Styling Frames on a Bookshelf

Shelves are an extension of who we are. They showcase our interests, lives and, above all, our personal style.

Perhaps this is why we put a lot of pressure on ourselves when styling a shelf. This is especially true for anyone who loves to display aspects of their lives and personalities through framed art, pictures, memorabilia and photographs. You may find yourself feeling unsure about how to display all your favourite memories without the bookshelf looking cluttered or busy. Whether you are styling shelves in your living room or bedroom, we will guide you through several bookshelf styling tips to elevate how you display your frames.

Start by Gathering Everything

An empty bookshelf is a blank slate, filled with endless possibilities. This may feel daunting. It can help to first get an understanding of everything you hope to display.

When gathering all our frames, books and shelf styling decor in one place, think about their similarities and differences. For instance, do some of your items have a similar shape? Are there any repeating items in your collection? Or are there any colour-schemes that seem to be prominent? You can use these attributes to create grouping later in the shelf styling process.

Decorate with Large Items First

Now that you have all your frames, books and decor ready to go, it is recommended that you start decorating your shelf with the largest items first. This gives you the opportunity to create your areas of focus. One of these large items could be your favourite framed piece of art or even a vase that perfectly celebrates your style.

Starting with large items also allows you to fit in your smaller frames and items later. This is much easier than trying to cram in that large candle you like after you have almost finished placing all your picture frames on the shelf.

Large picture frame on shelf

Vary Heights and Shapes

An appealing bookshelf creates a balance between your items’ similarities and differences. One way to give your frames a new sense of appeal and intrigue is to use different heights and widths. This helps to guide the eye and prevent an appearance of monotony, creating areas of interest that showcase some of your favourite artworks and family photos.

Consider using your larger items as a guide. For example, remember those candles you love? A smaller rectangle frame and medium square frame can be paired neatly alongside it for a dynamic bookshelf layout.

Consider Textures and Colours

Similar to heights, you may find yourself with a range of frames and pictures with different textures and colours. Use this to create groupings based on similarities and ask yourself questions like “do these colours work together?”. Repeating these colours and textures in separate places across your bookshelf can guide the eye.

In some cases, selecting one signature colour can play a big role in unifying all your frames, books and other decor items. If you choose this approach, try to use your colour in at least 3 places to create harmony. You can even balance 2 or more repeating colours for a varied look.

No matter what textures and colours you choose to highlight, it is important to stagger them throughout your shelf and not place them all in one centre location. This can help to tell a broader story on your shelf, creating a more cohesive arrangement.

Create Layers

In many cases, people can fall into the trap of lining up items on their bookshelves. This can make your bookshelf look flat. Instead, play around with your bookshelf’s depth when placing your frames.

You can do this by layering your frames toward the back, centre and front of your shelf to overlap with each other. For example, consider leaning a tall artwork toward the back of your shelf. This can act as a background for books and smaller frames at the front, tricking your eye into associating all these items together. Layers with an odd number of items usually work best. Also, remember to follow the varied heights tip from earlier in this article. This will help to prevent your layers from appearing cluttered.

Layered photo frames in bookcase

Don’t be Afraid of Empty Space

When decorating a bookshelf, it can be tempting to fill every nook and cranny with your favourite pictures and memorabilia pieces. But this can create a chaotic look and prevent each item from having the admiration it deserves.

Instead, separate your layers and groupings with white space to prevent any strain on the eyes. Try to separate the items that you love on the shelf from the items that might work better elsewhere. You could even style these left-over items and frames on a neighbouring floating shelf.

Find the right frames for your bookshelf

A beautiful bookshelf is the perfect way to add charm to your home. If you are styling your bookshelf, our experts at Frame Today can help you find frames that meet your style and tastes. Visit us in store today for a free consultation to discuss your options.

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