September 27, 2023

DIY Solver

I'm lovin Home Improvement

When styling shelves at home, mix heights, textures, old and new

4 min read

As winter weather encroaches on this year’s unseasonably warm autumn air, I’ve found myself fiddling with our home decor even more than usual. 

Perhaps it’s a way of trying to come to terms with the upcoming months of snow. Maybe it’s some form of hibernation. Whatever it is, it’s motivating me to make our house as homey, cozy and inviting as possible. 

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Part of that has included spending quite a bit of time honing my shelf styling skills. I never thought styling was a strength of mine, but with some practice, I’ve seen significant improvement.  

If you, too, struggle with figuring out just what to put where, here are five tips that have helped me take my skills to the next level. 

1. Play with texture

You can incorporate just about anything your heart desires onto shelves — art, candles, plants (live or dried), pottery, knickknacks, stuffed animals, a smaller set of shelves that sits on top of the larger shelf — need I say more?

Theresa "Tess" Bennett

Something that helps me determine where to put what is texture. Choose one anchor item you want on each shelf, and then style around that by keeping a set color palette while playing with texture. Figuring out what textures look good together takes some experimentation, but try working with contrasts: for example, smooth and porous; shiny and matte; organic and polished.

Something else to keep in mind: If you have a collection of similar items (such as decorative plates) that you’d like to display on shelving, this is one of the only times I’d say varying texture isn’t necessary — these look best grouped together to make the greatest impact.

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