INTERIORS

HOW TO DECORATE YOUR SHELVES LIKE AN INTERIOR DESIGNER

Rooms so pulled together.

March 19, 2019

No matter what style your interior – modern, traditional, or eclectic – the right accessories on bookshelves, benchtops and tabletops will add instant edge to your rooms. It’s the quickest way to elevate the aesthetics and functionality of a space, as well as a great way to show off your kit, and have them at hand, too.

ACCESSORISE

Decorating a shelf, or bencthtop, is like getting dressed. Accessories are the element that separate your living and cooking areas from everyone else’s and give them individuality. Don’t jam-pack surfaces. Mix styles but keep things organized. If you have lots of small objects, then a tray is a good way to organize them.

It’s about making your collections feel edited and well displayed.

THE RULE OF THREE

We use one of writing’s most famous rules in design and always work with decorative pieces in uneven numbers on horizontal surfaces. Start with a ‘low’ object – such as a bowl or tray – then add something tall and vertical – like a vase or jug, followed by something bulky – such as a three-tier stand or stack of plates. It’s foolproof. Read more ‘Melissa’s Ultimate Guide to Decorating.’

SURPRISE YOURSELF

Use banal things on your bookshelves or benchtop. A bunch of pencils in a squat vase, a basket of beads, a cauliflower or cabbage in an urn in the middle of your benchtop or kitchen island might be chicer than flowers. Read more ‘Benchtops 101: A Guide to Seven of the Best.’

FRESH VEGETABLES AREN’T JUST FOR COOKING

They add vibrant colour to a kitchen benchtop or island. So does fruit. Don’t be afraid to get creative with potatoes, aubergine, zucchini – go with the seasons.

YOUR COLLECTIONS, WELL DISPLAYED

If it’s worth collecting it’s worth displaying – don’t separate the pieces of your china, glassware, trays, pots or pans  – keep them together. Hang them on the wall, line them along shelves, group them under a kitchen island. Anything en masse looks good. Group the items together on one shelf – even basic white chainstore plates become beautiful when there are lots of them. Read more ‘How to Display Your Collections.’

Pile a big stack of white plates on the benchtop. Very little money, but lots of style.

ADD PLANTS

Greenery is the quickest way to soften surfaces, add focal points and make a space look lived-in. Potted or freshly cut herbs such as rosemary, oregano, parsley, bay leaves can add instant life to a kitchen or dining area, plus be used for cooking. A lemon, olive or maple tree can make a big difference to a room. Read more ‘The Best Plant to Buy For Every Room in Your House.’

CHANGE YOUR BENCHTOP DECOR REGULARLY

When it comes to styling your benchtop, change it regularly, starting with something large like a vegetable arrangement in an interesting timber or metal bowl filled with sweet potatoes, or aubergine. Then, build out from that with stacks smaller bowls, jugs, cake stands or trays.

SCALE TO YOUR SHELF

It’s so simple, A large room should have large shelving, large accessories, medium rooms should have medium-sized shelves with medium objects, and small rooms, you guessed it, should have small shelves with small items.

COLOUR COORDINATE

When arranging your shelves, start by choosing books that compliments the palette. Then use objects in a deeper or lighter hue to give the scheme a strong, complete look. Unity in colour is important. Using a monochromatic palette makes your space seem harmonious, reflective, calm and serene. Read more ‘These are the Colours Everyone is Talking About in 2019.’

DON’T FOLLOW TRENDS

If your neighbours are doing it, you probably shouldn’t. You can use plenty of traditional pieces as the core, but always intentionally do something that throws it off just a bit! Read more ‘What Interior Designers Hate to See on Instagram.’

It’s only convention that makes us think a stone garden sphere belongs in the garden. Put a sphere on your shelf.

USE SHELVES FOR MATCHING CHINA OR GLASS

They might become the room’s star turn. Just make sure your crockery, pots and pans are up to scratch. Keep accessories neutral and tightly edited to avoid overcrowding.

related stories

Living By Design

MP

Don’t miss the style set’s fave newsletter

Get Melissa's weekly rundown of where top interior designers source their things and find inspiration - that will instantly transform your pad.

Close and please don't show again