Use These 6 Tips to Get Your Perfect “Shelfie”


Follow our staging expert Anne Nowak’s quick tips to successfully style your shelves and bookcases to sell or dwell in your home. You'll have your perfect "shelfie" in no time:

1. Plan.  I’m a planner, and mapping it all out ensures my outcome. Draw a quick sketch (no art degree necessary) to create a template of sorts for yourself.  See my example below: 


If you aren’t comfortable drawing in actual accessories, use shapes. A tall cylinder can represent a vase, stacked rectangles for books, etc. But simply taking the time in this step to visually plan your shelves out saves shopping time since you’ll be going in with a game plan. Planning also includes your style and color scheme. Consistency in style is important so unless you’re intentionally going for an eclectic look (These looks aren’t recommended for quick transformations and are better collected over time and travels.), choosing a direction and sticking with it with gives your look purpose and intent. Color palettes should be planned around 3 colors. Your main color (I recommend a neutral.), an accent color and a pop color. There should be more of the accent color than the pop color, and all three should compliment each other. In the reference photo above, blue is the pop color, varying shades of white are the accent and gray is the main color.

2. Shop.  Shopping is easy since you’ll have your drawing as a reference point.  Simply use your style and color as guides and your template for specifics. Shop at stores that match your desired shelf look. For example, West Elm is a great resource for midcentury and modern accessories, while Magnolia Market is a good place to find farmhouse style décor. Bonus shopping tips:

  • Pay attention to dimensions when shopping online.
  • Always buy something you are on the fence about! It’s usually these items you’re unsure of in store that give the look exactly what it needs at home. I always make purchases planning on returns. 

3. Scale + Proportion.  Not considering scale or proportion is usually a dead giveaway for a DIY gone wrong. When things aren’t accurately scaled and proportioned to their surroundings or each other, the look comes off unpleasing to the eye and appears unfinished or boring. How items look next to each other and how they fit in their space is key. Shelves (and rooms) need big things, little things, tall things, short things, fat things, skinny things, etc. When everything you see is the same size, nothing stands out. Vary scale and maintain accurate proportion within your vignettes to create interest, drama and appeal.   

4. Add life + Dimension.  Plants and texture transform looks. Layers keep a room from looking dull and flat. Gradual transition from small to large scale gives a sense of depth while keeping groupings cohesive.  Succulents and cacti look great and are low maintenance. Baskets are an easy way to add texture that will double as extra storage. Mixing materials is a must for dimension so adding glass, metals, wood and other elements give your look a well rounded style and polished finish.

5. It’s all about the ‘Odds’ and the ‘Edit’.  Odd numbered groupings are much more visually stimulating than even numbered so when making your purchases, keep this in mind. Groupings of 3, 5, and 7 similar items give your shelves a curated look that work together and spark interest. The ‘Edit’ is like that moment in the Godfather trilogy when Michael Corleone says, “Just when I think I’m out…they pull me back in!” You may think you’re finished but edits must be made to get that perfect “shelfie”! As soon as you sit down to enjoy your hard work, you notice something is just not right and need to go back in to make a few tweaks here and there. The edits really finish off the look and ensure all loose ends are tied up.

6. Finishing touch. A geode on top a decorative box, a brass bookend, and a boutique candle are all the cherry on top of your “selfie moment."  These little finishes are like jewelry and mustn’t be forgotten for a truly complete and polished style.

Get a free two-hour staging consultation with Anne Nowak when you choose to sell your home with us. Get started or make your referral today by emailing us or calling (469)-333-0975.