Style Shelves Like A Pro

Hey readers. I am sharing some tips to style shelves like a pro.

We have all ooo’d and ahhh’d over perfectly styled shelves in magazines and on Pinterest. Well, maybe I just have.

It is confession time. I have struggled with the process in the past.

But, now I can say with confidence that I have shelves I am proud of!

I wanted to share my version of perfectly styled shelves with you and also some tips that I have learned from a fellow blogger.

Studying magazines helps a bit too.

Are you stuck trying to figure out how to style your shelves? These simple tips will have you styling your shelves like a pro!


style your shelves like a pro


 Tips to style shelves like a pro:


Contrast & Cohesiveness

This is the perfect time to show off your collection of white dishes. I love the contrast of gray with white. The look is crisp, clean, and beachy. If you have the same color pieces such as white, make sure they are not all the same style. Even though the dishes are all white, let them have different shapes and textures to them. This will give your eyes a chance to wander around your shelves looking at the uniqueness of each piece while having that cohesiveness of the same color palette.

styling shelves like a professional


I have learned through trial and error that you need to start at the back and work your way to the front. Platters work the best in the back because they add dimension to the space. I kept the platters white to stay cohesive, but yet their shape is different and they have softer edges.

styling shelves like a pro

First layer

The next crucial concept I learned was to layer. Everything looks better in decor when it is layered. It creates a ‘collected over time’ feel. You definitely want this ‘feel’ when styling shelves. The first layer doesn’t have to be much as I show above, but it adds another element in size and texture as well.

styling shelves like a pro


This is a key element. If I had all white dishes and nothing else in this space it would not be pleasing to the eye. The texture of the faux coral gives the shelves more dimension and your brain says…’let me go touch it’. It plays to our senses. And notice that the coral is yet another layer.

styling shelves like a pro


Create a sense of warmth

The last thing you want is a sterile looking space. Which brings me to warmth. Wood. I love incorporating worn wood into my shelving displays. Again, it brings in that collected over time feel and another layer of texture. Space the wood pieces throughout the shelving. These collected pieces will also be conversation starters when entertaining or just reminiscing about those great flea market finds.

style shelving like a pro

Vertical display

Another element I like to incorporate is stacking or vertical display. As you can see above I placed the old books for texture and warmth, then added a white compote on top. It is always good practice to make sure not to over do this element. Just keep it as simple as possible.

style shelving like a pro

Finishing touches

Finishing touches is the very last element before taking a step back and admiring your styled shelves!These can be anything from a few vintage keys to a string of beads. It is that last layer with a few fun elements to bring it all together.

style shelves like a pro


style shelves like a pro


(Affiliate links are provided below for your convenience.  For more information, see my full disclosure here.)

Shop the look to style shelves like these:

Are you stuck trying to figure out how to style your shelves? These simple tips will have you styling your shelves like a pro!

I hope this helps you style shelves the way you have always wanted.

And, if you are crazy about white dishes like I am, check out the best decorating tip ever invented! There is definitely more eye candy where that came from, I assure you.

Let me know if you have questions or need assistance with your shelf decorating project. I am always here!

Oh, and I did paint this beast of a hutch by the way….

Are you curious how the hutch looked before it was transformed? Just click on the picture to find out.


country chic cobblestone hutch

Until next time,

Shell signature 3 revised





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  1. Beautifully done! I love every step and every piece! That hutch is fabulous too. Love the contrast of the white dishes and the gray. Pinning!
    Deb recently posted…Sunday FavoritesMy Profile

    • Thank you so much Deb! It is one of my favorite pieces. It was a huge painting project. I still need to share the before/after. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Love how you styled these shelves! The white and gray with a touch of wood tones looks fantastic! The simple elements and perfect heights/widths of all the items in the shelves makes for a striking display. Thanks for sharing the styling tips.
    Lori recently posted…Italian Wine-Themed TablescapeMy Profile

  3. Great job styling this hutch! I love the contract of the white and the warmth of the wood elements. The gray paint that you used is lovely, could you tell me what color it is? Thanks!

    • Allyson, thank you. The paint line is Country Chic Paint and the color is Cobblestone. Hope that helps.

    • Thank you Tara! This week I am trying to do some decluttering. It is amazing how much stuff you acquire over the years.Have a great week.

  4. Love the way you styled the hutch and the great tips you shared! Love your addition of white dishes – they look great next to the grey! I’m new to your blog and really enjoy it!
    Thanks for sharing,

  5. Love this! Maybe I can borrow you when it comes time to revamp our office shelves…? They are a disaster and there is no rhyme or reason to the book and knick knack placement.
    Rosy @ just my rosy life recently posted…deviled eggsMy Profile

    • I would love to help you out Rosy, just send me an email and a photo and we can chat about it, no problem!

  6. Michelle,
    Lovely styling of your cabinet, dear one!!!
    I adore the contrast of the gray & white!!!
    The “touch” of brown adds that sense of warmth you were seeking!!!
    Thanks for sharing your creative talent!!!
    Pat recently posted…Autumn’s First Call. . .My Profile

    • Hey there friend! Thank you for the kind words…you are the queen of inspiration! Love all your projects. So awesome are you!!


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