Decorating is an art, not a science. Having said that, when the art of decorating is simplified enough that it’s broken down into clear and simple methods it takes the guess work and stress out of completing the task. Shelves of any variety are a great way to display and further enhance the design of any room, but styling shelves with contrasting possessions can be challenging.
Styling book and other types of shelving properly takes some know how, patience and creativity. I’m a big believer that books are still an important part of creating a home and they make great accessories too.
I have what I call “working shelves” which means they hold real useful objects showcased in the most attractive and practical manner. I don’t recommend ever covering a book jacket with coordinating paper because you can’t find the book you’re looking for that way, and who has time for that.
Over the years I’ve developed two simple methods to style shelves. One is what I call the zig-zag method where you create height altering vignettes and place them diagonally from each other. I recommend this method for areas where you want to create a dramatic effect.
The second shelf styling method and the easiest to achieve is the symmetrical arrangement. Start by figuring out, more or less the center of the shelf. Place larger pieces on the shelf center and create height varied vignettes on either side of center.
Don’t worry about the so called odd-item rule, play with the vignettes until your eyes say it looks good. Varying vignette heights is more important than the number of items.
Here’s a few samples of well thought out accessory vignettes. Notice the varying height is up and down, kind of like a wave.
Get creative and have fun styling your shelves.
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