How to style a Pinterest-worthy shelf

Master the shelfie.

Shelf, interior design, bookshelf
Image via Pinterest / Waiting On Martha | Style by Emily Henderson

There’s no denying it: a well-styled shelf, whether big or small, evokes major room envy. Like every room in your home, your bookshelf can (and should) be an extension of your interests and personality. It can involve pristine order and uniform stacks of books, no books at all, conversation-starting souvenirs or a bit of everything. And that’s the beauty of interior design, there are no rules.

But, with this being said, we get that styling an interesting and chic shelf is easier said than done. That’s why we’ve put together a few tips and tricks for arranging your pieces like a pro.

5 tips for styling your shelf like a pro

1Start with books

Image via Pinterest / Square Space

Books (cracked spines and all) are a no-brainer for any bookcase or shelf. Try a mix of vertical and horizontal arrangements to keep things interesting. You could even arrange your books by colour if you’re struggling to make your space look pulled together.

2Add artwork

Image via Style By Emily Henderson

Sure, not all shelving units can house artwork, but if you can, we highly suggest you do it. It’s a tried-and-true designer trick that always looks beautiful, and creates the illusion of depth. Click here to read our guide on how to find amazing (and affordable) art.

3And sculptural pieces

Image via Pinterest / Waiting On Martha

From vases and beautiful bowls to photo frames and crystals, sculptural pieces add personality and flair to any shelf. Just be sure to mix up the textures, sizes, styles and tones but stay within your colour palette so it doesn’t look like a thrift store.

4Work with negative space

Image via Pinterest / Refinery29

While you may be tempted to fill every nook and cranny with ornaments, negative space can actually work in your favour. Negative space puts the focus on the big ticket items you want to show off. In addition, your shelf won’t look so cluttered.

5Change it up

Image via Ikea

One of our all-time favourite shelf styling tricks is to change up the placement of items every few months (or weekend if you’ve got the time or energy). We guarantee it’ll make your space feel (almost) brand new.


Can’t find a bookshelf to fit your space or suit your style? Check out Reddie, a unique brand that allows you to customise hand-crafted furniture.