Shelf Displays

A few weekends ago I was helping a friend get her home staged as she was putting their house on the market. We removed everything from her 2- seven foot tall built in shelves. I started to strategically place their personal items, books and newly bought decor up on the shelves. The realtor recommended not putting family photos on the shelves so we refrained from placing them back out. Once we completed the task she said “who really keeps their shelves this organized”? I raised my hand and said “me, and a lot of other people” *smile*wink*.

To show you how to accomplish this I have provided a black and white photo of some shelves in our house. I am posting it without color to focus only on placement of objects.

Three is the magical number

One important rule is display things in groups of three. Think triangle. This will help give some asymmetrical height or width to your shelves. It helps add movement to the displays rather than be still and boring.


Add framed pieces of art or photographs in various heights or shape. If you have smaller frames and need to add height; stack a few nice books underneath.


Not only do I love to read books but I love to showcase them as decor. Large hardcover books create lines and order to shelves. You can stack them on top of one another or upright with cute book ends (or candles, large rocks collected by your littles or other books laid down).


Greenery, real or fake, can add some color to shelves. Living in the north I have picked up random contemporary looking pine trees after the Christmas holiday to put up. We may live in the woods up north but the designs that typically are thought of in regards to “up north living” is not our cup of tea.

Other items

There are so many other interesting items that one could display on shelves. Boxes, bottles, figurines, pottery and etc.

Last reminders

Keep some space on your shelves. Pretend your shelves need to be able to breathe. They don’t want to feel claustrophobic.

Once you have the items placed you may to switch up a few things to balance out color.

The photo in color below shows both cool colors (aquas and blues) and warm colors (oranges and yellows) on both sides.

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