Shelf Styling – A Four Step Guide
In our last blog, we focused on built-in cabinetry in a modern home and how it is not only functional by providing storage for your family’s favorite day-to-day items, but it also adds an interesting flair to a room and the opportunity to incorporate décor or personal keepsakes. The key factor when trying to maintain the relevance of built-in cabinets in a modern space is to implement a minimalist design, embracing essentials while avoiding clutter and mess. It is no easy task to ensure the space is both functional and tidy, so the designer must be very selective when choosing décor. As with any interior design project, the final step of adding décor can be daunting, with so many options available, a wide variety of styles, and so many different clients with different tastes. However, this is where a professional interior designer thrives – hand-picking each item to fit the clients’ personalities while staying timely with modern styles. It is the reason they chose this line of work, and customer satisfaction is the ultimate reward. The process of decorating your shelves should be enjoyable, and will likely spark feelings of nostalgia and happiness. We have broken it down into four steps.
1. Start Fresh The great thing about a newly designed minimalist space is that it is essentially a blank canvas, and working with existing built-ins or newly installed shelving is no different. To see the shelves with this fresh perspective, it is important to clear them off, clean them, and make sure you have sufficient lighting in the room. You will also want to regularly take photos so you can compare different options, and determine what looks good together and what is clashing completely. To begin, take a photo of your freshly emptied, clean and bright shelves.
2. Take Inventory Next, you will want to lay out the items previously placed on the shelves along with any new items you have selected. Do you see any commonalities like color, texture, or size? If so, make mental notes (or actual notes if it helps!) of these trends. Also try to imagine these items placed on the shelf in terms of height and width, and attempt to maintain a variation in sizes. Here at Interiors by Popov, we love to use decorative vases, bowls, or sculptural items; personal photos, books, or travel memorabilia; and we even like adding lamps if the shelves do not have existing backlighting. The right lighting can add a fantastic ambience to the room!
3. Get Grouping Now that you have determined which items work well together, you can begin to fill the shelves. We recommend placing larger items first, like vases, boxes, and baskets, as they will provide a grounded and balanced backdrop amongst the décors. Then you can group the medium-sized and smaller items to fill in some of the remaining space. In order to maintain the minimalist aesthetic preferred by our team at Interiors by Popov, we are comfortable leaving some of the space empty to really highlight your favorite essentials. That does not mean you should be afraid to get creative! Pairing a large vase with a smaller photo frame from your summer vacation, or greenery paired with a textured, woven storage bin, are two great ways to find balance within your décor without cluttering the shelf space.
4. Final Evaluation and Modifications We cannot stress enough, even as professional designers, the importance of regularly stepping back to review your progress. It would be nearly impossible to perfectly place these items on the first try, and the last thing you want is to spend hours and hours setting your décor, only to step back for the first time and wish you had done it all differently. Take time to examine the balance of textures, sizes, and variety of your pieces. If something seems off, take it down and see how that feels. Still not quite right? Try replacing it with something completely different. Soon you will begin to understand how these pieces complement each other and even that some of the pieces do not belong at all. On the other hand, it is equally important to follow your instincts and know when to stop analyzing and start enjoying the final product. Try not to overthink it!
A common misconception is that a minimalist design should have very few objects and a significant amount of white space. This theory causes many homeowners to find it contradictory to incorporate décor within their modern space. We are here to debunk that myth. Rest assured that decorative items can also be functional, and how much we add depends on the overall aesthetic along with a deep understanding of the client’s style and functional needs. That photo from your summer vacation may have fond memories associated and bring you joy each time you see it. In that case, you would consider it essential and that is what matters most. Don’t forget, your shelves need to be functional too! Give them a purpose by holding your treasured items and allow them to make your modern, minimal home feel cozy, inviting, and complete.