Styling shelves can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be…

When inspiration struck to decorate my kitchen shelves for Easter/Spring I started with a jumping off point of knowing I would use these precious bunny plates from Pottery Barn

Shelf styling is a common struggle when it comes to home decorating. A blank, flat surface with a million possibilities…where do you start?? Let me bring you inside my decor brain. (You’ll have to push aside the faux florals and bead strands to find a seat.😉) An empty shelf is a canvas ready to be brought to life by your creativity and personal style. Have fun with it! To get started choose a theme or color scheme. Are these shelves going to be left the same for awhile or changed out seasonally? Either way, start by getting a plan together for the elements and the colors you want to feature.

The idea I had in mind when decorating my shelves last summer was to bring the feeling of the outdoors in. I used terracotta pots and greenery with some woods and whites to ground the look.

Start with a blank slate

The first thing I do after determining the look I’m going for on my shelves is give myself a blank slate. Previously I had my shelves styled for Valentine’s Day, so first I clear off the existing decor. There are some neutral items I use as a base layer on my shelves quite a bit, so those items stay close at hand. Give the shelves a good dusting, then we’re ready to create or masterpiece!!

As I clear the shelves I group items into categories. The seasonal items I’m done with go into a group and then get cleared off my work surface to make room for the new items coming in.

Now let’s add a base layer

The shelves in my kitchen are not very wide, but that doesn’t stop me from adding layers of decor to create visual interest and texture. I start by placing the base layer, which I’d say are the anchor pieces for the shelves. I tend to stick with a pretty similar base with my shelf decor. Cutting boards, antique Ironstone pieces I pick up from the thrift store or antique mall, corbels, etc… To get started I place the anchor pieces where I think they’ll look best, like pictured below, but let’s face it… they will probably be shifted quite a bit as I continue to add elements to the shelves.

I start with a neutral base layer. Since these shelves are in the kitchen I typically decorate them with items used in the kitchen.

Time to start adding our Seasonal elements

The second layer I add is the seasonal or themed elements. I’m styling the shelves for the upcoming spring & Easter season, so I’m bringing in bunnies and blooms. When I looked through my spring decor I knew my bunny plates would be the key pieces that I’d be working around. I have the matching dinner plates so I decided to try to tie those in as well.

When I’m layering plates on my shelves I use drawer gripper to hold them in place. I cut small squares and place it under the edges.
Here you can see that I layered a cutting board in front of the decorative metal tile piece. I then added the floral plate in front of that. Layers upon layers!!

Time for some florals

Now that we have our anchors and themed layers in place let’s bring in a bit of texture with greenery and florals. These real touch faux tulips (pictured above) are one of my favorite florals to use in my spring decor. I placed some in a few white creamers I’ve collected over time and as you see they become an added layer to our shelves.

I add a touch of faux greenery in front of the plate to add a bit of texture and movement to the space.
This sweet little vase was a gift from my godparents a few years back. I love adding it to my shelves, but it needs a bit of height added so it can be seen better. I use tiny wood slices to help raise up small items. I found the wood slices at Hobby Lobby.
Depending on the season, try adding different colors and textures of greenery. I added this lighter wispy greenery to a small green vase I picked up from a garage sale a few years back. I placed it in front of the white corbel to help it stand out.

Now for the final touches

To finish things off add in the small details. Since I’m decorating the shelves for Easter of course I decided to bring in some eggs. Find little pockets of space and layer the small detail items in. Add in other details for texture. For this shelf style I added decor bead strands and nests.

Using different sizes and colors helps add to the interest of the decor.
To help this aquamarine glass bead strand stand out , I draped it over an old spindle I found at an outdoor flea market.

Creating a space you love takes time

Don’t worry if after you finish your space you aren’t in love. Look it over and see if there are pieces that need to be removed or switched around. It usually takes a few tries before I have things just how I want them. There’s also a mess to be made when it comes to decorating. Let it happen… there’s beauty in the chaos, and you can clean it up after you have the project complete.

This is what my countertop looked like as I was decorating my shelves. A swirl of cast aside items I decided not to use, extra items that I pulled out thinking they might get used, my coffee (typically forgotten and cold by the time I’m done) and random greenery.

Something I didn’t touch on was tying in areas that are close by. For example, I have a cake stand beside my coffee maker. Take elements used on your shelves and tie them into nearby areas as well.

I used a white pitcher with more of the faux tulips to tie into the area I used them on the shelves. I also added a bunny, nest, eggs, and decor beads to tie the space together.

Now it’s your turn…

Okay, now tell me, did this help you gain confidence in styling your shelves? I hope you have pulled some inspiration to use these tips for styling shelves or a table top in your home. The key is to have fun and not let it get overwhelming. Start with your theme and build from your anchor pieces. You’ve got this!!

Tips for Styling Kitchen Shelves