Design | On the Shelf - Beautiful tips for dressers and open shelves

A friend recently asked me for some tips on how to style shelves (apparently the open shelving in her kitchen is more of an 'eclectic' look at the moment). The secret is you need to treat it like a mini interior design project – in other words you have to be selective!

The moodboard below shows an inspirational palette for a large dresser in our studio. I wanted to incorporate a feeling of rough and smooth into my styling by using cool white ceramics, terracotta and gnarled old books.

Translating one’s vision into reality takes a bit of practice. Start with neutral tones, like warm whites, beiges and greys and then be disciplined about your use of accent colour. If used well, colour can lead the eye through the arrangement, almost like you are telling a story.

When it comes to arranging objects, think about size and visual weight. Too many small items will look cluttered whereas grouping items into pairs, like two vases or two pots, tricks the eye into seeing the pairing as a whole. Repeat pairings throughout the space and add oversized elements for a bold touch. While strict symmetry can be a bit staid, it is important to bear in mind that designing with similar visual weights creates a feeling of balance.

Don’t be afraid to stack books on their sides and mix and match with ornaments, plants, baskets and textiles. One thing I love doing is using shelves to display smaller artworks - just lean them casually either framed or unframed.

Et voila! The finished article.

Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for news about my talk at the upcoming HOUSE fair on the 18th of June, where there will be lots more interior design inspiration.


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