15 Ideas for Shelf Displays | Midwest Living

15 Ideas for Shelf Displays

Restyle a cluttered shelf with these tips for arranging and organizing books, collectibles and other accessories.
  • Photo copyright Courtney Browning.

    Pick a color palette

    Kansas decorator Courtney Browning of 12th and White says shelves will look most cohesive when a color story runs throughout. "Not everything has to be matchy-matchy, but choosing two or three shades and repeating them will give your displays an intentional, pulled-together look," Courtney says. "These built-ins in our living room are done in a neutral palette with silver, black and gray running throughout, but any color combination would be beautiful."

  • DIY shelves

    Stack benches to create unique shelves, perfect for rustic accessories such as our collection of watering cans or old books.

  • Personalized shelves

    Label shelves so each family member can show off their style and personality.

  • Cooking nook

    Keep specialized books where you'll need them most. We stashed our favorite cookbooks on a small kitchen shelf and added accessories that complement the room's colors.

  • Show off collectibles

    These kitchen shelves in an Ohio home offer both storage and a decorative display for the homeowner's 400-piece pottery collection, arranged by color and style.

  • Storyteller shelves

    Vintage curiosities on built-in shelves greet visitors as they step into the foyer of this Michigan home. “I’m a big collector,” the homeowner says. “We display pieces from our families, gifts and found things.” Incorporating items with a history injects personality into a room.

  • Recycled storage

    Hard-sided suitcases store files on a shelving unit.

  • Office decor

    Shelves in this Chicago-area home office combine practical storage with attractive art pieces. Lower cubbies keep paper products within easy reach.

  • Traditional display

    A geometrical grouping of portraits and formal furniture sets the tone for a traditional bookcase in this Chicago-area Colonial style home. Books stacked horizontally, vertically and at an angle mix with a few accessories in dark colors for a subdued, formal look.

  • Cascading colors

    Create a rainbow of reading and make a statement by color-coding your shelf as the owners did in this Columbus, Ohio, house. If you don't have a complete rainbow, stop by a local library sale to find the missing hues.

  • Extra, extra

    Use books as a pedestal for ceramics or vases. We added two books under the smaller dish on the second shelf.

  • Wrapped up

    Bold color backgrounds call for clean, simple lines. Wrap books in brown packing paper for a warm, uniform scheme.

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