Skip to content

Our Go-To Tips for Styling a Shelf

Styling a shelf is a love-hate relationship. Depending on the day, it can take hours or it can take 10 minutes to style, nonetheless, it is anything but easy. As much as we like to plan our staging days ahead of time, sometimes you just have to bring as much inventory as possible and jump right into it. It’s all trial and error! So to set you up for success, we’ve gathered our go-to tips for shelf styling that are game changers!


Take Inventory

First, grab décor, books, vases, art, baskets, objects, and just about anything that would be interesting on a shelf. Don’t be shy, even if it seems odd for a shelf, you may be pleasantly surprised! We find that placing the items all in one pile helps visualize how everything will flow.


Start big!

Second, start with your larger items and build from there. For example, the top shelf typically has the most room heightwise, so we like to place our larger/taller items up there to fill the space and lengthen it. Be sure to place similar shaped items sporadically throughout the shelf so that they’re spread out and balanced.


Incorporate Books

Third, BOOKS, and lots of them! We like to place them in all different directions; laying flat, standing up, and even placed backwards with the spine facing away to show the texture of the paper. It’s important to have books in bunches of two or more and not on their own, it’s kind of an unwritten rule between us Labode girls. Of course there are exceptions but only once in a blue moon! Again, remember to place your stacks sporadically throughout the shelf for balance.



Fourth, layer, layer, layer. Layering pieces makes the world of a difference on a shelf. Whether you’re layering different sized artwork or layering different textures and materials, it will add depth and interest to your space!


Fill the Gaps

Fifth and final, fill those gaps! We like a full and generous shelf, so any places that seem a little too bare, fill with smaller items, such as candles, pots, chains, small bowls, or my personal favourite, a small dainty glass with a few short stems of your favourite flowers or greenery.

At the end of the day, the most important tip for styling shelves is to have fun and do what makes you feel good inside! Over the years, we’ve come to appreciate the objects that bring meaning to your space, rather than just being “pretty”. Our homes reflect our character, so do what feels right!