An empty shelf offers promise – how will you fill the space? Deciding on how to start and what to include can be overwhelming, so here are some tips on how to create artful vistas.
1 Start with a blank
Although this may seem obvious, the first thing to do is dispose of any clutter and put aside things you no longer use. Be sparing when it comes to your display. A common mistake is to have too many small objects on a shelf. Remember that the bigger the items, the greater the impact; for example, some dramatic sculptural pieces can stand alone.
2 Decorate the back
Once everything is edited down, think about the shelves themselves’ for example, you can dress up the back of a built-in bookcase with fabric, paint or wallpaper for a stunning look. Focusing on the back introduces a feeling of depth and can provide a contrasting or complementary theme to the decor.
3 Hit the books
Shelf decorating starts with books. Group them into small stacks and place them both horizontally and vertically with pops of colour evenly distributed for a pulled-together look. Only group them by colour if you have enough books to create substantial blocks. Generally speaking, stacks should include three books as a minimum and not more than 12.
4 Achieving balance
Since shelves provide a lot of space, it is important to achieve a sense of symmetry. Don’t let shelves resemble a china shop with too many small trinkets or appear lost with too few objects. Smaller sculptural items can be grouped in pairs or can accent a vignette or book stack.
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5 Have a healthy mix
You can have fun with sculptures, objects, vessels, collections and flowers. Create a healthy mix and think in sculptural terms. Consider incorporating an organic material for a fresh look, such as a beautiful shell or petrified wood slices.
6 Final style
The last step is to mix together all our tips for a cohesive and fresh look. Stick to a particular colour palette or style, move things around for varied looks. Experiment with groupings and everything will fall into place.