How To Decorate Shelves In Your Living Room: 2023 Guide

2 min read

Wood floating shelves next to gray mantle. Joanna Gaines inspired


When it comes to designing your living room, one aspect that often gets overlooked is the shelves. Shelves can be a great way to add both functionality and style to your space. In this article, we will provide you with some tips and ideas on how to decorate shelves in your living room in 2023.

1. Start with a Theme

Before you begin decorating your shelves, it’s important to decide on a theme. This will help you create a cohesive and visually appealing look. Whether you prefer a minimalist, bohemian, or contemporary style, choose a theme that reflects your personal taste and complements the overall design of your living room.

2. Mix and Match

Don’t be afraid to mix and match different elements when decorating your shelves. Combining various textures, materials, and colors can create an interesting and dynamic display. Consider incorporating a mix of books, plants, decorative objects, and framed photos to add depth and personality to your shelves.

3. Play with Heights

One of the key principles of shelf styling is to play with heights. Avoid having all items on the same level, as this can create a flat and boring look. Instead, vary the heights of your objects by using decorative bookends, stackable boxes, or different-sized plants. This will add visual interest and make your shelves more visually appealing.

4. Use Open and Closed Storage

Consider using a combination of open and closed storage options on your shelves. Open shelves can showcase your favorite books and decorative items, while closed storage can hide clutter and create a more organized look. Use baskets, boxes, or decorative containers to store items that you don’t want to display openly.

5. Incorporate Lighting

Don’t forget to incorporate lighting into your shelf design. Adding small, battery-operated LED lights or string lights can create a cozy and inviting ambiance in your living room. Place them strategically behind objects or along the edges of your shelves to highlight certain items and add a warm glow to your space.

6. Balance and Symmetry

When arranging items on your shelves, strive for balance and symmetry. This doesn’t mean everything needs to be perfectly aligned, but rather that the overall composition feels visually balanced. Place larger items on the ends or in the middle of your shelves, and fill the gaps with smaller objects to create a harmonious arrangement.

7. Rotate and Refresh

Don’t be afraid to rotate and refresh the items on your shelves regularly. This will help prevent your shelves from becoming stagnant and will give you the opportunity to showcase different objects and decorative pieces. Consider switching out items seasonally or whenever you feel like giving your living room a quick refresh.

8. Consider the Backdrop

When decorating your shelves, take into account the backdrop. Consider painting the back of your shelves in a contrasting color or using removable wallpaper to add depth and visual interest. This simple trick can elevate the overall look of your shelves and make your decorative items stand out even more.

9. Personalize and Have Fun

Lastly, don’t forget to personalize your shelves and have fun with the process. Display items that hold sentimental value or reflect your hobbies and interests. Incorporate elements that make you happy and create a space that truly feels like home.


Decorating shelves in your living room can be a creative and enjoyable process. By following these tips and ideas, you can transform your shelves into a stylish and functional focal point in your space. Remember to choose a theme, mix and match different elements, play with heights, and incorporate lighting to create a visually appealing and personalized look. Happy decorating!