::Stylin' Those Shelves...A How To::

PSSSST...I'm no longer blogging here!
You can now find me at


Hey cottage friends!
I'm excited to show you how I go about styling my shelves. 

I change them out with the seasons, so it's a skill I've honed over the years.
I also like quite a bit of 'movement' in my vignettes, but even if you don't, I think my tips can still serve ya.

There is actually a method to my madness, but I'm no professional, nor do I play one on TV.
Most of what I've learned came thru studying pages of magazines and catalogues.  

So are ya ready?  Here are my tried and true tips on making mini vignettes on your shelves, your mantels, your piano tops....you name it!

TIP #1:  Move it to the center.

You'll notice I mentioned 'when you can'....because on my middle shelf, I can't.  Which leads me to...

TIP #2:  Consider the practical stuff.

My beautiful Mama's picture helps to hide the technology that doesn't exactly fit into my ::cottage instincts::
So I can't squish everything to the center on that shelf.  

TIP #3:  Use variations on a theme.

There can be several themes so long as they play nicely together, coordinating by color, shape, type, etc.
 I like to mix up textures and finishes too.
This is where you get a big payoff if you've learned what you love (and not just 'like'), because you'll realize you tend to buy things that go with your 'themes'.  Surface styling is also a fantabulous way to add in a few of your 'likes' or trendy stuff as these vignettes lend themselves to changing often.

TIP #4: Pay attention to the size of the space and your items.

Vary the height and width of stuff.  Size the items in the space in proportion to the space they will occupy.
I used my tall metal candle holder and barn star to fill the space here, especially since it's the top shelf.

TIP #5: Group items in odd numbers....
OR group an odd number of groups!

You'll notice there are 2 groups of only 4 items...which breaks the rule of odds.  BUT  it all works because there are 3 shelves.  And adding all the items together make 11, another odd-y but good-y.

Here I will let you see the nifty wallpaper border the previous owners left for our enjoyment.
And some more examples of themes:

Another view....

Here's a test.  I mean that's why you come here, right?  To be tested?
I posted this pic yesterday when showing you how I Spring-ified my dining room.  
Can you see how I used all my tips?

TIP #6:  When you find yourself frustrated and/or overwhelmed do these three things:
~Stand back from the space and squint your eyes.  Do it.  It migt help you see what's needed or what's not working.
~Take some pictures and look at them on the computer...amazing what jumps out at you.  
~Go eat something that makes you happy (ahem *Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies* cough) and come back later.

Here's where I show you what the built-in looks like for reals.  The cabinet below houses Robyn Rose's toys.  I'll be hanging a curtain there soon, as well as adding beadboard wallpaper in the back, adding trimwork along the outside, replacing the glass shelves for wood, and painting it all white.  

So what tips do you have for styling shelves and horizontal spaces?
Do any of mine help ya at all?

Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
The Farmhouse Porch's the Scoop
Tweak It Tuesday @ cozy little house
Home Stories A2Z


Claudia said...

Glad you are settled. Love what you are doing with your decorating!

Laura Everyday Edits said...

Love this! I am posting a before/after of my shelves that were overtaken by covert Nerf bullets! Love your shelves, laura

Holly said...

I take pictures, too! I thought I was the only one who did that...ha! It is amazing, though, what you notice through that other "set of eyes". Thanks for the tips...I will keep them in mind when I springify my shelves. Love the picture of your beautiful mom and your "plastic plants" comment made me laugh.

dwatson4036 said...

I have a question about how you store/categorize your vignettes items when not in use and if you have limited space?
Thanks for the helpful ideas!

Sweet Woodruff said...

It all looks lovely. You did a great job an have a good eye.

Maddie said...

So...I think we should make this a thing. Every time one of us buys a house, you should live there first and figure out how to make every nook and cranny look awesome. Once you've accomplished this (and you're bored and ready to move on anyway), I'll move in and enjoy. Deal? :-)

Anonymous said...

You did a great job styling your shelves. I love to move my stuff around and appreciate the hints and reminders of what works. I love the blue mason jars too!

Art and Sand said...

Your shelfs look great.

I get my vignettes to "almost" right and then I walk away. Then I walk around the house looking for what else I can add. I seem to go about 4 rounds before I am finally satisfied.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, it's very helpful. Your shelves really look good. I have issues getting everything to look balanced. You seem to have that under control.

Lynda said...

Thank you so much for sharing this information. I'm going to bookmark it and come back and review as necessary. Nice blog. Came visiting from "From My Front Porch to Yours".

{northern cottage} said...

oh so pretty and light and fresh and springy! and lovely with your mama incorporated. I miss her for you! xo

♥ http://www.northerncottage.net

Cecilia said...

Oh thanks for those tips...I tend to get it almost then get frustrated. I like the take a break and eat something tip. Lol. Also the take a picture one - it really does help! Now following you!

Anonymous said...

Visiting from Brenda's Cozy Little House party. I'd never heard your tip "move it to the center", and if you'll excuse me, I'm going downstairs to do exactly that right now ;) Thanks.

Green Girl said...

i love that you use jars on your shelves and a few whimsical accents like the birdcage and star and that lantern. I love jars and I use them in every possible way on my shelves, in every room of our house. ALso, one of my favorite ways to style a shelf is to pile books and place one or two accents on top like perfume bottles, picture frame, candle holder, and fresh flowers of course! i try to incorporate what I love from interior design magazines to my own styling :)

Laura said...

Thanks for these great tips! I'm anxious to push up my sleeves and make a change on my shelves!

Marty Walden said...

Thanks for the practical tips! You certainly have a knack and I don't, but I"m learning! I pinned you months ago and am so glad I found you!

Joselyn said...

Thanks for this how to. Styling just doesn't come easy to me so I really appreciate all your tips.

Unknown said...

Hi Cindy, I'm reading your how to on styling shelves (which is so helpful!). I noticed a piano on the side of one picture, and I have the same piano, but what a transformation! I think I would love my piano again!! Can you tell me how you painted it & what color(s)?
And thanks for writing and photographing and sharing your amazing talents, gives a not so talented gal like me ideas & hope!


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