• Live Beautifully! Steph

Shelf Styling 101

Neutral, coastal dining room.

One of the top decorating problems I'm routinely asked about is HOW to best style shelves, bookcases, hutches or cabinets.

These areas can easily be total eye sores, making a room feel full and cluttered OR can enhance your room by showcasing edited collections of things you truly love!

Today, I'm sharing my simple styling tips you can use to give a fresh feel to your space, using what you already have.

My client has three of these amazing glass front cabinets in her dining room. They're perfectly weathered and have a darling bead board backing.

She also had a lot of little treasures! Things she'd been given, things she'd inherited and things she'd collected over time.

She didn't realize how cluttered it had become over the years and was finally ready to make some changes!


First, we started by completely emptying out each cabinet.

This allowed us to edit down to just the things that really meant something to her. Everything else went into a box for donation.


Then, we sorted the remaining items. Here, we focused on color. You might decide to group by item type, like books, picture frames etc. This is a fun process to go through. You really start to see the repetition in loved items, which brings us one step closer to a cohesive look!


Next, we played with the varying heights, shapes and textures in our items. I tend to style, style and re-style until it feels just right! You might add, remove, add again, get close, stand back, take in the room, and ask yourself, how does it feel?

Shelf styling in progress: we grouped beachy greens, warm woods and textured shells!

The photo on the right shows the two additional cabinets, hung in a tight stack.

The final look serves as a lovely color addition to a neutral space, just as an art piece or other wall decor would do! We achieved a totally fresh feel in an afternoon-gotta love that!

My client updated the existing lamps by wrapping them in thin rope and added neutral, airy curtains to soften the windows. The shelf styling now feels interesting and purposeful!

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