My Favorite Elements for Styling Shelves

Whether you’re styling a single shelf, a bookcase or a whole wall of built-ins, capturing the perfect “shelfie” set-up can be challenging.  Too little or too much?  Does it look cluttered?  What can I use to fill in this space?  As the questions start swirling, what started as a small task can suddenly seem a little daunting!

Ballard Designs Delano Iron Door Cabinet with modern farmhouse décor. Farmhouse Redefined.

If you’ve been following along lately, you know I just finished a pretty big basement remodel in my own home.  One of the pieces of furniture that was on my wish list for this space was Ballard Designs’ Delano Iron Door Cabinet.  I chose the greige finish and it is the perfect mix of rustic and modern.  Exactly what I was going for in my new space!

Ballard Designs Delano Iron Door Cabinet with modern farmhouse décor. Farmhouse Redefined

I thought it would be fun to take you on the journey as I styled this gorgeous cabinet.  I’ve noticed that I tend to follow a pretty specific pattern as far as the types of things I like to include in my décor mix.  So I boiled it down to a simple formula and included a few of my favorite items that I used in my Ballard Delano Cabinet.  These items are versatile and pretty much fool-proof as far as I’m concerned.  They go with a variety of styles and will instantly jazz up any bookcase or built-in. 

Monogrammed vase shelf décor featuring Ballard Designs Amelia Vase. Farmhouse Redefined.


First up, monograms!  There’s something about a good monogram that gets me every. single. time.  Monograms are classy and elegant…plus, they put a subtle personal spin on what might otherwise be an ordinary item (hello, hand towels and pillowcases)!  Here, I used Ballard’s Amelia Vase, which comes in a brilliant gold finish that is the perfect complement to an etched white monogram.  I went with a single initial for our last name and love the modern spin on a traditional style.  I chose to leave it empty because I liked the look of it next to my little girl’s riding ribbons (almost like a vintage trophy!).  But this vase is also the perfect size for a small bouquet of fresh or faux flowers.  Speaking of which…

Ballard Designs Olive Branches in Burlap modern farmhouse shelf décor. Farmhouse Redefined.


Real or faux, a pop of green is an absolute must for me when it comes to styling shelves.  I’m always looking for ways to bring nature indoors and Ballard’s Olive Branches in Burlap are an easy way to do that.  This cute little bunch is affordable and looks so realistic.  The fact that I don’t have to remember to water it makes it that much more of a win for this not-so-green thumb!  I nestled my plant into a terra cotta vase, but its smaller size makes it really versatile.  It would look great tucked up on a shelf or grouped as a runner centerpiece on a dining table!

Ballard Designs Petite Vintage Blockprint Art modern farmhouse shelf décor. Farmhouse Redefined.


Think off the wall when it comes to art!  I’m a huge fan of propping small pieces of art up on a shelf or bookcase.  It’s a great way to add height to a vignette, plus the art acts as a beautiful backdrop for layering smaller pieces in front.  My style has always been a mix of vintage and modern, so this Petite Vintage Blockprint Art immediately caught my eye.  I love the vintage pattern paired with a streamlined, brushed gold frame. 

Ballard Designs Jacques Candle Holder modern farmhouse shelf décor. Farmhouse Redefined.


In displaying special items or collections, it can be tough to create visual interest and make sure each piece gets its due.  I like to repurpose candle holders as risers to help smaller items shine in their own spotlight.  We live on our 200-year-old family farm and, over the years, I’ve found myself collecting old cow bells.  I displayed them all on their own shelf, but put one of my very favorite ones on this Jacques Candle Holder as a way to elevate it from the crowd.  This helps to draw the eye in, not just to that one piece, but to the entire collection!

Personal Mementos and Vintage Objects

I love to decorate with things that have history…a significance either in my life or in general.  That typically translates into no shortage of personal mementos and vintage antiques mixed into my décor, which you’ve probably noticed in the photos I’ve shared so far.  I’ve scoured antique stores, flea markets and eBay over the years to build my cow bell collection.  Mixing these vintage pieces with new creates such a fun juxtaposition lining my shelves! 

I also love to decorate with personal things because I want people to get a sense of the 5 fun and quirky personalities that live in our home the minute they walk in the door.  Among the mementos in my Delano cabinet?  The collection of sea shells that my littles have foraged over 7 years of beach vacations, some of my husband’s favorite childhood books and my daughter’s very first riding ribbons.  Her excitement on the day she won those will forever be etched in my memory and seeing these little ribbons never fails to bring a smile to my face!

So there you have it!  A quick and easy look at how I approach styling shelves and bookcases.  I definitely err on the side of “less is more,” so my one key takeaway is to not be afraid of blank space!  Display items and collections sometimes need room to breathe and you shouldn’t feel like you have to fill every square inch of space with something

Another good thing to keep in mind?  Invest in quality pieces that will stand the test of time.  I’m a huge Ballard Designs fan and always find something unique, beautiful and high-quality.  Check out their website and How to Decorate blog for amazing home inspiration and versatile, gorgeous products for every room of your home.  Happy styling, friends!

This post was sponsored by Ballard Designs.

Full Blog Signature_FINAL.png