Small decorative items for shelves can make a big style impact. For small spaces, opt for accessories like framed photos or sculptures that are in scale with the shelf.

Grouping objects together can also create a more style-impacting display. Try a round tray or shallow basket on one side and a tall vase or object on the other to strike a balance.


Shelves can be an important component of many rooms in the home. They provide space for storage while also offering a unique opportunity to curate beautiful arrangements that showcase your personal taste and conjure happy memories. Whether they’re fixed to the wall or freestanding units, there are countless decorating options available for shelves.

While it may be tempting to over-crowd your shelves with small decorative items, this can create a cluttered look. Instead, try using odd numbers of objects and limiting each shelf to one or two vignettes. Also, remember that white space is your friend and will allow the items on your shelf to shine.

One of the best ways to decorate your shelves is with plants and greenery. They add life and freshness to a room, especially if you select trailing varieties. They can also work as a filler between larger objects, especially on upper shelves.

Other great additions to any shelving unit include baskets, vases and wooden trays. Use a variety of colors to create a coordinated look, and consider adding a framed photo clothesline display to bring your decor together. In addition, don’t forget to paint the back of your shelving unit or use removable wallpaper to update the look when you want a new look. Ultimately, shelf decor is an excellent way to tie your home together, and there are limitless options to make yours one-of-a-kind.


Decorate shelves with unique frames that can hold wall art, family photos, or a combination of both. These reclaimed wooden frames from a local barn come in various sizes and make beautiful shelf decor that tells your home’s story. Frames are a great way to add a pop of color too. For example, this nautical style with a starfish and rope can add the final touch to coastal shelf decor. Displaying framed photo clothesline displays is a popular shelf decorating idea and an easy DIY project. Other creative ways to use frames are to hang them from ribbon or twine, place them on a stack of books, or use them as a base for a plant.

Another simple addition to shelf decor is decorative shelf brackets. These can be found in all kinds of styles from modern and sleek to farmhouse and traditional. They’re also a great way to tie a shelving unit into the rest of the room.

Adding texture to shelves is an often overlooked aspect of decorating but it can take your shelf design to the next level. A mix of materials, colors, and textures will tie together your whole design and create a sense of depth that elevates the overall look of your shelves. Using natural woods is always a good idea, but other textures like woven baskets, burlap, jute, or metals can add an interesting element too.


Using vases as decorative items for shelves adds a little visual interest without taking up too much space. They are ideal for displaying plants, flowers (faux or real) and can also work as a pedestal for other objects such as clocks and figurines. Vases come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from large ones to single bud vases, and you can also find them in different materials such as glass or ceramic. It’s a good idea to pair vases of varying heights together to create a balance in the display. It’s also a great idea to incorporate some contrasting textures into your shelf decor by placing rough stone sculptures next to smooth glass vases or pairing ceramic vases with woven baskets.

Another tip when arranging your shelves is to think about invisible lines running vertically and horizontally across the shelving unit and try to evenly distribute items along these lines. Additionally, using odd numbers of items helps create a more balanced and visually appealing look.

Finally, don’t be afraid to leave some white space on your shelves! It can be hard to achieve the cool and curated look of a layered shelf, but leaving some negative space in between your items allows each item to be seen more easily. This technique can also be used to create a sense of depth in your display by positioning taller items on the back and shorter objects in front.


Shelves, whether fixed or freestanding, offer a fabulous opportunity to curate beautiful arrangements that capture your personal style and conjure happy memories. There are many ways to create a cute shelf decor display, from stacked books and decorative objects to framed pictures, plants, greenery, and quirky accessories. The key is to create a mix of textures and shapes that look attractive when layered together.

Small decorative items like vases and sculptures are a wonderful addition to any shelf display. However, it’s important to use them sparingly. Overdoing them can make a bookcase or shelf seem cluttered. Small accessories are perfect when paired with other elements, such as framed photos, to add depth and interest to the overall arrangement.

If you have a lot of small accessories to include in your shelf display, consider grouping them in a particular color palette. For example, blue and white is a classic choice for decorating shelves. It can be especially effective when paired with more rustic items, such as a wooden star made from twine and birch twigs.

Shelves are also a wonderful place to add small bunches of flowers or greenery. This is a great way to add some natural warmth to a shelf, and it works well with nearly any decorating theme or color scheme. If you want a more minimal look, try using larger plants to anchor the shelf and then fill in the space with smaller accessories, such as vases, sculptures, and framed photos.