Fun Ideas to Make Art Shine on Your Shelves

Shelf with art and books

Shelves are simple and approachable spaces to add art to your home. Bookshelves, open shelves and display ledges are great areas to incorporate art alongside your decor pieces, such as candles, books, plants, vessels and other sentimental trinkets. And the best thing about adding framed art to your shelves, it that there's no drilling involved! Lean them on your display ledges, or have them stand on your bookshelf, you can really go wild! Here are some fun ideas to make art shine on your shelves that you can consider doing today if you're looking for ways to achieve that #shelfie status. 

1. Rearrange your shelves to breathe new life 

Rearranging your shelves to breathe new life is probably the easiest way to freshen them up. This option doesn't require you to buy anything new and gives you the chance to clear out any unnecessary clutter that may have gathered on your shelf to give space to what's really necessary.

2. Plan decor around your art pieces

If you have a piece of art in mind that you'd like to own, or have an art piece already, consider looking at the colour, theme and style of the art. This way you can gather decor items that support the art:

- a neutral, abstract artwork could work with decor items that incorporate texture like wood, ceramics and / or dried foliage,

- a bright, colourful piece will shine with one or two decor items that have a similar colour to the piece that can create a cohesive look on your shelf, or

- a landscape that holds sentimental value could be grouped with some trinkets or objects related to the art such as a books of a similar theme

These are not hard and fast rules but ideas to get your creative juices flowing to find what you have to personalise your shelf with art.

3. Choose a frame that suits the art and size of the bookshelf

Consider the size of your shelf and that the art fits that space. Your frame should then help the art pop but not too overtop that it distracts from the art. White, black or wooden frames are usual go to options but perhaps you like the look of a vintage golden frame. Browse your nearby home decor store and choose what you feel you would enjoy marveling at in your home.

4. Create a 'shelf gallery'

No need to have one piece of art on a shelf. Why not combine a few, yet different pieces of framed art to layer on the same shelf? You could mix art pieces with photographs of loved ones. When mixing styles of art, think of a similar, cohesive colour palette or here are some art style combinations to mix and match:

- botanical + typography,

- landscape + geometric, or

- still life + minimalist

5. Play around with different heights

Avoid having your shelf looking bland and uniform by playing around with different heights of objects to add visual interest. Consider the height of your framed art and play around with these ideas for a look you love:

- Book stacks (vertical or horizontal),

- Candles (tall and tapered or short and pillar),

- Sentimental trinkets (inherited from loved ones or from your travels),

- Plants (dried or fresh).

Use what you have at home first and play around until you've found the styling arrangement you like.

The fun thing about shelves is that they are a confined space to add art to and style with sentimental and decorative items in your home. At times, it can be a great way to add a pop of colour and visual interest to a functional shelf, such as an open shelf in the kitchen filled with plates, mugs and bowls. Play around, shuffle things if you feel like a change, and enjoy making the art shine in your home for you and others to enjoy.


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