How To Style Shelves

We’re so excited to have the Gilit, founder of THE BANNERIE, share her expert tips on styling shelves for the perfect instagram #shelfie. You’re going to want to take notes!


Hi PBteen! My goal for pretty much everything in my home is to keep things functional and pretty. I have the gorgeous Emily and Merrit for PBteen Maison bookcase in my dining room and it’s where I keep tabletop objects that I use often easily accessible. Because the layout of our home is open and the bookcase is visible from several rooms, it’s especially important to me that I don’t just plop down my functional and pretty things, but actually style them.

There are certain principles of styling that apply whether you are putting together a flatlay for Instagram or the tabletop goodies on a bookcase. You’ve probably heard of some or even all of these rules before but if you really pay attention, you’ll notice that 1- they are everywhere and 2- you can do it too! Here’s how:

  1. Balance
    When you style your bookcase, you don’t want to make any side too heavy or light. It looks awkward and unbalanced. The eye craves balance and the easier you can make it on the eye, the better it looks. If you have something large on one side or one shelf, make sure to balance it on the other side or other shelves. Step back every once in a while, go to another room and come back in, and let your eye take in the bookcase as a whole. That will help you see where things need to be tweaked.
  2. Rule of Thirds
    There’s a really good reason for the rule of thirds: it looks better. Things in odds look less formal, more interesting, and balanced (there’s that word “balance” again!) When things are grouped in even numbers it looks severe unless there’s something to move the eye around to the next object or group of objects (that third thing).
  3. Cohesive Color Palette
    Keeping a cohesive color pallet is a great way to keep things harmonious and one of the easiest ways to keep your space looking put together. There are colors that I always lean toward and that comes through in what I bring into my home. That top shelf is all about that shade of blue that I love because it makes me think of vacation. Plus I love how it looks on the gold 🙂
  4. Varying Heights/Texture
    When your objects are of varying heights and/or texture, it creates interest and keeps the eye moving. There’s a concept of directionality that you should apply when you style anything. Don’t let the eye stop abruptly anywhere or it looks awkward and unnatural. (See: Rule of Thirds) 

All of these principles relate and refer to each other and when they’re all in place, you’re golden. Keep moving things around, keep practicing, and keep noticing and you will discover your own personal style and that you are completely capable of styling your own bookcase.


For more excellent tips from Gilit be sure to sign up for her course: “You Got This: Branding, Styling, and Photography for Creative Entrepreneurs”. Enrollment opens on December 20th

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