How To Dress Your Shelves

Shelves are one of the most functional spaces in our home. But they can also be one of the most beautiful too. There are some simple tips to dressing on your shelves so that they really add to the room. 

After all, some shells are simply designed to show off your most prized possessions. They give us the chance to express our style and personality, as well as provide functional storage.

Here are some simple ways that you can dress your shelves.


It will depend on the size of the shelf you have as to what you can fit on it. Of course, there are shelving units that have different sizes and heights within them, you might have chosen for a slim and minimalist shelf, or you have gone for nice sturdy 30cm deep shelves and cannot wait to dress them.

Spend some time looking at the size and shape of the shelf, and this will start to give you ideas of where you can place objects.

Also, take into account the height that you have to work with. This means the height off the floor, or away from a shelf or surface below, and the height above it. 

Mock trial

After you have properly sized up your shelving space, it is time to gather everything that you want to put on it. A mix of books, plants, ornaments, photography and more. Lay them out on the floor so you can get a feel for the colour palette too. 

If you have a lot of height to work with try and have some longer items so this will give some texture and style to your shelving unit. If there’s anything that doesn’t quite fit remove it from your pile.

A good variety of items in different styles with a similar colour palette will always look beautiful.

Flats first

First things first, placing your flat items. This means place any books, and magazines that you have. Place the thinner and longer ones on the bottom and stack them up in an almost pyramid. Putting the thicker ones at the top.

You can be as picky as you like with the colours and the sizes, but spines that match in colour to the rest of your colour scheme are probably the best bet.


Plants just add something to every space. If your shelves are quite high off the ground, with some space underneath it then you can go out for a hanging plant like ivy and have that trail over the corner. 

If you have some height to play with, snake plants don’t need much time and attention, but they do add something really interesting with the textured looking leaves.

Medium and small

Now is the chance to add in any of the medium objects that you have, you can use the heights of the books to help you create more of a varied height feature. And you can also add the smaller items into.

Here is where you can step back, take a look and remove anything that doesn’t fit with the scheme that you had in mind.

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