Interior Design Tips for a Great "Shelfie"

In all of my years of designing, I've learned that the one area almost every homeowner struggles with is their shelves. And I completely understand why - there's a fine line between perfectly balanced, well-styled shelves and a clutter of meaningful memorabilia. But the truth is that shelves are often a focal point of any room, so thoughtful styling is key for an overall pleasant design. If you're sitting at home, glancing at your shelves wondering, "oh dear... is she talking about me?" I promise, I am here for you! Pour yourself a glass of wine, and let's review the six key interior design tips for creating a great "shelfie".

Tip 1: Give Your “Shelfie” Room to Breath

Don’t be afraid to leave open space between displayed objects and groupings.  “Less is more” is definitely a good rule of thumb when adding things to a shelf. Take a look at the items you are considering and weed out those items that don’t hold sentimental value to you, look beautiful or provide a function.

Give Your Shelfie A Little Room To Breathe .jpg



Tip 2: A Little Variation Goes a Long Way in Interior Design

Each shelf should not match the next. Try your best to not place the same type of object on one shelf directly below or above it.  For instance, do not center a box on one shelf and then put another box on the shelf directly below it. Placement should vary throughout your shelves, but a little repetition here and there never hurts. Also keep in mind that when you start to feel like a shelf may be accumulating too much, vary the number of objects on each shelf. I like to use the 3 over 2 rule. If one shelf has 3 objects, the shelf below should only have 1-2 objects. The photo below shot at House of Morrison, is a perfect example of varying the number of products between shelves, and also showing an appropriate flow of repition.


House of Morrison

Tip 3: Break Out Your Reading Materials

Even if you are that person that sticks to reading solely through a kindle or iPad, books will make a big difference in your “shelfie” and interior design as a whole so we recommend finding some to include. In that, we do not believe paperback books are worthy of display.  Look for hardback books, whether novels or a larger format coffee table book, that will hold their own in the “shelfie.” Use them both stacked horizontally and vertically. Consider a stack of 2 or 3 books with a small object on top or vertically using a bookend of another object to keep upright. If you are going for a more modern look stick with deep neutrals and whites for colors, but with a more lively space incorporate a few bright colors in. A favorite store of ours for great book finds is the Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles – they even have a section where the books are organized by color!


Library from Shes A Super Chic by Denise Morrison Interiors.png

Office from She's A Super Chic                                                      Architectural Digest

Tip 4: Interior Design Elements to Consider – Texture and Color

Develop a color palette just as you would for the interior design of a room. Within your color palette, vary texture and color as if you are looking at the shelf unit as a whole.  Don’t load up on all dark in one area or all light in another. Scattering things throughout with a nice balance is the best approach. A great way in which to add both texture and color is to find some amazing indoor plants to place throughout - see below!

Interior Design Tips for a Great Shelfie by Denise Morrison Interiors - Texture & Color

Apartment F15

Tip 5: All Good “Shelfies” Need An Artist’s Touch

Art adds personality and depth to a “shelfie” and is definitely a must have if your spacing allows for it. You can prop them against the back or find small art easels to use. The pieces will draw your eye back and create layers within the shelf space. Below you will see we incorporated small prints in simple frames throughout to bring a more playful tone in this lofty library space.


 Library From She's A Super Chic 

Tip 6: Edit, Edit, and then Edit Some More!

Now take something off and refer back to tip #1 and allow the cycle to commence! Remember: Less is more. Play around with the accessories you have lying around your home first and then be sure to stop by my favorite shop, House of Morrison to pick up any extras that will bring a little extra personality to your space. I am so excited to see what y'all come up with. Be sure to comment below if you have any extra tips of your own!