4 Tips for Styling a Shelf Like a Pro

Megan Hersch
September 8th, 2022

You've just bought a new shelf, and now you're staring into empty rows.

Sound familiar? We're here to help!

roomLift How to Style a Shelf
Keep reading for a few easy tips on how to work around pieces you love and fill it with a little - you!

(Image courtesy of Anthropologie via Apartment Therapy)

There a million ways to fill your shelves depending on your personal style and what you want for your space!

Check out one example from this transformed Home Library in a traditional home in Santa Monica.

We gave this room a fresh look by removing the wall upholstery and replacing it with a fresh coat of white paint, new drapes and fabulous new Kelly Wearstler sconces. But we still made sure to maintain the coziness that our client loves about the space!

roomLift How to Style a Shelf


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Here a few tried-and-true tricks we used that you can follow too...

1. Try cluster grouping!

These shelves were previously loaded with old law volumes. Our client was happy to remove them as the room transitioned into a more of a Sitting Room.

We suggested she cluster group some of her favorite books (and Books by the Foot in coordinated color - a great cheat!) and add a decorative bookend.

2. Shop for more contemporary accessories.

All Modern, CB2 , and Z Gallerie have beautiful options.

And from West Elm, you can find beautiful decorative boxes, clusters of vases, and bookends - like this stone piece!

Adding in some lighter colors and sleak lines helped us be sure we didn’t slip back into the heavy traditional feeling of the dark bookcase.

The mix compliments nicely and the shelves are now full of meaningful photos and objects. 

3. Reflect yourself by putting yourself first.

Remember, it’s your home and your "shelfie"!

If you have a family photo, frame it larger and place 3 objects on the shelf surrounding it to make it stand out.

4. Stack 3 books sideways with a candle or sculptural item on top!

This technique can hold its own on a single shelf.

Imagine this gorgeous sculpture from Lulu & Georgia displayed on top of your books!

You can also add a collection of multiple (5 or more) similar pieces - such as these options from West Elm - all along the top shelf/shelves of the bookcase to make the space feel cohesive and purposeful.

We can't wait to see how your incorporate "yourshelf" into your shelves! Stay Lifted!