Styling a Shelf

Cubby Shelves & Crates - Target

Cubby Shelves & Crates - Target

Since coming home a few weeks ago, it's come to my attention that I was in desperate need of more storage in my bedroom. My closet was overflowing and the two small dressers I have just simply weren't enough drawer space. I debated for a bit whether to get a third dresser and finally landed on these cubby shelves. They are remarkably spacious and each cubby can be used as either a display section or a storage section if you fill it with a container of some sort - I chose to fill them with these light wood boxes.

Now, onto the main event, I am not one to leave a wide open flat top undecorated. Every surface in my bedroom has some sort of decoration (including my windowsill), so today I'd thought I'd share my top tips for decorating a shelf or dresser top or really any other available flat surface. I wouldn't call mine complete just yet, but you can definitely get a sense of what I'm going for.

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Controlled Clutter

The key I think when it comes to this, is balance. You don't want your surface to look overcrowded, but a little intentional clutter makes a space look homey - in my opinion at least. How do you know when you've got enough stuff? Well honestly, that's going to be down to your eye. If you're unsure, leave it as is for a few days and see if anything about it looks off or feels impractical and adjust as needed.

Color Scheme

For this particular piece I mainly stuck to the color scheme of my room because that's simply the colors of the things I own. A nice big white surface with neutrals, mixed metals, and some pops of pink and green. If you're buying all new items for the piece, try to visualize each in your mind in comparison to the other items you're purchasing and the room as a whole. If your room is all black and white, a shelf full of super colorful items may look out of place and vice versa.


This is, to me, both the most fun part and most challenging part of decorating this kind of space. Layering is a great way to not only make more use of the space, but also to add visual interest. While I love symmetry, everything being one height is a little boring to look at. Add trays to not only hold things, but to amp up the texture of the surface. Rest a picture or two against the wall to add height, working up is a great way to go. You can see in the pictures I used my record player to add height on the opposite end of the painting and create a bit of balance. Again this is something that you can adjust over time until you're happy with it.


For my shelf, I picked up a Silver Porthos from Home Depot. It's a trailing plant that I think will look lovely hanging down the sides as it grows. Small plants like succulents are always a great addition to a space, as are fresh flowers, which is what will go in the hand vase. This is another small touch that I think goes a long way toward making a space look homey and complete.

That's all! I'll try to link to all of the new pieces for you guys in the photo captions. Have any shelf decoration tips of your own? Share them in the comments!