How to style an open shelf

Say goodbye to bland walls and cluttered shelving. Achieve a high-end designer look with our top tips to style an open shelf like a pro. Here we share seven easy-to-follow steps that will help you transform your open shelf into a sophisticated space.

style an open shelf by studio delta

#1: Love it or lose it

The biggest design mistake we can make is to clutter up our shelves with a random collection of décor and memorabilia. If you want to achieve a high-end look, the key is to keep it simple. Start with a clean slate and toss anything that you can live without. Keep those items that have sentimental value and that you absolutely love. Remember, less is certainly more in a sophisticated interior, so choose décor that’s meaningful, sleek and simple.

#2: Repeat accent colours

In an elegant interior, you will immediately notice repeated elements of colour that work together to create a sophisticated, harmonious space. When decorating an open shelf, you should consider the overall style and colour scheme of your room. Choose décor that complements the tones found in your room and pick up on key accent colours for an idyllic, uniform look. A pop of colour goes a long way. This will also help to tie everything together in your interior.

#3: Use height for visual appeal

Take into consideration the height of your selected accessories. Create balance on your open shelf by incorporating items of various heights, shapes and sizes. For example, a large vase or planter can act as a focal point and bring depth to your open shelf. An arrangement of smaller objects, such as books, frames, or candles can add another dimension of interest and symmetry. Various heights and sizes will draw the eye in and keep you captivated for longer.

solo shelf style studio delta

#4: Group items for added interest

Create balance on your open shelf by grouping items together. As a designer rule of thumb, organise your smaller items in uneven numbers to create visual interest. As such, aim to group three or five similar items together, such as candles, books, magazines or glassware. This creates a visual barrier that will also act as a transition to other items on your open shelf.  

#5: Add an organic element

Nature is an endless source of design inspiration. Bring a burst of radiance to your interior with greenery on your shelf, such as a potted plant or a vase of fresh blooms. You can also achieve the look by incorporating at least one organic element on your open shelf. Think wood, stone or natural textiles for an earthy, calming tone.

#6: Get creative with art & accents

An open shelf is a great way to introduce a fresh burst of colour, texture and interest in a room. Give your open shelf even greater aesthetic value with a mix of interesting materials and artwork. Lean art on the back of your shelf or layer it for added depth. You can also stack an arrangement of books or magazines - both vertically and horizontally - for visual interest. Keep it fresh and inviting and incorporate a variety of textures to brighten up your open shelf.

#7: Invest in a quality shelf

Start with a great base and invest in a quality shelving unit that will enhance a sleek design scheme. The latest range from Studio Delta offers a high-end, mid-century modern look to fit into any contemporary setting.

Allow your shelf to evolve along with your own personal style and you may be amazed by the results.