Pro Tips for Styling a Shelf

Many people, especially when having custom furniture fitted, get so involved in the creation of the furniture itself that they feel a bit lost when it comes to what to do next. Now you have the shelving of your dreams, how do you create a special display which will do it justice? Unless you’re an interior designer it can be really tricky to know where to start – especially if the shelving or cabinet stretches across an entire wall.

Well, fear not! Here at Empatika we’ve seen every type of shelf design, media cabinet and bookcase possible and know exactly how to style it like a pro. We can help you put all your belongings into your new piece of furniture with ease. Here’s our top tips for creating a stylish arrangement on your shelves.

  1. Reduce

The first step is to actually reduce your books and belongings that you plan to put back on display. The truth is you probably don’t need or use quite a lot of it, and cluttering up your brand new shelves is not the best way to make them look pretty. Don’t worry, not every bit of every shelf needs to be displaying something – empty space is good too. If you’re having trouble choosing what is important enough to keep, then our de-cluttering service can help you get the most out of your fitted furniture.

  1. A wide variety

To make the perfect display, you need to make sure you use a large variety of objects so the collection doesn’t look flat. This means articles of different heights, textures, colours and sizes and of course lots of different bits and bobs. For example, don’t just use a shelf entirely for DVDs and the next shelf entirely for books. You need to mix it up for it to look stylish.

  1. Negative space

We’ve already touched on this but it’s so important it gets its own step! Don’t be tempted to fill every little nook and cranny with stuff. A good display needs empty space in order to create accents and points of interest. Negative space also shows thoughtful placement of other objects, as you have consciously decided which areas to place objects and which areas to leave free. It can really help you show off the most important things on your bookshelf.

  1. Forget symmetry

For some reason we are drawn to symmetry in design, but this is definitely something to forget when it comes to styling shelves. You want to focus on creating different heights and groupings – nothing should match. Therefore don’t put your tall vases at the ends of the shelves, and similarly don’t create a vertical collection of books.

  1. Show your personality

A display cabinet or bookcase, no matter where it is placed in the home, is a chance to tell your story. It should be filled to the brim with things you love, memories of people and the places you’ve seen and things you’re dreaming of or interested in. Feel free to create themes within the display, whether that be a travel narrative or a number of collector’s items. As long as the objects within the theme aren’t too similar, it is fine to group them together to tell a story. If you’re struggling for quirky additions, think about flowers or small succulents, or keepsakes you may have hidden away at the moment.

Being faced with an empty floor to ceiling bookcase which is the entire width of the wall can of course be daunting – but follow these tips and you should be fine. Slowly but surely, curate your collection into your personal story.

Take a look at our custom shelving gallery for more inspiration.