Have you ever looked at a hutch, bookshelf or even open shelves and thought, “How did they do that so fabulously and why can’t I”? Oh, me too! I’ve spent lots of time pouring over beautifully arranged shelves and have come to the conclusion…there are some things that designers do over and over again that make their shelves look over-the-top! And there’s no reason we shouldn’t use these tricks too! So I applied a couple of these easy-to-do tricks and they worked! My shelves got better and better! And if they can do it so can I and YOU! So, today I’m sharing designer tricks for arranging shelves!
Today is HOME STYLE SATURDAY. That means I’m sharing one of my most popular posts from the past that help you decorate you home! Today’s post is all about making the open shelves in our homes look magazine worthy!
There is a treasure trove of fabulous home ideas and tons of tips and tricks to make your home the best it can be. Make sure to check out the posts from my blogging buddies at the end of this post.
I’m showing you how I decorated my family room farmhouse hutch for fall… and share some designer tricks for arranging shelves like a pro!
Here is the first of the two big take-aways from this post…
IF YOU WANT FABULOUS SHELVES DON’T USE THEM TO STORE YOUR “STUFF”
I know this sound counter intuitive because shelves are for storing things! Here’s what I’m saying… most of the time we need to decide how we want to use our shelves, hutches, and bookshelves that are in plain sight. Yes, we can store some beautiful things on them but we if fill them with “stuff” we can’t expect them to look like they came out of a magazine!
If your shelves are part of your decor treat them as decor spaces!
TRY A LIMITED COLOR PALETTE
We all love and strive for shelves that look cohesive and “put together”. One great way to do this is to use only a very few colors to decorate them.
Choose one color that will be primary in your arranging. Then choose a couple other colors that complement that color! Or choose one neutral color and a big pop of saturated color used very sparingly!
Give this a try. It makes a huge difference!
I used a primarily white and creamy white color palette with just a tad of galvanized metal and a little pop of brilliant fall orange.
DIVIDE YOUR SHELVES INTO A VISUAL GRID
The easiest way to know where to place something on a bookshelf or hutch is to divide the shelves up visually into a grid. My favorite way to divide an area like the one above is a nine box grid! Boy, does that make decorating the entire thing easier!
In my space above I decorated every box in the grid. This is not always necessary. Actually, it’s very good to let a box or two rest without anything in them. But, I’m such an over embelllisher that I can’t resist filling it all in! This is a case of do what I say… not as I do!
Just like we repeat element in decorating our homes, we should do the same with our shelves. Repeat color, metals, design elements, and textured. Repeat elements on a diagonal, as shown above. Doing this will keep your eyes bouncing around your shelves and they will be so happy!
Other repeated elements on my shelves are… pumpkins, bittersweet, fall leaves, milk bottle vases, platters, cake stands, game pieces and galvanized metal and groups of three.
This is a must for an interesting arrangement! Go tall and short and in between. Varying the heights of objects is pleasing to our eyes and keep them bouncing from one thing to another taking in everything on the shelves!
Here’s the second big take-away from this post…
Learning to layer decor will really make a hutch or bookshelf look like it was done by a pro! Stand up plates in the back of shelves, add books as risers, tuck in seasonal decor. Stack, stack, stack!
Layering decor adds depth and tons of charm!!!
It could be something as simple and easy and the pumpkins above. Instead of letting the trio stand alone, I put them in a galvanized metal container and put that on a small white platter. And to embellish this mimi vignette even more I added another repeated element to it… bittersweet!
EDIT EDIT EDIT
Before you call your decorated shelves “done” stand back and give the whole thing a good look. Then edit! And edit some more! I had lots of leaves in this arrangement and took most of them out. I like the edited, cleaner touch-of-fall look!
I am not a less-is-best kind of a girl, so this trick is always a little difficult for me! I am certainly not a minimalist! But I’m learning to be more discriminating!
This is the first fall for me to decorate the farmhouse hutch! What fun!!!!
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