Shelf Scaping 101

Okay, so you wont actually receive any college credit for this and I don’t actually have any qualification to be teaching this class. Unless, of course, enthusiasm and constant fiddling count. I say they do.

Often times when there is a shelf, mantle, table top, etc. that needs some love it gets tricky on how, exactly, to dress it up. I thought I would throw in my two cents.

My first rule is to shop your house. When decorating a table top, wall, etc. I rarely go and buy something for the occasion. Thrift stores and rummage sales are a great place to build a collection without spending much money and a can of spray paint can fix just about anything.

The other four rules are: layers, large scale, repeat, texture.

Layers: Let things overlap. Picture frames overlapping picture frames. A vase in front of a picture, a bowl on top of a stack of books, etc.

Large Scale: Make sure you include some large scale items. A whole lot of small items can start to look messy and busy, so make sure you have some pieces with some heft. A large mirror, a large frame.

Repeat: You don’t want everything to be the same, but you want to see some elements repeated. You know, so it looks pulled together. In my case white frames are the repeated element. A pair of lamps, a repeated color a collection. You dig?

Texture: You need to add interest and variation so include some texture. The woven sleeves on the three vases and the pattern on the candles add texture. Wood, painted surfaces, a metallic finish, woven pieces, fabrics are all ways to add some texture and variation, which by the way = interest.

Now considered yourself schooled 😉

Gallery wall sources: Hobby Lobby mirror that once lived in our bedroom and got a coat of white paint. Frames: Various sources (I like to pick them up when they are super cheap). The map is from our honeymoon and the print is from our Etsy shop. The globe was a flea market find and the three vases are from TJ Maxx.

You can learn more about the shelf by checking out these various posts —> Wanna know more about the building of the shelf and what it looked like for Christmas, click here. Wanna see it after Christmas came down, click here. Wanna check it out for Valentine’s day, check here.

Think you can ace Shelf Scaping 101? Share your photos with us on Facebook! Have a shelf dilemma? Send over a pic. Either way, I would love to hear from you so leave a comment!



  • Angela Hunt

    Super cute!!! I love it all :)

    • Megan Bray

      Thanks Angela

  • Annie Hedgpeth

    Lovely! I dig! I love using shelves like this. They add a lot of character and depth. Visiting from TDC. :)

    • Megan Bray

      Thanks for stopping by. I live the way it turned out. Kinda my little place to whoop it up. Fun to decorate for the holidays :)