how toTuesday, 31 August 2021

Homeware: How to decorate a shelf



After spending much of the past year at home, it’s only natural that your eye has turned to ways in which you can reinvigorate your living space. With so many new and exciting homeware brands to choose from, refreshing your decorative designs has never been more enticing. When renovating your home, it can be hard to know where to begin, but a great place to start is by decorating a bookshelf. Whether you’re blessed with a large amount of space to play with or want to focus on just one cosy corner, a well-styled shelf is exactly what you need to bring personality to your home.


Start your shelf-styling journey with some inspiration from four lifestyle influencers. They walk us through how they’ve styled their shelves, share their top tips for shelf styling and let us know the homeware pieces on their Wishlists. 

Monica Welburn (@monicabeatrice)


Lifestyle Blogger based in Hampshire, United Kingdom with the HAY Juice striped vase and Lex Pott candlesticks 


Talk us through how you’ve styled your shelves
I have a love of the Mediterranean, my mum (Mama Eliana) is Italian and my family have a home in Menorca. The colours, textures and energy of the Med are woven throughout my home. When I was styling this shelf I had the curves and colours of Venice in mind. The blue HAY vase reminds me of Murano glass. I’ve filled it with an arrangement of abundant blooms, which is one of my favourite ways to bring life into a space. The Raawi Strøm vase reminds me of the vibrant buildings in Burano, an island just off of Venice. The Assouline Capri Dolce Vita book is another nod to the Med. I collect coffee table books and have them scattered around my home and open them up for a little escape and inspiration. Finally the curved Lex Pott candlesticks are a fun play on a classic, I don’t know if I’ll ever light them, they’re too pretty.


Top tips for shelf styling: Firstly, group objects in threes for balance. Secondly, use books as a base layer. Thirdly, collect objects you love whenever you come across them. Mix old and new and, lastly, use pinterest for inspiration. 

How do you decorate a shelf without cluttering? 
My advice for decorating shelves without cluttering, if you like collecting objects (like I do), is to have a ‘hard reset’ every few months. I have a lot of decorative things. So, every now and then, I do a big edit of my shelves. I remove everything and start afresh. The beginning of a new season is a good time to do this. I start with the largest pieces and add layers until a shelf feels full. The final touch for me is always some sort of flower or foliage, be it fresh or dried. Ultimately, I feel like the time comes when you instinctively know that there’s ‘enough’ on a shelf. Anything which is out of season I store.


What key pieces do you recommend displaying to make your shelves look nice?
There are pieces which I think always look great on shelves — books, vases, photo frames, candles and small decorative objects. If you’re just starting out, I suggest sticking to a colour scheme you’re comfortable with. Choose a few neutrals, and a couple of accent colours. If you use consistent hues your items will feel harmonious. This shelf is actually quite bright for me, but I knew that the pieces would work well with others I already have. I love blues, earthy colours and sunset hues.

Which other homeware pieces do you currently have your eye on? 
I have a thing for coloured glass, these NasonMoretti tumblers are stunning in smoky green. My collection of tablecloths grows by the year. They’re my secret weapon when it comes to hosting. I love choosing a colour scheme and selecting dinnerware, glasses and flowers to match. This Once Milano rose pink linen tablecloth is an unexpected neutral. 

I like to light one large candle in my hallway to scent the entranceway for guests, or just for my husband and I. This Cire Trudon The Alabasters Ernesto candle looks just as beautiful unlit as it will do when it perfumes a space with its leather and tobacco aroma. Heaven.



Hege Morris (@hege_morris)

Interior stylist based in Glasgow, Scotland with the HAY Complot candle holder and W&S asymmetric ribbed vase


Talk us through how you’ve styled your shelves
When it comes to decorating my own home, I’m naturally drawn to neutral-toned furniture. Our ‘70s home is full of architectural features, high ceilings and large windows. I’ve kept the interiors minimal to draw attention to those features, and I keep within a neutral colour palette for a calming atmosphere. With that in mind, I’ve chosen the HAY Complot candle holder for its neutral ‘70s aesthetic and strong sculptural look, alongside the large-scale W&S ribbed vase designed by Wang & Söderström for HAY. I’ve styled these shelves in a visually striking way. I love the texture of the ribbed vase and how the shadows reflect it. 


Top tips for shelf styling: I like making designs stand out and I always add in oversized pieces to disrupt the space. If everything was the same size, you’d feel no sense of the dynamic. Here, for example, the vase is pretty large, but without flowers and featured more as a sculpture, it makes a statement. Notice also, that even though I’ve used a neutral colour palette, a touch of black lifts the whole thing. 


How do you decorate a shelf without cluttering? 
I make sure the entire shelf isn’t covered, leaving space for certain pieces to breathe is important. Try and stick to a couple of key designs that you can build onto. I like to group items together and leave some space in between. 


What key pieces do you recommend displaying to make your shelves look nice? 
I love textures, so items with an element of tactility are a must. Ceramic pieces are a brilliant way to introduce that. Interesting shapes are important to draw your eyes into the space. Stylish books and posters can create a focal point too. Here, I’ve displayed the front cover of a book, ‘Lost in Stockholm’, which goes so well with the Nordic design and everything I love. 


Which other homeware pieces do you currently have your eye on? 
I have my eyes on this stunning ceramic breakfast set from Off-White. Also, this intriguing candle by Byredo. I already have Tree House and I love it. Also on my Wishlist is this beautiful shaped candle holder by Anissa Kermiche. Let’s not forget this gorgeous wool blanket by Tekla, it’s perfect for cold evenings and I’m obsessed with the colour.

Cathrine Marie Urhammer (@cathrine_marie) (She/Her)

Creative Director at LOAD Creatives, based in Copenhagen, Denmark with the Serax Earth vase and Assouline book stand


Talk us through how you’ve styled your shelves
I love to style and decorate my shelves according to my mood. These days I’m all in for autumn vibes, earthy tones and the new season coming up with cool inspiration. I immediately fell in love with the Earth collection that Marie Michielssen did for Serax. She has created a series of characteristic lamps and pots in papier-mâché and this one is my favourite. She is amazing at playing with volumes and the vase adds just the right shape for my shelf. Two other favourite items on my shelf are my HAY candle holder, which works perfectly as a decorative sculpture and my HAY Knot glass ornament. I’m also in love with my Assouline book stand.


Top tips for shelf styling: Go for cool shapes to create volumes and mixed materials, such as ceramic, glass, paper etc. and also colourful items that can really stand out. Also, decorate with your favourite magazines to give that daily dose of inspiration.

How do you decorate a shelf without cluttering? 
I try to decorate pieces with different heights and shapes to create a diverse look, but for me it’s also about giving it a personal touch. I use the shelf daily because I have my favourite everyday jewellery on the shelf, together with a few indispensable beauty products. If the designs look beautiful and are useful then it will not seem like a mess to me.


What key pieces do you recommend displaying to make your shelves look nice?
I love my Anissa Kermiche Love Handles vase in pink. It’s so decorative itself, but with flowers it’s outstanding as well. The pink colour goes super well with more natural and earthy tones, like the Earth vase from Serax.


Which other homeware pieces do you currently have your eye on? 
I’m obsessed with the Twist Fluo candles by Lex Pott. The neon shade is perfect for autumn to bring in some colour and cosy light as the weather gets darker and the days shorter.


Rachael Clifton (@bubblyaquarius

Based in London, United Kingdom with the Fornasetti candle and the Anissa Kermiche Popotin vase


Talk us through how you’ve styled your shelves
I am such a big fan of Anissa Kermiche pieces so I had to include the Popotin vase. I love that it’s a bit tongue in cheek and think it works really well with the Fornasetti candle, both colour and theme-wise, since Fornasetti candles are very statement and unique too. Marloe Marloe is a recent discovery for me and I just fell in love with the texture of the pieces. I chose this dish as I think it’s a great addition to add another layer to shelf styling and have pieces sit on top of it for a contrast. 


Top tips for shelf styling:  My three top points to consider when shelf styling is balance, colour and theme. One of my number one tips in styling in general is balance, and this absolutely refers to home styling too. If you have a leaning shelf like mine, or differing levels, I think it’s so important to place larger items on alternating sides to keep it nicely balanced. I think colour scheme also plays a massive part too. I tend to go for beiges, blacks and a bit of a muted palette. Play around with your pieces, move them to see what fits best where and make sure you stand at a distance when checking you’re happy with the overall layout. 


How do you decorate a shelf without cluttering? 
Stick to key pieces that fit within your theme and colour palette, and don’t let yourself get too carried away. Less is more with shelf styling. Whilst I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, I do think you need to add some personality, selecting a few key pieces that work well together is a great way to ensure your shelves aren’t looking too cluttered. I also think placement is key with this, if you make sure everything is well balanced it will always look more considered. 


What key pieces do you recommend displaying to make your shelves look nice?
Candles and vases are my most used pieces for shelf styling, I’m a bit of a candle obsessive. I think vases look great by themselves or with flowers inside, and it can create two very different aesthetics. I’d advise to try out both options and see which best suits your theme. I’m a dried flower fan so will usually include these in my vases and I think it adds some personality to a minimal display, whilst also adding height for balance if necessary. 


Which other homeware pieces do you currently have your eye on? 
I always have my eye on so many homeware pieces these days, it’s rivalling my fashion Wishlist. I really want an Anissa Kermiche Love Handles vase. It will pair perfectly with my Popotin mini vase. HAY always has so many great homeware pieces that are just my taste and perfect for shelf styling, so more often than not I have several pieces on my Wishlist. I’m currently loving this Splash vase.

Never miss a thing

Sign up for promotions, tailored new arrivals, stock updates and more – straight to your inbox

Get updates by

By signing up, you consent to receiving marketing by email and/or SMS and acknowledge you have read our Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime at the bottom of our emails or by replying STOP to any of our SMS.

8690454 7565608 5899519 6264704 7955324 seotmstmp deskdev