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“Texture and interesting pieces are not always enough – seek out balance when decorating shelves by moving your pieces around until you are happy with not only the look but the feel!”

I love this picture and when I posted it at Pinterest I never imagined it would garner so much attention. It has been re-pinned over 1,000 times already.

I believe that one of the hardest decorating tasks a homeowner faces is to taking their loved possessions and arrange them, especially on a shelf or bookcase so that it is pleasing to the eye, balanced and interesting.

Quick note ~ If you are here for the DIY Staging to Sell you can certainly learn about shelf arranging but do not work to make your shelves in the home you are selling draw too much attention and be too interesting. Your goal is much different and it is to draw attention away from your possessions and draw attention to what you are actually selling – your home – countertops – flooring – walls. Even if you have beautiful built-in units they should not be filled with fun and interesting pieces.

Take notes and get some ideas for your next house.

So let’s look at some shelf arrangements and demystify why they work.



Now let’s look at this picture again. This could have turned out a big mess instead a beautiful tribute to ethnic pieces filled with texture, interest and cohesiveness and is a good example of how to place items of the same color and similar size.

The first lesson in arranging shelves is how the pieces are spaced – looking at what we have to work with – we have pieces of similar height, a sets of three items as well as multiples of a few pieces. When working with pieces that are all similar in height is more difficult but there are tricks you can use.

Notice they all have white space around them to let the eye rest. This gives each piece importance and allows you to take them in as individual pieces. If you started layering books, greenery and smaller items it would take away the impact and the beauty of each piece individually and make much less interesting.

If you have statement pieces, collections of glass vases, vessels and bowls and sculptures this is a good way to showcase them.



This picture is a good example of using greenery to fill in between pieces. Using silk greenery can make items that are not cohesive work together. If you look at the top shelf and the third shelf down you have pieces that are about the same height but are not interesting enough to stand alone. The greenery grounds the pieces and you hardly notice the competing heights.



If you need a to mix up the height of items of similar size use books, a low wicker basket turned upside down or a small pedestal will work to vary the height and add interest.


Pottery Barn

If you have lots of small things you need to corral them and they will become one. This bookcase would look cluttered and busy if all the books now residing in the baskets were stacked on the shelves. The beautiful texture of the baskets does a wonderful job of making something that would be quite unpleasing into something beautiful adding texture and interest.



Everything on these shelves has an interesting texture and is pulled together by the repeat of the colors. The lesson here is that you don’t need to leave everything just as it is. Notice the books – if you have books that you want to use but they are not the right color ~ simply purchase some scrapbooking paper and slipcover them. Spray paint vases and decorative items if you want to use them but they are just the wrong color. Vases don’t have to hold flowers and mixing metals is wonderful as in this mix of gold, silver, brushed dark metal and grey stone.



Talk about taking everyday items and making them look interesting. A vintage fan, glass jars filled sea shells and items with texture and interest, an old camera and some books. Again as in the first picture ~ when you leave space in between pieces they become more important and interesting to the eye.

The lesson here is the placement of the books. Starting at the bottom they are placed center, left, center and center which draws your eye back and forth and up. They could be all centered but then the other items would be less visible and your eye would simply travel up the middle.



Don’t you love this idea of using wasted space on the side wall of a stairway for shelves? What makes this combination work? The color scheme is simple – black – which is grounding, white which almost disappears and the touch of green – which you almost don’t notice (green is represented on each shelf).

The lesson here is the placement of pictures move your eye from right – left – and back. Add in some Interest ~ textural (apples and pinecones), warm and cozy (family pictures), a few books spine facing the wall so it is not distracting and not too much stuff.

I hope you got some ideas for your own shelves ~ have some fun with your shelves move things around add in some pieces and take some away. Play with it until it feels good to you.

Regulars know that each week I touch upon one of the four areas of DIY I love – Décor ~ Staging to Sell ~ Feng Shui ~ and Home Improvement. Next month when you return for our DIY Décor I will take one shelf and arrange it four different ways explaining each step we take to getting the right mix and placement of things to use.

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Blessings for a beautiful week!


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