Learning how to style shelves can be difficult. Shelves are usually areas that either collect dust, or become a dumping ground for things we need to get out of the way. It can be hard to figure out what to put in them to look stylish and cohesive with the rest of your room. We usually put lots of effort into wall decor, tables, etc., but forget about our shelves! Use these 5 simple tips to take your shelves from average to designer.

Reflect Yourself

Use things in your shelves that are important to you and the people who live with you. Do you have an item from your travels, or an important family heirloom? Maybe it’s an old photo of a relative that you hold dear. It could just be a small tchotchke that shows your personality. Whatever it is, choose objects that remind you of the important things, and that you want to tell guests about when entertaining. Let people learn something about you by looking at your shelves.

style shelves

Toll Brothers

Show Off Your Books

We all have tons of old books around our house. Put these to good use by putting them horizontally on your shelves, maybe stacking a few on top of each other. We recommend only using hardcover books, and taking the outside cover off to give your books a refined, uniform look. Don’t hesitate to turn books around to show off the pages, either. A new trend is facing books page-side out, versus the spine. It brings in a vintage, rustic feel to your books. It can help if the spine is damaged or isn’t the look you’re going for. Another option is to use coffee table books! They are large enough to stand out and add a lot of height.

style shelves

Toll Brothers


In With the Old?

Even the most modern of houses can use vintage finds in their decor! Look at antique stores and flea markets for vintage objects, vases, books, or small boxes. You never know what you can find there, and it will always be different than everyone else! Vintage finds can reflect a look in your home that new pieces can’t. They always tell a story, and bring a home-y feel into your decor.

Go Natural

Don’t be afraid to bring in earthy objects. Pieces like antlers, driftwood, and shells can really spruce up your shelves. They add another element to the decor that other things can’t. Additionally, it’s another way to tell a story. If you love the beach, find a shell you really love (at a store or in nature). If it’s the outdoors, find a great piece of driftwood or a crystal. It’s not hard to let your pieces do the talking if you simply pick out what you already like in your everyday life.¬†And don’t forget plants! Find some indoor plants that don’t need watering often, like a snake plant, if you don’t have a green thumb.

Find Your Artistic Side

Incorporate art into your shelves. Go to your local art store, or even brand name stores to find small pieces that can fit in. If fine art isn’t in your budget, use art from your children! Framed and next to your decor, it will be like you have a mini Monet on your hands. And who doesn’t love to brag about their kid’s skills? Another option is to copycat art yourself. You’d be surprised what you can do with a little guidance and watercolors.

Our shelf inspiration came from Toll BrothersEnclave at White Oak Creek in Apex!