Interior Inspiration: How To Dress Your Shelves

Interior Inspiration: How To Dress Your Shelves

Coming up with inspiration for home design and decoration isn't always easy but at McElhinneys we're here to help.

Our in-house interior designer Yvonne has shared some simple tricks and advice on making the most of your home, with specific guidance on dressing your shelves to make your home look like something out of a magazine!

Here are five things to remember if you're looking to dress your shelves:

1. Know the space 

Dress your shelves


It doesn't matter whether you have open shelves or shelves that are built into an alcove or a glass cabinet in a room, the same rules apply when it comes to dressing them.

So you don't need to worry about the style of the shelf, just ensure you have enough space for everything you want to display.

Having a mixture of practical and sentimental pieces is important and adding a classic scent to a room is always essential when creating your ideal space. Using something such as this Max Benjamin Diffuser is a simple way of creating an atmosphere using a special scent, and as an added bonus, it will look fabulous on display.

2. Follow the size guide on your shelves

vase for shelves

When you're dressing a shelf, the key thing to remember is that you want it to look aesthetically pleasing but also have a nice flow to it that makes sense.

Yvonne says: 'The general rule of thumb with dressing any shelving is to have larger items at the bottom.'

Why? Placing the largest items at the bottom looks better than trying to squish bigger items such as a vase or a pot onto the topmost shelf, plus, if your items are heavier you don't want them to be too high up if you tend to move them around a lot.

This eye-catching Mindy Brownes Vase for example would work great on a lower shelf, particularly as it will be easy to reach if you frequently like to have fresh flowers in your house.

3. The importance of statement pieces

shelves decorations


Yvonne recommends housing a statement piece at the top of your shelves to round out the look, so you could use an ornament, a vase, candlesticks or books and book ends to tie in your aesthetic choices on the top shelf.

It also makes sense to leave items you don't need to access as frequently towards the top of your shelve to make things easier for you and your family.

When it comes to statement pieces, use items that naturally draw the eye, such as this gorgeous ornament from Mindy Brownes.

4. Make it personal

The centre point of a group of shelves will always be an area that receives the most attention which is why you should use this shelf to display items that matter the most to you.

Yvonne advises putting a photo frame or other personal items that make your home unique in the centre to capture the attention of people as they walk into the room.

This Mr & Mrs Photo frame from Widdop, for example, would look gorgeous on a shelf in a home of two newlyweds. Discover our range of photo frames here for all occasions.

5. Odd numbers are key 

Candle sticks for shelves

If you're going to group items together it's always in odd numbers - three or five.

For example, if you're stacking books, little ornaments or smaller items, it's better to have them grouped in odd numbers, and the same goes for picture frames and artwork.

This trio of candlestick holders from Coach House would be perfect on display with their simple and elegant design adding a touch of glam to any shelving unit.

At McElhinneys we have a wide variety of home decor, giftware and soft furnishing pieces available to ensure your home suits your style in every way. Discover our homeware collection online here.

For a glimpse at the finished product - a fully styled shelving unit - check out Yvonne's video below:

It just goes to show, that a few simple changes can make all the difference!

Until next time,

Hannah x

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