6 Essential Elements of the Perfect Shelfie

Photography by Caitlin Wilson Design

Text by Hannah Jones

Looking at an empty bookshelf or set of built-ins can be a little daunting, but there is a method to creating the perfectly curated shelf: layering. Starting small, working up, and rearranging when needed are the keys to making that perfect shelfie happen, and we’ve got the step-by-step guide below.


Photography via @stylophile_uk on Instagram

Let’s start with the basics. Add books to different shelves, either sparingly or all over, like above. Mix things up by stacking some books horizontally.


Photography by Jamie Montgomery

Every home needs a touch of green for liveliness, and a bookshelf is the perfect spot for a little planter.


Photography by Michaela Noelle Designs

It’s easy to go overboard using candles as décor, so take a modest approach and add them in sparingly. For an elegant, sophisticated feel, use elevated candlesticks instead of jar candles.

Paintings, Prints, and Pictures

Photography by Spacecrafting Photography, Design by Bria Hammel Interiors

A bookshelf is the ideal place for a smaller painting or print. Either stack them against the back of the shelf and layer smaller objects in front or hang them at intersections.

Bowls, Baskets, Vases, and Jars

Photography by Caitlin Wilson Design

Storage vessels are your new best friend if you’re dealing with a tall shelving unit with lots of space between each section. Choose large or small, tall or wide, and begin placing them.

Small Décor

Photography by Lisa Romerein, Design by Stefani Stein

Finally, add small knickknacks and other pieces of décor in the spaces that still feel empty, like small boxes, statues, clocks, and even pillows.

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