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Home styling: How to style a shelf

Have you ever looked at a shelf on Pinterest or in a store and thought, ‘I can do that at home’, and then when you attempted the shelfie you ended up pulling your hair out because it just wouldn't work? We hear ya.

A well-styled shelf will look simple, but the reality is that it takes careful planning and attention to detail to make a shelf look seamless, interesting and relevant to the room.

We have used all of the items in our Living Room Gift Hamper to demonstrate how easy it is to style a shelf when you have a little bit of know-how.

Below are the five steps we followed to style this shelf.

How to style a shelf  - the final shelf

The anchor

Start with a large frame that is proportionate to the size of the shelf. Lean it against the wall so it acts as an anchor or hero piece. It will also become the back layer for other items to come.

Tip: Your anchor doesn’t have to be a frame. It could be a tapestry, canvas, large object or books.

Large frame to anchor the shelf

Visual triangles

Here we have added a vase and candle to create the first of two visual triangles. Visual triangles help guide the eye, rather than overwhelm it. If the frame, the white lattice vase and the candle were all the same height, there would be no negative space or visual interest making it tricky for the eye to know where to look.

Tip: If you don’t have items that are varied in height, prop one of them up on a stack of books or a decorative box.

Visual triangle to style a shelf 

Welcome colour 

Up until this point, we have used a fairly neutral colour palette because we didn't want to confuse the eye. The rose vase (which is actually a fine bone china jug – so versatile!) draws upon other accents in the room such as a pinky velvet cushion, giving the shelf purpose. We love this vase (erm, jug) because the shine of its electroplate coating introduces a metallic texture to the overall arrangement and looks stunning when the sun beams in each morning. The vibrant yellow flowers provide a burst of interest and can be changed at any time to quickly and easily create a completely different look and feel.

Tip: Choose a colour that is already in the room and set that as your signature shelf colour. Including different shades of the one colour is a simple way to keep it interesting without going over the top.

 step three for shelf styling


Similar to the right hand side, we have placed items in front of other items to create depth, texture and another visual triangle.

Tip: Layering items of different shapes, sizes and textures while keeping the visual triangle in mind creates a more appealing and balanced shelf.

Styling a shelf using visual triangles 

Tinker and tweak

Don’t be afraid to move your décor items around and try new looks, even days after you’ve styled your shelf. Stand back, reflect and refine until you get a style that you just can’t stop looking at.

If you want to create this shelf head on over to our Gift Hamper range where you’ll find all of the décor items* bundled beautifully together in our Living Room Gift Hamper.

Gift items to style a shelf

*The large print is not part of this parcel but can be found on Society 6.

If you've styled a shelf you're proud of, we'd love to see it on Instagram or Facebook #littlekohashelfie 

With gratitude

Chloe's signature


1 comment

  • Brenda Fulton: July 21, 2017

    Thanks for the styling tips Chloe. Great help and I love the beautiful décor items.

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