Shelf Styling 101: Tips and Tricks

Hey y’all! SO glad you stopped by. Normally this would be the day that we’d be doing our monthly Thrift Store Challenge, where we purchase an item or items from a Thrift Store, garage sale, flea market or find a treasure in someone’s trash pile. Then we revamp it, restore it, remodel it or whatever other word you can come up with beginning with an “r”. Then we show how we styled it in our homes.


Thanks to this horrible new thing called social distancing , Emily and I felt it would be wrong of us to encourage our blogging friends to be out thrifting when we are all needing to stay at home and away from people right now.

While thrifting might feel like an essential thing to some of us, technically we all know it isn’t and we can live without doing that for a little while.

So back to the drawing board and for the next little while Emily and I will be coming up with fun challenges we can do together that do not require us to go out shopping.

Like this one….

Wanna know what it is?

I’m so glad you asked.

Drumroll please……we have decided to all do a shelf re-style and show you how we styled it. Sound fun?

Oh good.

I decided for this challenge that I would re-style this bookcase that is currently in my dining room acting as more of a hutch than anything. I had had it the same for awhile and was really bored of it.

Tip #1

Start by emptying absolutely everything out of the hutch, bookcase, or off the shelf you plan to re-style. It helps to start with a blank canvas even if you plan on using a few of the same items on it again.

Give it a really good clean while you’re at it too!

Tip #2

Choose your “feature” items that you know for sure you want to incorporate into the project. If it’s a shelf you might want a couple of them. For something like this bookcase, since really I’m styling multiple shelves, I typically choose 1 main item for each shelf. I’ve pointed out what I mean.

As you can see I arranged them in different places on the shelves, not all in the middle.

Tip #3

Choose other random items you think could work in little groupings that give the overall feel you want the shelf to have. For example, I wanted a spring vibe but I still needed to store some of my serving dishes and ironstone collection. I set out a bunch of things on my dining room table that might work for this project and then set to work.

I keep adding and taking things away from the arrangement and step back to look at the entire project every time I make changes.

Tip #4

Some people find it helpful to take a photo and look at the photo instead of the actual project while they work. I don’t do that personally but that could be helpful for you so give it a try!

Gathering items from all over my house that were going to be moved to freshen up spaces anyways, gives me a good selection of items to work with. Sometimes even taking some of the exact same items that were there before and simply relocating them, gives a great new look.

In this case, the plant that I had on top of the bookcase before, is now on the bottom shelf!

Lavender has such a fresh feel to me that it works for spring decor as well as thru summer and even into early fall. It was an obvious choice to put some lavender in my ironstone tureen.

Why not use the serving bowls to display something rather than just sit there? In this case I put some little moss covered stones inside the bowl to again give me those spring feels.

Birds are something I love to incorporate at any time but they really feel like spring to me when combined with the odd nest or some eggs here and there.

I hope this has inspired you to give your space a fresh new look, without stepping a foot outside your home. All you have to do is shop your home for items you aren’t using or that can be moved to a different space.

Then try some of the tips and tricks I’ve shown here. You really can’t go wrong.

Need more inspiration before you begin? I have the perfect solution for you! Simple click on any of the photos below and you’ll go straight to another blog post full of shelf styling inspiration!

Maybe you better grab another fresh coffee.


Emily from Le Cultivateur (co-host)
Jessica B. Simmons
Cloches and Lavender
Harper Home Designs


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