The tweaking is done…for now. I styled my studio shelves. If your just joining in, you can read about how I made the stair tread shelves here. And, check out the video intro to my studio where I share the purpose of my shelves. Now, they are all styled up. I am ready to share all the details and some styling tips.
First, lets take a look at the whole shebang. Against the deep blue wall I used yellow, white, turquoise, aqua, and wood toned accents.
On the left side, I had a low soffit to deal with. And, as much as I wanted things of beauty all over my shelves, I still had to sneak in a little function with the paper tray and magazine holders.
On the right side, it’s mostly all for looks. I styled this side with pretty decor I collected for my office. This little corner makes me smile every time I walk through my office door!
Now, let’s get into the details and I can tell you where I got everything or how I made it.
First up, a few beautiful wooden pieces. The wooden spools were an antique store find on a shopping trip with Jen (when I first met her). The wooden printing block is from Patina. They had a basket full of them. This rather large one was about $28. It is so beautiful and interesting.
In the middle of this shelf, I stacked some of my favorite craft and decorating books, including my signed copy of Young House Love. I topped them with my Heller Designs jar (another thrift store find). I filled the jar with my favorite acrylic paint colors.
On the other end of the same shelf, I placed my teal lanterns. I found them last year at Target, but they have similar styles and colors in the outdoor section this year. The little white corked jar was a thrift store find. Inside the larger teal lantern, I tucked in a succulent. I plan to find a tiny cactus or succulent for the smaller lantern, too. How adorable are these guys as mini greenhouses?
On the other end of the top shelf, I worked in an owl. This weathered little guy is from Hobby Lobby. He is perched next to my DIY acacia wood hurricane (a thrift store up cycle). I tossed a bundle of sisal rope into the hurricane…love the texture.
The showpiece above this shelf, is my DIY serving tray art. This is definitely my happy place…especially this happy little corner!
On the other side of the room, the lower shelf has my wooden paper trays (that I prettied up here). The large corked jar is filled with colorful baker’s twine (I call it my jar of happiness). The yellow berry basket, from my last World Market shopping trip, is holding bottles of glitter.
On the other end of this shelf by the wall, I placed a few books vertically. Some of these are binder style, which don’t stack very well. A Moroccan tiled picture frame, found at HomeGoods, acts as a bookend. Behind the frame I added a yellow vase. It is the smaller version of the vase on my basement family room mood board. I found it locally at Patina for less than I had seen it online.
The top shelf in this corner is severely height challenged because of the soffit. There is barely 15 inches between the shelf and ceiling. But, it made the perfect spot to tuck my magazine holders. See how I dressed up the magazine holders here. They are filled with reference books, that are not decorative enough for display. I love how you just see the whites of the book pages through the mesh.
The rest of the top shelf is full of decorative goodies. The gold/brass vases are from the Nate Berkus Fall Line at Target, but I found them at a local Goodwill for $3 each. They are quite masculine, but I like the warm metal tone. The bowl was an Anthropologie clearance find. It has all the colors of the room in it. The turquoise jars are my handy work with a little chalk paint (more about that here).
Okay, let’s stand back and look at the whole room. Ahhh, pretty. I love all the little pops of color. I think it is helpful to see the whole room and how the colors tie into other elements, like the yellow embellished curtains and the turquoise dipped chair.
Open Shelf Styling Tips
I am far from a styling expert, and probably not even qualified to give tips, but there are a few tricks I have learned to styling shelves. My method mostly involves adding stuff to the shelves, moving it around, standing back, moving it around some more, standing back, walking away, returning, moving some more, standing back…you get the picture. It’s a lot of rearranging until it just looks right. I go with my gut. If it seems off, I tweak it until it’s better. Despite all the trial and error, there are a few guidelines I follow to get off to a good start.
1. Arrange in triangles. I viewed this shelf as its own vignette. I placed taller items toward the center and then tapered out with shorter items. Notice it does not have to be symmetrical. Here my tallest item, the large lantern, is off to one side. Here is a visual to show you what I mean:
Also, look how within this larger vignette, there are smaller vignettes also arranged in triangles.
2. Group like items together and always group items in odd numbers. My teal lanterns are more impactful when displayed together. Same with the wooden spools. Notice this works best when the items vary in height. Since I only had two lanterns, I added the corked jar to get an odd-numbered group. The same with the wooden spools. I only had two, so I grouped them with the solo printing block.
3. Use books vertically and horizontally. And, put something on top of a stack of books. Books are great decorative items and they make great risers to lift up smaller items. My yellow-lidded jar would normally have been too small to sit in the middle of the shelf, but a stack of books raises it up.
4. Spread out the color. You have to spread around the color. You don’t want all the yellow items in the same corner. Now, there is a fine line between grouping like items and grouping everything of the same color. Avoid the latter. Take a look at the arrows in the photos below to see what I mean. I scattered the yellow items, turquoise items, and wood/warm metal tones around my shelves.
For the last couple weeks, the shelves have remained untouched. I think I am happy with them…well…until I find new pretty things to work in. Thankfully, I have the rest of the basement to decorate.
I hope my shelf styling tips were helpful!