3 Tips to Style Shelves Like a Pro

3 Tips to Style Shelves Like a Pro

Crafted by Berber artisans. Curated by decor enthusiasts

This article was written by Janiece Lonvelin of HONE Design Studio LLC as part of our Interior Design Newsletter series.

Styling shelves is all about proportions, finding the right scale, amount, and color of objects that fill and balance the space nicely. How do you go about doing that? Consider these three tips that will help you style your shelves like a pro. First, consider the space you’re styling in height, width, and depth so you can determine the right number of objects and their size. Second, consider the color of the surrounds, e.g. walls and shelves, to decide on a color palette for the objects. Third, pick objects that bring in balance and that are aligned with the intended feel for the space.


1) Consider the space dimensions to determine the number of objects and their size

Before you start purchasing items to fill your shelves, make note of the space. Take measurements that will help in narrowing out your selection when out sourcing. The most important measurements are shelf-to-shelf height and depth. I’ve had my fair share of failures, seeing the perfect item online and hitting the purchase button only to receive it and figure out that it’s too big! This will help you think of amount and scale when you’re out and about and unsure of an item. Lastly, take note of how deep the shelf is. I’ve found this to be extremely useful, especially when looking to place larger baskets. Take a cheat sheet of measurements, and keep them in mind.


2) Consider the surrounds to select appropriate object colors

One thing I find really helpful in creating an impactful shelf moment is taking note of the surrounding colors for the objects to be placed. What is the wall color, what color are the shelves themselves, and what color themes do you already have in the space and your home? This will help you select the right color for the objects. For example, if your shelves are all white and you’re not going for a tonal or moody feel, you might want to stick to items that have more warmth and color, avoiding those that share the same color as the walls so they don’t get washed out.


3) Pick objects that bring in balance and that align with the intended feel for the space

In order to bring in balance to shelves, I like to focus first on purchasing the larger objects, which will not only help you get there faster but will also help you avoid purchasing too many items. Larger objects give shelves that impactful moment. Remember that you want to fill the shelves both horizontally and vertically, for which I typically start with larger items and then add the small ones to fill in. This could include books, frames, sculptures, bowls, vases, greenery, etc. Most importantly, you’ll want to create groupings with various heights. In the end, you’re trying to create a flow of hills and valleys that balance out the space with enough objects and empty space.

Finally, think about the story you want to tell with your shelving space. Do you want shelves filled with memories, heirlooms, objects from your travels, or do you want a more minimalistic calming feel?



Once you know your game plan, it’s time to go shopping! Selecting the styling objects can be a bit overwhelming when you’re out shopping, but knowing what you’re looking for and the intended style and feel will help funnel out distracting items. 

Styling shelves is fun, and the end result should represent you and your family. I hope this helps you next time you style a space in your home!

About HONE Design Studio

HONE Design Studio is located in Southern California, servicing clients in Los Angeles and Orange County as well as remotely through e-design. 

Our studio focuses on creating unique spaces that are not only beautiful but also soothing and livable. Our top priority is utilizing the power of interior design to improve your wellness and wellbeing through thoughtful designs that meet your needs, both functionally and aesthetically, to leave you with a timeless and nestable home.


For inspiration and inquiries, you can find Hone Design Studio here:
Instagram: @hone_designstudio
Phone: 949-441-4480