Some people instinctively know how to place items on book shelves to make their collections, books and family photos look terrific. And some people have no clue. Today, let’s learn how to transform bland bookcases and wall shelves into stunning displays with tips from top-shelf interior designers.
Not sure what to showcase on shelves? First, consider what you love. Your interests and hobbies should come through in your accessory choices. Kids’ framed artwork, books, decorative plates, baseball cards or boomerang collections are all good choices. Your home should look like you. Take stock of vacation mementos, crafts and items you’re drawn to time and again when assembling accessories for a shelf arrangement.
Whether you collect birdcages or buttons, sculpture or shells, transferware or teacups, any collection you love deserves pride of place in your home. Plus, there’s power in numbers. Different sizes, shapes and colors play off each other, and grouping a collection together gives it emphasis.
Several tiny knickknacks on a shelf will only collect dust and look like jumbled clutter. Instead, choose bigger, bolder accessories that will stand out. Select tall vases (if there’s no shelf above, fill them with giant flowering or fall branches for a dramatic display); giant balls of knotted rope, substantial pottery and large art books; collect whatever strikes your fancy, as long as you can see it from across the room. Give smaller items more visual presence by collecting them in a container.
Rather than a matching set of mirroring objects, go for asymmetrical arrangements of three, five or seven objects, setting them off-center to add a subtle element of surprise. Odd numbers are the most interesting.
Another tip to aid in your asymmetry efforts, vary shelf heights so they don’t all line up exactly. You’ll be able to use larger pieces and break out of the “lined-up soldiers” look that gets boring so quickly.