15 Ideas for Shelf Displays
- Photo copyright Courtney Browning.
Pick a color palette
Kansas decorator Courtney Browning of 12th and White says shelves will look most cohesive when a color story runs throughout. "Not everything has to be matchy-matchy, but choosing two or three shades and repeating them will give your displays an intentional, pulled-together look," Courtney says. "These built-ins in our living room are done in a neutral palette with silver, black and gray running throughout, but any color combination would be beautiful."
Stack benches to create unique shelves, perfect for rustic accessories such as our collection of watering cans or old books.
Label shelves so each family member can show off their style and personality.
Keep specialized books where you'll need them most. We stashed our favorite cookbooks on a small kitchen shelf and added accessories that complement the room's colors.
Show off collectibles
These kitchen shelves in an Ohio home offer both storage and a decorative display for the homeowner's 400-piece pottery collection, arranged by color and style.
Vintage curiosities on built-in shelves greet visitors as they step into the foyer of this Michigan home. “I’m a big collector,” the homeowner says. “We display pieces from our families, gifts and found things.” Incorporating items with a history injects personality into a room.
Hard-sided suitcases store files on a shelving unit.
Shelves in this Chicago-area home office combine practical storage with attractive art pieces. Lower cubbies keep paper products within easy reach.
A geometrical grouping of portraits and formal furniture sets the tone for a traditional bookcase in this Chicago-area Colonial style home. Books stacked horizontally, vertically and at an angle mix with a few accessories in dark colors for a subdued, formal look.
Create a rainbow of reading and make a statement by color-coding your shelf as the owners did in this Columbus, Ohio, house. If you don't have a complete rainbow, stop by a local library sale to find the missing hues.
Use books as a pedestal for ceramics or vases. We added two books under the smaller dish on the second shelf.
Bold color backgrounds call for clean, simple lines. Wrap books in brown packing paper for a warm, uniform scheme.