• Michelle Gowdy

Simple 4 Styling Tips for Floating Shelves

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

My new wooden floating shelves are finally up in the kitchen! Some use floating shelves in the kitchen, because they actually serve a functional purpose of holding dishes, glasses, or bowls for lack of cabinetry. Others, like myself, like floating shelves for added character and charm to hold nik-nak items or additional decor accessories.

I had a small corner in our kitchen that I always felt was lacking some character and I love the concept of floating shelves. This was an opportunity to bring a little farmhouse fun, style and character into the space, without breaking the bank. I hit up my favorite home store, for a one-stop-shop, looking for the treasures that would sit on these shelves and it was so easy to find them, because I stuck to these four simple inspiration tips:

  1. Gotta Have Greenery: Whether real or faux, adding greenery to a space always adds a splash of color, texture, and warmth. I don’t have a green thumb whatsoever, so I went for the faux plant. If you do opt for a real plant, I’d recommend a low-maintenance one. There are a ton of potted vines, leaves, or shrubs you can find to add that simple touch of décor to your shelves. Since my shelves were short, I chose something small, but it adds just enough pop of color without being over the top. Adding greenery is one thing you cannot go wrong.

  2. Showcase Your Personality: I’m a Georgia peach, so when I saw this southern ‘Georgia’ sign, I grabbed it and knew it had to be a part of my shelf décor. For one, I rarely, if ever, can find a Georgia sign, and I’m not referring to football either. That sign is a reflection of me, and alludes to southern charm and hospitality, which I embrace and extend to all our guests and aim for my home to be a southern welcoming retreat. Styling floating shelves with something that speaks to your personality allows you to tell your story to all your guests. It can be a childhood memento, an artifact from your travels, a colorful or funky chachki, a talking piece.

  3. What’s So Funny: “Wine, because no great story ever started with someone eating a salad.” Consider it inspirational art. Find a funny, or thought-provoking quote to add to your shelves. If you spend a lot of time in your kitchen (or whichever room lies your floating shelves), a gentle reminder to laugh, to love, to live, or to dream never hurts.

  4. Find Your Focal Point: Perhaps start with placing your largest item first and then start layering items around it. What’s that one item you wish to bring people’s attention to? It could also be the item with the most pop of color as the focal point. Start with that and build upon.

A couple other tips to consider:

  • Maintain your shelf décor items at a reasonable eye level height. Especially if you have key personal items, quotes, or pictures, you want them at a height where they can actually be seen.

  • Play around with texture, colors, and heights aligning your items next to each other. Everything doesn’t have to stand upright, maybe lay a few pieces horizontally. Maybe add some space in between a few items, so you’re not cramming too many things in such a limited space.

  • Using floating shelves is a great alternative to add some vertical wall organization and storage options if you’re limited with countertop or cabinet storage.

  • Remember, there are a hundred different ways on how you can style your floating shelves. There is no “one right way.” Have fun with it. Play around with it. You’ll know when you’ve landed on the right juxtaposition and balance of items.

What are some of your favorite styling tips for decorating floating shelves? We’d love to hear your comments below!


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