Living Room:

Start with a tall bookshelf, assemble your favorite treasures and be ready to play around with them a little.

I like to put heavier items on the bottom like coffee table books, baskets to hold loose items, and anything that creates a big block of color (like these pillows).

The top of the shelf should be “lighter” items. This is like wearing neon green shoes with black, your eyes immediately go there. Rather than a pho-pa this is encouraged. Here candle holders are mostly clear or see-through so they create an eye line moving upwards without weighing down the top shelf. We also used a little green at the top for some life and color, feel free to use something in your favorite house plant category like succulents or a fern! You might be puzzled at the middle of the shelf. What goes there? In the middle we used a cake-stand to create a little more dimension and height difference breaking up the shelf at the same time so it’s not too linear. Think – organized chaos – on purpose! We played around with items for awhile, feel free to move around your favorites and play with it a bit.


Here is a close up of another way to style your shelf (maybe you only have a low shelf). I love coffee table books but sometimes they can be too much all lined up. You may want something less cluttered but still interesting to look at. We put some books in a basket and others we stacked items on top of them. Who’s also to say you can’t stack baskets? We did that to show off the design of the swirly basket behind the giraffe. I never want to put a hole in a handmade basket, it ruins the integrity plus someone spent weeks making it, I can’t bring myself to do that so this is another way to show them off.  I hope you noticed how we mixed Asian and African.. the color ties it all together rather than a “theme” it’s more of a treasure trove of goodies. Lastly, because we are still practical you will see there is a few extra pillows for kiddos to pull out and their basket of games.


Kid’s Rooms:

Kid’s rooms are fun to style and can be a little more crazy than a living room. This bookshelf has a cabinet section to hide the arts and crafts which are harder to coordinate and keep the top half looking purposeful. We used a combination of vintage books and kid-friendly books to create symmetry as well as toys of various lengths to keep your eye moving upwards and away from the floor (which may or may not have toys of its own). Here there is a toy grounding the shelf to the left on the floor moving upwards to a monogram letter, a truck resting in front, and animals that actually are “too tall” for the self jumping out carefully bringing your eye up further. On the top there are carefully placed larger items that balance out the variety on the bottom.





Here is another close up of how to use items “too tall for the shelf”. It’s whimsical yet purposeful at the same time.

Don’t have a bookshelf? Think about topping off the dresser or nightstand with a couple books and animals to lighten up the mood! Keep a similar theme or color scheme to tie it all together. Mixing wood and metal are ok as long as the woods are all the same range of color. The antique look would clash with shabby chic but here all the darker colors work with each other well. The pops of color are in different mediums like beads or gold accents.




Don’t forget, have fun with it! This is your home, it will have a special meaning to you and that will tie it all together. Every piece should have a story of why it makes sense to you. Don’t just fill your shelves with garage store finds. Every item should have a story, purpose, and speak to your heart.


Thank you to House On Hickory for the use of the living room and kid’s room. Check out their amazing website of tips and tricks to make your house look designer on a dime!

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