Guest Blog: Helpful Tips For Staging Shelves For Your Home

Rhiannon Gillis is back giving you advice on how to decorate a rented home. Her previous post on general decorating tips for renters gave  you a kickstart on decorating your home. Now she looks at how to make the best use of the surfaces around your home.


Make your home unique to you

Recently while dressing some shelves for a home, I was told how difficult this process was for them to do on their own. They had gone as far as looking up advice on how to do this online.This is not the first time that I have heard this, and it is certainly something that I want others to be able to achieve on their own. It is gratifying to look at your shelves or mantles and know that you made them look that good.

First, before you do anything, just clear off all of your shelves or other space you have, and start completely from scratch. Second, please don’t over think it. Simply think of your shelves or table tops as a way to display your accent pieces.

Now keep these things in mind once you begin:

Less is more


Keep it clutter free

It’s okay to see your shelves. Don’t feel like you need to cover up every inch of your space. If you have a lot of pieces, sometimes it’s necessary to use self-restraint. Only keep what you really want to show off. 

Don’t force it

Uniform shelves

Add some variety

You want it to look casual, as though you just threw it all together. Don’t let everything become too matchy. Having a decent variety of items, shapes, colors, and sizes, will help you achieve the casual look.

Maybe allow some books to stand while others lay down on their sides. As you can see in the image, allowing the shelves to be so uniform makes it look more like a retail space than a home. 


Grouping pieces

Mix up items of different sizes

Try not to allow too many single items on their own, unless they are large pieces. Group some elements together so that you have more of a variety visually. 

Size does matter

Balance item sizes

Balance the sizes of your items

Try to avoid using items so small that you have to get really close to see them. Having some larger pieces is much more impressive. Also, have the heavier pieces on the bottom of your shelves, and go a little lighter as you go up. The above image could benefit from having larger scaled pieces. The image below shows how you can lighten the load on top.

Better balanced items

A fab example of good balance

Examples of best items to use

Old books or ones with interesting covers

Old books

Picture frames 

Picture Frames

Dishes (for a kitchen, or not)

Dishes as decor

Old toys 

Old toys

Decorative vases 

decorative vases

Items from travel 

Items from travel

Fun book ends 

 fun book ends

Something out of the ordinary (like a bowling pin!)

unique items 

All that being said, I am going to repeat step two. DON’T OVER THINK IT! These are very loose tips that should only help you out. Do what works for you and show off all of the great things you have, or will eventually get -that is the whole point.

Written by Rhiannon Gillis. Rhiannon is a designer based out of Los Angeles and writes for the popular design blog

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*All of the images used in this post came from


2 responses to “Guest Blog: Helpful Tips For Staging Shelves For Your Home

  1. Great post! I tend to treat my shelves as just storage space, but after reading this I will definitely spend some time with organizing them properly 🙂

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