How To Decorate Shelves In Living Room


How To Decorate Shelves In Living Room

Do you want to make your living room look nice? One way is to decorate the shelves. Shelves are those flat things on the wall where you can put stuff like books and decorations.

Decorating shelves can be fun and not hard. You can put different things on them like books, plants, and pictures. It’s like making a puzzle! In this guide, I’ll show you how to do it step by step. 

So let’s start making your living room look amazing with beautifully decorated shelves!

Get the Right Shelf Decor Pieces

Get the Right Shelf Decor Pieces
Get the Right Shelf Decor Pieces

The first step in your shelf-styling journey? Assembling the right decor pieces. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life (and shelves!). Collect items across different categories like books, plants, vases, bowls, and knick-knacks in various sizes, shapes, and colors. This diverse assortment will become the building blocks of your masterpiece.


However, amidst this variety, it’s crucial to maintain a sense of cohesion. Consider selecting a general color palette of 2-3 hues that complement your living room’s existing aesthetic. This unifying thread will tie your shelves together, creating a harmonious and visually appealing display.

Furthermore, balance is key. Incorporate a few statement pieces that demand attention, but counterbalance them with simpler, more subdued accents. This interplay between bold and understated elements will add depth and intrigue to your shelves, preventing them from appearing cluttered or overwhelming.

Decorating with Books

Books are the quintessential shelf-dwellers, and for good reason. Not only do they add warmth and character, but they also provide endless opportunities for creative styling. Here are a few tips for decorating with books.

  • Stack them horizontally and vertically, varying the heights for visual interest.
  • Utilize coffee table books as risers, elevating smaller decor pieces for added dimension.
  • Intersperse books amongst other decorative objects, creating a harmonious blend of literature and accents.

Knick Knacks Add Character

Knick-knacks are the unsung heroes of shelf decor, injecting personality and character into your displays. From small sculptures to wooden beads and whimsical paperweights, these little treasures add depth and interest to your shelves.

When incorporating knick-knacks, avoid a scattered, haphazard approach. Instead, group them together in creative arrangements, allowing their unique shapes and textures to complement one another. Antique or handmade pieces lend an extra touch of individuality, transforming your shelves into a reflection of your personal style.

Artwork and Signs as Focal Points

Artwork and Signs as Focal Points
Artwork and Signs as Focal Points

Artwork and signs are powerful tools for creating visually captivating focal points on your shelves. Hang framed art or mount signs for a gallery-like aesthetic, instantly drawing the eye towards these statement-making pieces.

When styling with artwork or signs, balance is crucial. Flank these focal points with smaller accents on either side, such as vases or sculptural objects. This symmetrical arrangement adds a sense of harmony and intentionality to your displays.


Moreover, choose pieces that complement your living room’s existing color scheme. A cohesive palette will ensure a seamless integration between your shelves and the surrounding space.

The Beauty of Vases

The Beauty of Vases
The Beauty of Vases

Vases are versatile workhorses in the realm of shelf decor. Not only do they add height and visual interest, but they also provide opportunities for creative arrangements that showcase your personal style.

Vary the heights of your vases, incorporating tall, statement pieces alongside dainty bud vases. Group vases of different textures and shapes together for a visually arresting display. Alternatively, place small vases atop stacks of books, creating a layered, multi-dimensional effect.

Vase Styling Suggestions

Tall, Slender Vases: Perfect for creating height and drawing the eye upward. Ceramic Bud Vases: Ideal for displaying small floral arrangements or greenery. Textured Vases: Add depth and interest with vases featuring intricate patterns or unique materials.

Decorate with Bowls

Decorate with Bowls
Decorate with Bowls

Bowls are unsung heroes in the world of shelf styling. Not only do they add visual interest, but they also serve as practical vessels for holding smaller decorative items.

Consider using bowls to contain glass pebbles, potpourri, or even a collection of seashells or pinecones. This simple act transforms an ordinary bowl into a curated display, adding layers of texture and depth to your shelves.

Alternatively, place larger bowls on their own as accents, creating focal points amidst your other decor pieces. Mix and match metallic, ceramic, and woven bowls for a visually stimulating contrast of materials and finishes.

Other Shelf Styling Ideas

Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to explore additional shelf styling options that will take your displays to new heights.

  1. Greenery: Add life and freshness to your shelves with real or faux plants in pots or vases. Not only do they inject vibrant pops of color, but they also create a sense of tranquility and serenity.
  2. Candles/Candlesticks: Incorporate candles or candlesticks for a touch of ambiance and warmth. These flickering accents instantly elevate the mood and coziness of your living room.
  3. Baskets and Trays: Baskets and trays serve dual purposes – they provide storage solutions while also acting as decorative pieces. Fill them with books, magazines, or small knick-knacks for a curated, organized look.
  4. Boxes: Decorative boxes add visual interest and can conceal clutter or unsightly items on your shelves. Choose boxes in complementary colors or materials for a cohesive look.

Remember, the key to successful shelf styling is balance, variety, and a touch of personal flair. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with different arrangements until you find the perfect combination that speaks to your unique style.

Frequently Asked Question

How do I avoid making my shelves look cluttered? 

Start with fewer items and stick to a cohesive color palette. Incorporate negative space between decor pieces for visual breathing room.

What’s the best way to style shelves with books?

Stack books horizontally and vertically in varying heights. Use larger coffee table books as risers for decorative objects.

How do I create a focal point on my shelves?

Display a statement art piece or sculptural object. Flank it with smaller accents on either side for balance.

How can I add height to my shelf decor?

Incorporate tall vases or candlesticks. Place small items on top of vertically stacked books for varied levels.

What kind of knick-knacks work well on shelves?

Look for unique pieces like wooden beads, ceramic figurines or vintage objects with interesting textures.

How do I make my shelves look cohesive? 

Use a maximum of 3 colors repeated throughout. Mix materials like wood, metal and ceramic for visual interest.

Can I display plants on bookshelves? 

Absolutely! Real or faux plants add liveliness. Use small pots on book stacks or larger planters on shelves.


Decorating shelves in your living room can be a creative and enjoyable process. By following the tips and ideas shared in this guide, you can transform your shelves into stylish focal points that reflect your personality and enhance the overall look of your space. 

Remember to balance different items in terms of size, color, and texture to create visual interest and harmony. Whether you choose to display books, plants, pictures, or decorative knick-knacks, the key is to have fun and experiment with different arrangements until you find what works best for you.

With a little creativity and imagination, you can turn your shelves into eye-catching displays that make your living room feel warm, inviting, and uniquely yours. 

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