor! I was able to work a lot this afternoon, and still need to profile, but my feature post will be up tonight by midnight. I'm going to e-mail you tomorrow because I want to talk to you about a follow-up for the weekend. Brief stuff! Couldn't get the mirrors in for tomorrow so will mention that on Saturday, and wanted to talk more about how you prepare your "go to" meal, and perhaps do a "promotion" with you. Leigh

  5. I mean "proofread" tonight not profile. Been a crazy day! Happy Valentines!


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