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Ultimate Guide to Shelf Decor Ideas for Simple Styling

For me, styling shelves is a little like making a recipe – you need specific ingredients for a good outcome. While I don’t always follow a recipe exactly (looking at you carrot cake), I know some ingredients are essential for a successful bake! I approach my shelves in the same way with a collection of key pieces I can use for any shelf space. Here, I’m sharing my very favorite shelf decor ideas to make styling super simple! 

bookshelf styling

Shelf Decor Ideas

Before jumping in with all the goodies, I think it might be helpful to consider our goal for shelf styling. It’s not just to pile a bunch of random pieces on a shelf. And it’s not about just making it look pretty either.

Neither of those would be very inspiring. We’re looking to style with function and authenticity. In fact, I’ve made the Case for Imperfect Styling and apply it shelves as well.

I’ve curated a list of some of my favorite shelf decor pieces that check off these boxes! If you’re looking for help in putting it all together, check out my 6 Easy Steps to Decorate a Shelf to effortlessly style and any shelf.

shelf styling decor
  1. Black Pitchers – for height, vases, and contrast
  2. Wood Bowl – round shape adds a nice touch, plus warmth and texture
  3. Bird Art Print – handmade neutral art
  4. Candle in Ceramic Bowl – beautiful aroma plus warmth and contrasting shape
  5. Black Patina Planter – rustic style for texture, I love this shape!
  6. Dried Olive Branches – year round greenery & height
  7. Little Wood Vase – so many ways to use this one, adds warmth and round shape
  8. Pacific Natural Coffee Table Book – stack for added height, upright looks like artwork
  9. Light Wood Chains – for depth and texture
  10. Wood Organizer Box – for functionality & texture
  11. Wood Picture Frame – for layering
  12. Black Porcelain Vase – contrast and height
  13. White Cylinder Vase– texture and height
  14. Dried Floral Bouquet – long lasting greenery and texture
  15. Hyacinth Basket – woven texture and functionality

These shelf decor items work well for kitchen shelving, little bathroom ledges, and even when styling a bookshelf!

kitchen shelf styling decor

In general, I like to keep decor items neutral (that’s probably pretty obvious by now). Not only do I find it calming, but it makes styling much easier. 

shelf decor ideas to easily mix and match

Be careful though, without a thoughtful mix, neutral shelves can feel pretty flat. How do we fix this?  Go for a mix of textures, materials, item types, and always include something natural!

Or, if you’re looking to make open shelves, head over to my Open Shelving Tutorial with step by step details!