If there’s one thing I think every good room should have, its a good shelf. If you’re a faffer (that’s a word right?), a tinkerer, a stylist or just have a love for ‘things’ a shelf is the ultimate playground for you to continually play stylist and create vignettes and take endless ‘shelfies’ (which is WAY more fun for all parties involved than taking selfies all day – ok?!). The fabulous Megan Morton once told me, everyone should have a mantlepiece so you can practice and practice and practice putting together stories and vignettes upon them. So whilst I’m still yet to have a home with a fireplace and a mantlepiece, a shelf does the trick too. And (of course) she was so right, the trick to getting those beautifully styled vignettes that tell a story and look like so much more than just a bunch of unrelated objects is practice, but there’s a little bit of theory and a few rules of thumb that always come in handy. Our resident Home expert Penny Hyams is back today with a few styling secrets to help take your shelfies from random collections to radiating beauties!
Top 5 tips for styling a shelf
Look to the room to draw out a feature colour for your shelfie. Using predominantly neutral colour palette with one or two feature colours allows the colour to make a statement. Tying a colour or colour palette back to another element in the room gives the shelf place and purpose and connects it to the room.
This set of shelves (below) is from the bedroom that we styled in this post here. We decided to draw out the pastel pink from the stool/flowers and rectangular cushion and the gold from the polka dot cushion and use those as the feature colours on our shelves.
Let triangles become your best friend. Triangles allow a focal point and an area of negative space which allows your eye to seamlessly focus on what’s important rather than being overwhlemed.
This shelfie takes 3 items which on face value speak well to each other, the gold bag and the candle mirror each other and the vintage press is a nice contrast. But when placed upon a shelf they create a rectangle because of their similar heights. When you eye lands on this conflicted with 3 focal points and no negative space to relax, basically it doesn’t know what to look at and when.
Objects on the shelf need to be proportional to the width and depth of the shelf as well as the other elements on the shelf. On a short shelf avoid having one super tall object among only other small objects (remember the triangle, its works on a gradient of height). If you need to create more height on a shelf think about using a stack of books to give height and the ability to place smaller items (vases ext) upon the stack of books.
Use layers to create the perception of depth on a shelf. Layer things in front of each other, have artwork peeking out from behind a pile of books or place jars in a cluster so some are in front and some are behind.
Mix modern with vintage
When modern meets vintage something magical happens. The contrast in elements allows each one to be the hero rather than getting lost in the crowd. Not sure where to start? Look for vintage vases and vessels for flowers, something to place upon a pile of books that picks up a feature colour from the shelfie, remember the trick is just to try it, stand back and see if it tells a story or not.
Got a shelfie you’d love to share? Jump on over to instagram and share your favourite shelfie with us using the hashtag #dwsshelfies so we can check them out