Shelf Styling

I have been studying shelf styling rules. Is there really a right or wrong way to do it? A hidden secret that stylists use to create the perfect arrangement? I am going to say no. Simply because everyones idea of the perfectly styled shelf is different. Some say coordinate colours, others symmetrical arrangements. I’ve been advised to leave no gaps, then others preach the value of negative space? The truth is, all these theories have merit, it just depends on what is on display and the vibe you are trying to create.

A few weeks back I wrote about decorating with vignettes. The same tips apply to styling a shelf. Consider the scale of the shelf and the items on display, have a dominant focal point and balance with smaller stuff. Varying textures helps create interest and a restrained colour palette does prevent things from becoming too busy. That’s of course unless busy is what you are going for! It all depends on what makes you smile. Don’t be boring, do something unexpected!

Consider the emotion of the space. Are you going for cosy and quiet or rowdy and fun? Casual elegance or refined formality? Visually pleasing arrangements really are an art form and can take time to perfect. Remember to edit and follow your instincts. The best part is that nothing is permanent.  I’ve assembled some inspiration…..

Styling ideas for shelves in the kitchen

Simplicity plus texture and sparkle. Magical.

Add colour to create stunning shelves

Use colour as your dominant feature……

Don't be boring, add some fun to style your shelves

Not boring!

Symmetrical styling can be formal or casually elegant

Symmetrical styling can be formal or casually elegant.

Neutral shelves are simply beautiful

Neutral shelves are simply beautiful.

Dark is dramatic and your styling stands out

Dark is dramatic and your styling stands out!

All images via Pinterest

So given it is apparently the season for cleaning why not grab your feather duster (or equivalent) and revamp while you’re at it? Crank the tunes, make it fun and shake it up!


How to make your own stuff stylish

Ever feel like you have too much of the wrong stuff to make your space look stylish?

Nothing matches and your not sure how to make everything fit in with your current ideas?

Magazine stylists get to start from scratch or have a multitude of choices to fix things just right for a photo. Styling a space thats easy to live in is considerably harder. You need to include most of what you have and then insert your family, friends and pets into the picture, not to mention the reality of keeping it clean and tidy.

I am with you! I have been given gifts over the years and bought myself pieces that I shake my head at now. That’s life, the reality they don’t show you in the glossy magazine pics!

I will let you in on one of my secrets……the trick is to find a way to justify your mix. Sometimes this is easier said than done but hear me out. More than belonging to a ‘style’ your space needs to have a storyline. The best interiors are always eclectic anyhow because the cleverness required to combine styles harmoniously is what makes a room truly unique.

For example, I had quite the ‘snow chalet’ look going on at home this Winter and now that the weather is warming up I am transitioning into more of a tribal/indoor jungle feel. It is amazing how many accessories still work regardless of my change of head space. The faux fur and animal hides still work as does the rattan arm chair and deer antlers. Add an abundance of indoor plants and some feathers and the change is as good as a holiday! (Almost.) Sometimes its surprising when you list the different characters in your story how many of them can cross over. Have I lost you?

Another example, you may have amassed a series of soft furnishings in bold colours, ended up with furniture in different timber tones and then moved on to harbour a love of all things industrial, typography and metallics. Add to this the global items collected on your travels and a love of music and you have New Orleans playing the leading role in your story. The city is colourful. Its also a mix of European styles especially French that is filled with graphic posters, lights and artwork enticing the music lover in you to come sit at the bar.

You get me? Either make a list of what you want or what you have and go from there.

My New Orleans list looks like this:

Saturated colour, wrought iron, shutters, gilded mirror frames, brass trumpets, cool Jazz bars, voodoo, historic timber furniture, shop display cabinets, wallpaper, posters and street art, chandeliers and candles. Draping plants like Spanish moss, Oak trees, quilts and monograms, pillars, arches, corbels and lanterns. Sort through what you have that fits the storyline and use the tale as a guide for anything new you buy. You don’t need it all and I am betting you will be surprised at how much difference it makes when your pieces have a purpose…………

New Orleans Moodboard

All images via Pinterest

Find a story that suits your stuff! It can be done and yes, sometimes you have to move some stuff into storage until you need it again for your next change of heart, however, it also gives you an excuse to go shopping for new and exclusive features for your current adventure :)


Lessons in Layering

Layering is the secret to styling an amazing space. The elements you choose to add to a space are what inject interest and depth. Layers are the details that define your style. Your surroundings play a large part in establishing your mood and you can easily create the vibe you want your for your home with a few simple layers. I promise you, there are very few decorating dilemmas that cannot be solved with some paint, well placed curtains, a rug or two, scatter cushions or a strategically placed art arrangement!

There is no better interior design style than Bohemian to use as an example for layering. Who can resist a space layered with carefree comfort? Relaxing, slouchy and generally colourful, done well, Boho is the perfect lesson in layering. It is the interior equivalent to tousled hair; seemingly effortless, a beautiful mess, untroubled and artful.

Boho was born of making do with what you have and regardless of whether or not you love the look it can be used to inspire layering your own way. The key elements to learn from include:

Layered rugs. Don’t be afraid to overlap multiple mats strewn casually across the floor. Its when we try to follow the rug rules laid down by the wealthy designers that we throw up our hands in frustration and decide its all too hard. Mix it up and throw down some floor pillows or bean bags for lounging about. Perfectly upholstered furniture is expensive. Having comfy cushions that can be scattered about creates a fun, casual vibe.

Layered rugs and wicker furniture create a relaxed Boho vibe

Colour and texture are key elements for creating a fun space

Scatter some cushions around the floor for your next informal gathering

Pattern is a powerful way to add style to a space and Boho uses it in bucket loads. If it frightens you, introduce it in smaller quantities. I promise you will fall in love with the effect. A room void of pattern is bland. Texture is always a must and not difficult to achieve when you have layers of soft furnishings. Wicker furniture is often used by the free spirited and artistic not only for its texture but because it is less expensive than solid timber or similar. Recycled timber adds a rawness like nothing else can, think old doors as coffee table tops or crates and pallets. Or bring new life to a tired piece with a coat of paint. Rough and ready is fine. All that is left to do is bring in the outdoors in multitudes with house plants and stack up the books. No Boho space is complete without loads of books. They have the power to completely change the feel of a room all on their own…….

Pattern and texture add intrigue and depth.

Layer patterned soft furnishings and inject a bit of Boho into your room

No Boho space is complete without a stack of books

All images via Pinterest

Boho style is all about layering but the secret to an amazing room lies in the story of the person that created the space. So if casual and fun is your thing then using these basic ideas should help you recognise what might be missing from yours. Want more help creating your special space then contact me!


Style your Space with Statement Pieces

Been styling your space but feel as though its just missing that special something to make it shine? The secret is often a stand out statement piece or focal point (or three). The hero of the room or the place your eye is originally drawn to when you enter. A room reads best when you have something that says “surprise”!

Statement pieces can keep a minimalist space from being boring, or glue a maximalist space together and opinions vary on how many statement pieces you should include in one room. I would say it depends entirely on the style you are trying to achieve along with the size of the room. You have the option to guide the eye around a room with several statement pieces or anchor it with one. Its completely up to you.

The most important factor though, is that your statement pieces reflect you. Your personality, your travels, interests or dreams. This is the biggest secret to making your space special! Be confident and search out something that makes you smile. Not sure of your own style? Find out how to identify it here.

The styling of US brand anthropologie usually makes me grin. This company seeks out and retails unique and inspirational items for women. I like unique. It excites me so much more than following trends. These images from anthropologie provide perfect examples of how to incorporate statement pieces into your home.

anthropologie uses colour to create a statement

Colour has to be the simplest way to create a statement. Whether it be on the walls, a piece of furniture or layers of soft furnishings. Colour is powerful!

anthropologie uses pattern to draw focus

Using pattern as your statement piece is another fun way to draw the eye. Here it is echoed around the room using the cushion and lamp. I wonder if the horse was a deliberate or accidental inclusion?! Told you they make me grin!

anthropologie uses collections to create a focal point

Collections can work as the focal point when they have a common element like style, shape or colour. How quirky is that pineapple shaped pendant? And such a fun way to make a statement!

anthropologie use oversized lighting to make a statement

Oversized anything will make a statement. Lighting, artwork, furniture…….

anthropologie using three statement pieces to make this shot magical

This magical shot is a perfect example of how three statement pieces can work in a one room.

anthropologie using unique wall art as a statement piece

And of course artwork will almost always become a statement piece simply because art is designed to be looked at. Just remember something unique or unusual will have a bigger impact than something expected.

Introducing a statement piece or three provides a way to dramatically change the look of a room. And there are loads of ways you can DIY something to be more of a statement piece so you don’t always have to spend a tonne of money to make something stand out. Steal some ideas from a previous post on inexpensive wall art, or my pinterest board Paint finishes. Hang that chandelier a little bit lower, display a collection of your favourite pieces or buy a giant indoor plant.

Go on, you can thank me later because this tip is a game changer. Post your pics on Instagram tagged with #specialsomethingstatement so I can see!!