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  • Writer's pictureSarah Nantel


By now, you know I'm a sucker for home design, interior finishes, and everything in between. I love sharing DIY's and How-to's with you all so I thought I would share my own personal tips on beautifully styled shelves!

A modern white kitchen with walnut open shelves beautifully styled with dishes and vases.

Tip #1 Declutter!

This first step is so important and often forgotten or overlooked so I thought I better put it on the list! Make sure you get rid of anything you no longer use or that you don't love. A common mistake is having too many items on a shelf and it can take away from the look you want to create.

A bright high end kitchen with a gas range and gold faucets and some natural wood open shelves.
A white kitchen with white oak open shelves beautifully styled with minimal dishes.

Tip #2 Bold or Neutral

This is such a personal preference and one you can definitely have fun with! There are a lot of trends out there right now showing how to have fun with color. Think about painting the shelves a bold color or adding a really pretty wallpaper or fabric at the back. Not only will it add some great details, but it will also add depth to an otherwise lost area!

A gorgeous room with an ombre circle painted own the wall with open shelves styled with gold accessories.

An ombre pink wall mural and shelves styled with gold and white accessories.

Tip #3 Books & Magazines

I have to admit that I have not read every book in my house. My not-so-secret is that I love watching the bargain tables at the local bookstore to see what book covers stand out to me. I'll sometimes find the most beautiful books for super cheap and add them to my space! This is the only acceptable time to judge a book by its cover!

When you start placing books or magazines on your shelves, figure out how you'd like to group them; would you like small stacks of various colors or would you like the same colors grouped together? I recommend a minimum of 3 or 4 books to each stack but take into account the size of the shelves, the width of the books, and the number of books you have. Definitely play around with them and have fun!

A ladder bookshelf leaning against a white wall styled with books, plants and decorative accessories.
A white bookshelf styled with vases, art, plants and books.

Tip #4 Greenery

If you're like me and you love bringing the outdoors in, then definitely add some greenery to your shelves! Succulents and Cacti are my personal favorites to add. Not only are they easy to take care of, but they come in a range of shapes and sizes to add variety to your shelves! Don't have a green thumb? Don't worry! There are some cute fake plants at stores like Homesense that you can add!

A modern living room with open wood shelves next to a brick fireplace and dusty blue grey cabinets styled with a basket, a plant, art and books.
A kitchen with navy blue cabinets and white subway tiles with contrasting grout with open wood shelves displaying some beautiful kitchen accessories.
White kitchen cabinets with glass uppers and open shelves in the middle and plants, dishes and cookbooks displayed.

Tip #5 Artwork

Art is a great way to add character and creativity to your space. It can also add visual interest and depth while adding a layered look that finishes your shelf off just right.

A modern living room with a tall white brick fireplace and built in wood shelves on either side in front of a cozy sofa.
A white bookshelf styled with rattan baskets, framed prints, plants and books.

Tip #6 Mix It Up

Heights, textures, colors, objects - all of it - this is what makes it all fun! By having variations, you’re going to create more visual impact.

Overall, my advice is to not be afraid to experiment and try things. You'll find what you love and what works best for you.

A stunning white brick fireplace with a wood mantle in the centre of two dusty grey blue bookshelves with wood shelves styled with decorative accessories and books.

A collection of art and plants styled on some white shelves.

A bright modern kitchen with open wooden shelves styled with some white dishes and platters.

A bright kitchen with grey counters tops and open wooden shelves lined with white dishes and wooden bowls.

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