Tips for Accessorizing Open Shelves
A common challenge I hear from my clients is the dreaded task of accessorizing their open shelves. Beautifu open l built-ins in a living room seemed like a delightful feature at first, until the time approaches to style them out, and then forget it! Where do you start? How do you know you’ve gotten it right? I’ve had a lot of practice with accessorizing shelves, and found a few basic guidelines that will aide the process a bit.
TIPS FOR ACCESSORIZING OPEN SHELVES - #1 CLEAR THE SPACE
This tip might seem obvious, but it’s very helpful to completely clear out the accessories on your shelves and start with a blank slate. Have a table nearby where you gather all of the discarded accessories, so you can start assembling your newly styled shelves with a fresh eye.
TIPS FOR ACCESSORIZING OPEN SHELVES - #2 START WITH LARGER ACCESSORIES
Once you have gathered accessories nearby, I recommend to start your styling with the largest accessory items first. You will want to keep the larger accessories dispersed and staggered on the shelves, like you see in the photo above. This is setting the foundation so you can layer in smaller items next.
TIPS FOR ACCESSORIZING OPEN SHELVES - #3 KEEP BALANCE IN MIND
To create a balanced a harmonious arrangement, it will require immense patience - as you will be moving these options A LOT. It’s like a puzzle that has many possible solutions - but the right solutions have that feeling of balance. In the example above, my goal was to balance the more blue items by spacing them out from each other. Same thing for the metal finishes - spread around evenly. I also wanted balance in the scale of the various pieces on each shelf - to create a staggered look, of low and high items.
TIPS FOR ACCESSORIZING OPEN SHELVES - #4 MIX VINTAGE AND NEW ACCESSORIES
My final tip for accessorizing open shelves is to blend vintage/thrifted items with new items. Nothing looks more stagnant and staged than perfectly pristine pieces. Vintage items with some texture/patina will add depth, character, and will have your guests asking - where did you find this? And even better - thrift store and vintage accessories can help keep your budget in check.
I documented this process of how I accessorized my own open shelves, and saved them in my Instagram Stories Highlights - under “Shelves.” It’s a fun video showing how the accessorizing progresses…check it out here!