HOW TO STYLE THE PERFECT SHELF
HOW TO STYLE THE PERFECT SHELF
If there is one thing every home should have, it’s a good shelf! If you have a love for "things" and tinkering (lets face it most of us are guilty here) then a shelf is the ultimate playground for you to continually play stylist and create endless vignettes. I am often asked about the art of "styling stories". You see, the trick to getting those beautifully styled vignettes that look like so much more than just unrelated objects, is practice. But there is a little bit of universal shelf theory and a few rules of thumb we can share with you that will help make your shelving look interesting, pulled together and always beautiful.
Starting with a clear consistent colour palette is key. It is best to look to the room in which your shelf resides and to draw from it a feature colour that you can then transfer to your shelf. Using a predominately neutral colour palette with one or two of these feature colours allows the colour to make a statement. Tying a feature colour back to another element in the room helps to give the shelf place and purpose and to connect it to the room. Look at the colours in the artworks, cushions and rugs in the room and use those as your feature colours.
When it comes to shelves let triangles become your best friends. Triangles allow a focal point and provide an area of negative space, which allows your eye to seamlessly focus on what’s important (all your beautiful treasures) rather than being overwhelmed. If you have items of similar heights they create similar focal points therefore the eye doesn’t know where to look. Always think TRIANGLE. This tip is ever so important in helping you get the scale and the balance of your shelf just right.
Objects on the shelf need to be proportional to the width and depth of the shelf as well as the other elements on the shelf. On a short shelf avoid having one super tall object among many small objects (remember the TRIANGLE... it works on a gradient of height). If you need to create more height within your shelves think about using glass cloches over smaller treasures to add height to them or stacking books with beautiful spines to place smaller items like vases and shells on them. Think stacks of beautiful and woven trinket boxes one upon the other. It is always best to start by filling your shelves with the taller and larger items first to give you a basic layout plan. Then layer with the smaller and shorter items until your heart is content.
Use layers to create the perception of depth on a shelf. Layer things in front of each other, have artwork peeping out from behind a pile of vintage ribbon bound books or place jars in a cluster so that some are at the front and some behind. Artwork is always a good way to add depth to a vignette, not only does it add personality it often works to draw your eye to the back of the shelf due to its size more often than not. Thus making the space look bigger and deeper and creating a great sense of layering. This layering is what carries the eye through your shelf and enhances the sense of storytelling.
MIX MODERN WITH VINTAGE
When modern meets vintage something magical always happens. This contrast of elements allows each one to shine as the hero rather than getting lost in the crowd Op shops and garage sales are always a good place to start for these vintage items. Be on the lookout for glass vessels and vases, vintage books with beautifully coloured spines, old tin children’s toys and whatever else appeals to your inner bowerbird.
It is always a good idea to incorporate organic materials in your shelf scheme. In fact it’s a non negotiable! It can be as simple as cascading indoor plant (the string of hearts being a particular favourite of ours...) or a glass jar of shells and beach bounty collected on your journeys. Birds nests, sun bleached driftwood and fresh cut flowers or even dried ones if you fancy; a sprig of rosemary is always gorgeous to add to a shelf in a brown glass vintage bottle. The natural and organic bring that tactile, imperfectness that elevates and captures. Remember the trick is to always just try it, stand back and see if it tells your story that day or not.