4 Tips to Style Your Built-ins

Updated: Apr 6



Shelf styling can be one of the most problematic places to decorate your home, yet one of the best places to showcase your seasonal decor. I often get asked how to style shelves and how much is too much or not enough decor! Honestly, I think it's all about you and your style. For example, I usually like to decorate with more clutter around the holidays, and around spring/summer, I go for a more neutral, less is more look!


It's okay to change things up! I, acutally, encourage it! Changing a few things with your decor can give you a quick home update to inspire you to celebrate the changing seasons.



4 Steps to Decorate Built-ins



Start with a Blank Canvas


It isn't easy to think about decor when your shelves already have decorations. So, it's always best to start fresh and take everything off. Empty shelves will help you see new potential and styling ideas.



Use What You Already Have


Before rushing out to HomeGoods or Target, look at what you already have in your home. Don't limit your styling to just decor, either! I used cutting boards, dough bowls, and an olive tin basket. These items are not typically used in the living room, but with a little experimenting, you will find you can often make what you have work!




Change Up Sizes and Texture


Mix up your decor. I have oversized items such as lanterns and a large basket on a couple of shelves. Other items include artwork for the color, cutting boards for texture, and books for decor and lifts. A few of my favorite pieces to use are vases, baskets, bowls, and art.


Also, make sure that you change the height when you are clustering items to achieve interest and character in your design.


Finally, I suggest designing with one element at a time. In the pictures, you will notice that I start with:


-wood for warmth

-books for height

-lanterns and baskets for size and scale

-greenery for color

-art, bowls, antique bench for texture and interest

-seasonal decor to celebrate the holidays




Be Mindful of Your Groupings


For your small items, you will need to create a grouping. Groupings can be challenging, and don't get discouraged if you have to try, try, and try again until you find the right fit. My suggestions would be to always use books with your groups and greenery. These can be used any time of year.


Groups are also where you can showcase family heirlooms, pictures, and your seasonal decor.






I would love to see your builtin decor! Please share pictures with me on Instagram @theoldrivernest.


Wishing you a joyful St. Patrick's Day,

amber :)

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