One of my favorite ways to refresh a room is by restyling shelves. I enjoy the challenge of clearing off a shelf and then working to give it a fresh look by styling it differently. It takes some trial and error, but interior styling feels like jigsaw puzzle – you gather up all of the pieces you want to use and then move them around until they look just right.
Do you enjoy styling bookshelves? Or does the thought of doing so perplex you? It’s taken me some major practice to finally get to a point where I feel like I’m decent at it. My shelves usually look okay, but I feel like I’ve taken them up a notch recently. Like I said, I’ve been practicing a lot.
I had a free Saturday afternoon recently so, naturally, I decided to spend my time doing a little decorating. And this bookshelf right inside our front door got a makeover. It only took me an hour to do, but I cannot get over how completely different it feels – and how much more stylish it looks! Here’s the before and after:
I feel like it looked okay before, but now it looks much more complete. Just to the right of the edge of this photo is a little nook with a coat closet and our front door. So this bookshelf needed to be stylish but also functional. It holds our hats and gloves, our mail and our keys. The shelf, along with the bench next to it, serve as our drop zone area for everything as we come and go.
I was able to refresh this shelf to be a more stylish and equally as functional , and I did it all for the cost of a $4 roll of wrapping paper plus things I had around the house.
Here are some tips to help you style a bookshelf in your home:
Wipe The Slate
Before you do anything else, wipe the slate clean. Clean everything off of your shelf and pile it up. You need to start with a fresh, empty shelf. And while you’re at it, give it a quick dusting.
Determine Its Purpose
Is your shelf purely decorative? Or does it need to be functional and stylish? Before you start decorating, figure out what, if any, purpose it needs to serve. This bookshelf serves as our drop zone so I needed to have a place to easily stash hats and gloves along with our mail and keys. Add storage containers and things you need to make the shelf serve its purpose.
Add Contrast & Color
Consider adding some dimension to your shelf. This bookshelf isn’t anything fancy, but I upgraded the look by adding a trendy black and white stripe backing. The all-black shelf felt so dark, so a bold pattern helped lighten it up and gave it some depth.
You can do the same thing to your shelf for a couple bucks and a few minutes! Cut out pieces of striped wrapping paper to fit and use double-sided tape to apply the paper to the shelf’s backing. It’s super quick and can make such a big impact, which is totally the kind of project I love! It’s a great way to play with color and pattern without committing to paint. Another option would be to actually paint your shelf a fun new color or even just paint the backing something unexpected.
Gather Decorative Objects
It’s helpful to have a lot of decor options at your fingertips. I keep extra decorations in a box that I pull out so I have some new options to play with. I also shop my house for objects, doing a walk-through and pulling various things from other places. You don’t need to go out and buy a bunch of new things, just work with what you have. I pile them all up on the floor, the couch or a nearby table so I can see what I’m working with.
Now for the real fun! Start arranging your decorations. Don’t be afraid to move things around and try out different items until it looks just right. Aim for incorporating a variety of shapes, sizes and heights to keep things interesting. It’s also pleasing to the eye to group things in sets of three.
With a little time and practice, you’ll be a styling pro in no time!
What are your interior styling secrets? I’d love to know!
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