5 tips to nail the perfect shelfie


Internet, if there’s one thing that gets my heart aflutter, it’s a beautifully styled and functional bookshelf. (And as cheesy as it is, I adore the whole #shelfie thing happening on Instagram.)  It probably goes back to my love of libraries and the fantasy of a beautiful room filled to the brim with books of all kinds, Beauty & the Beast-style (that library! Amiright?). But beyond that, they’re a great way to organize your items, feature decorations, and express your style.  Over the years, I’ve learned a few things from shelf styling and I thought you might benefit from these tips too! And as always, I want to see what you’re doing in your house. The more the merrier, right?



Don’t feel like you need to display every single trinket you own. Edit, edit edit! Put out your pretty stuff that brings you joy – whatever you end up using should be something you want to look at regularly. Find an inspiration image and analyze what makes the look work. Is it the lighting? The artwork? The books? And once you’ve got everything in place, you may end up changing it seasonally.




In design, luxury is defined as being surrounded by plenty of white space. White space is simply that – empty space around an item. In graphic design, the white space is almost as important as the design itself. And when it comes to looking high end, having breathing room is everything. So don’t feel like you have to fill every last square inch of your shelves. Sometimes less is more.



Take a cue from retail display: repetition is key to display. Buy up items in 3s or 5s for maximum visual impact. Sometimes only a single item can look wimpy, depending on the overall scale of the shelf.  Start by placing the biggest items. If you’re on a budget, go for big scale items at stores like Target, At Home, Home Goods, Hobby Lobby etc.  Boxes, lanterns, trays, stoneware, candles – the sky’s the limit.  (Oh, and I really liked this article on the art & science of retail displays. There’s a reason those shops look so appealing!).  Fill it in with smaller items as you go.




Plan on taking your time with getting the arrangement the way you want it. It takes me hours to get a shelf just right, and even then I’ll probably continue to tinker with it for a few days.  Most of all, have fun with it and experiment to get the right look. You may end up needing more items to pick from than you might think. Think outside the box with what you want to display, and take into consideration what will also be functional.


Geometry matters in design.It’s not a hard and fast rule, but sometimes you’ll want to visually weight your bookshelves with the heaviest items at the bottom and build up to a point at the top. It’s as if you’re creating a triangular design overall, much in the way the golden mean creates a similar effect in art and architecture. #themoreyouknow #artlessonoftheday




Ok, Internet – get to stylin’ those shelves! And tag me on Instagram when you do! #pencilshavingsshelfie


with love,

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