• Paulina Stelmach


I have been asked how to style open-floating shelves a few times in the past few months and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to write a blog post about it. Open-floating shelves are super easy to install, and they make the place look so much more open (hence the name) which is something I would advise you to do if you have a small place.

'But how should I style them?'

Start thinking about it's functionality; Do you want it to store the pieces you use daily for easier access or you are only using it as display?

Large Pythagoras Shelf with a vase, book and a plant pot on top

Are you using it as display? Great, here are some tips on how to style a decorative open-floating shelf.


When styling an open-floating shelf, balance is key. Make sure that both sides of the shelves are even weighted for visual purposes. If you do not want to place large items at either sides of the shelf, you can choose one item and centre it on of the shelves; then layer around that item with things like art work, frames and little décor pieces.


Try layering things on top of each other to create dimension. For example, later an art work piece on top of books or a chopping board and then overlap it with other items slightly.

TIP: Don't layer everything in a straight line - have things pop and have them facing different directions. Believe it or not, it will make the shelf appear more appealing and eye catching.


Adding a piece or artwork or a framed photograph creates a story and adds something interesting onto the shelf. Do not try to make them sit straight - let them lean against the wall.


Nothing adds a little life to a room like a little bit of greenery here and there. Getting a few plants and placing them on the shelves will add a pop of colour and some texture to the room. Plants also have a lot of advantages (but I will cover those in another blog post)

Also, to add more contrast; try and use a variety of different plant pots on the shelf.


When layering your shelf, make sure that the object you are using vary in height for a larger visual impact. It can be something as simple as a sleek vase, a tall piece of art or even a tall plant! Then use your smaller objects to layer them around the tall one; it will draw your eye upward.


IF you are using colourful objects to display or if the shelf you're styling is in a bright coloured room, use some neutrals to town the palette down. This will help you create balance and ensure that your shelves don't look too bust or mismatched.

TIP: Why not try and style your whole shelf in neutral colours? This will create a look that feels timeless and sophisticated.


Another fun tip for people who want to be bolder, is to paint your shelves. If your shelf is in a neutral room, adding a splash of colour to your shelf can make it stand out - or you can go the other route and paint in the same colour as the surrounding walls. Either way, your shelf will be in the centre of attention and your hard work will not go unnoticed.

Still not sure what to add to your shelves? Here's a few ideas;




If you have any more questions or would like to know more about styling an open-floating shelf, don't be afraid to message me or visit my OPEN-FLOATING SHELVES Pinterest board for more inspiration.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through my links

See you next Saturday,