Styling Built-In Shelves Do’s & Don’ts

Do – Start With A Blank Canvas

Take everything off the shelves so you can start from scratch. This is the best way to approach general re-styling or seasonal decor. Don’t make it overwhelming – start by focusing on one shelf at a time.

Don’t  – Rush!

The last thing you want is to clear off your shelves and make a mess that you don’t have time to clean up. Make sure you allocate ample time to style your shelves so you aren’t left with  clutter and unnecessary stress. Another thing to remember is that you can’t expect everything to look perfect right away. Decorating is a process. You may have to do a good amount of rearranging things until your shelves look  just right.

Do – Shop Your Home For Accessories

Great accessories are often hiding right under our noses! Try swapping out accessories you have in other rooms. Sometimes mixing up what you already have is all you need for a refresh!

Don’t – Buy Like Crazy

Again, decorating is a process. Don’t buy accessories just to buy them. You should make sure any new items you bring into your home are items you love. Try rearranging what you already have first, and if you still want to shop, do so intentionally. 

Do – Use Books

Books are our favorite accessory item. They are an affordable and aesthetically pleasing way to fill in empty space and can also                                            help create height and depth.

Don’t – Splurge On Books

Don’t spend too much money on books if they are going to be used for decoration only! You can find large quantities of cheap books                                    at estate sales and thrift stores!

Do – Add Natural Elements

Plants not only look beautiful, but they also do a great job of livening up a space. Sprinkle in some greenery to add varying heights and colors to the shelves. Remember that not all of your plants have to be real! Mix real and faux plants for manageable maintenance; faux plants are equally as convincing!

Don’t – Water Plants On the Shelves!

Take them off first! Don’t ruin your beautiful built-ins!

Do – Vary Height, Texture and Items

Mixing and matching will make for a visually interesting display. Layer in vases, boxes, frames, books, plants and any other accessories that are important to you. Don’t be afraid to stack and layer items and try different combinations. Be adventurous!

Don’t – Match Everything

Just don’t. Collected items aren’t meant to look perfect together. Think outside of the box! Layering items that may not match by default is what will create that gorgeous collected look. 

Do – Incorporate Meaningful Items

Just because you have decided to design your space doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to the family heirlooms and knick-knacks you hold close. You can choose meaningful items that also match the style and design aesthetic of your home. Incorporate these into the arrangement to make it your own! This will help your built-ins look nice while telling your family’s story and providing meaning to the space! 

Further Reading