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How To Style Your Shelves for the Perfect #Sheflie

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

That's not a typo, guys! You've all seen em' in your scrolls; the strategic rainbow bookcase, the floating shelves of carefully curated things or the botanical inspired, plant-aholic, boho version. The shelfie may seem like a newer trend but really, it's been around for a while. Let's unpack the evolution of the #Shelfie from beauty to home décor and help you style your shelves for the perfect shelfie.

Like so many things, interior décor and trends evolve directly from what we see on the runway and in the world around us. There's a huge Go Green Initiative in the US so home goods have been following suit. We saw lots of color blocking on the runway and again, it's popping up in our homes. Neon is next so keep an eye out!!

Anyway, originally, the shelfie was generally a photo of a someone's skin care or beauty regimen collection, most often taken in a bathroom. Bottles of creams and tinctures and whatever else one might need, carefully aligned and coordinated so that when the sun hit them just right, they had a dreamy factor ripe for Instagram! And thus, the #shelfie was born!

Today, there are 2.4 Million images on Instagram with the shelfie hashtag, but very few of them are of the OG, self-care variety. With Covid, so many of us stopped with all the extra pampering and makeup (you're gorgeous just the way you are) and pared down our daily routines to the basics. The trend seemed to just easily move into home décor and it's taking off!!

So how to achieve shelfie righteousness? Here are a few tips!

First, you want to remove everything from the shelving you are going to work with and give it a once over. Hate the color? Now's the time to paint. Paint the whole thing or just the back or just the shelves or just the trim across the front; whatever makes you happy. Looking for a little extra punch to really showcase your most loved objects? Use contrasting paint colors or apply a peel and stick wallpaper to the back of the unit for a fun update.

Here, littleedwardian added this amazing gold trim to the front of these shelves, giving them such a lush and expensive look. It's a really great way to take otherwise ordinary shelving to the next level.

Then you want to collect your shelfie décor. Grab things that relate to one another in one way or another. Maybe they are a similar color or range of colors or maybe they are all plants or books or maybe they are all tchotchkes from your travels. If you're feeling short of items take a poke around your house. You have more stuff lying around that can be used to style shelving then you even realize. Trust me.

When styling your shelf, the two most important things to remember are balance and symmetry. Layer front to back if you can and make sure you have items of different sizes and heights. These two tricks will help to keep your space interesting and give you that #shelfie look you're trying to achieve. Bring in books, framed prints and photos, mirrors, plants and any other object of your affection.


Have lots of books but going for a neutral scheme? Turn them around, pages side out!

When I'm styling shelving, I like to place my big objects first - you'd want larger items like artwork in the back anyway. Then I add the other items, filling in space as needed with smaller objects. Books should paced in groups, either stood up or stacked horizontally to maximize the vertical and horizontal visuals. Stacked books are a great way to raise up a smaller item for better display.


Like items tend to be most visually appeal in groups of three and there is a theory that these items should be placed in a triangular formation to keep the eye moving.

The trick to a great shelfie is just having the right balance. Try adding the heaviest looking items to the bottom to anchor the unit and the lighter pieces up top to help bring the eye up. Large sculptural items or vases might be big enough to stand alone so don't be afraid let them! Think about the overall symmetry of what you've created and make sure you take time to step back and review what you've done. My final tip? Edit! Edit! Edit! You're trying to showcase your items so try not to crowd everybody in there! Give everything enough space to breathe!

It might take some time to prefect but I know you can do this!! As always, if you run into trouble, you know where to find me!

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