Cindy Gibbs Interiors
Tips on arranging your shelves

Tip 1  Grouping items as light or dark makes shelves more consistent.

Tip 2  Horizontal stacks of large books visually ground the shelf and are restful to the eye.  The stack can be used as a base for accessories, adding height where it's needed.

Tip 3  Create a focal point for each shelf by packing away smaller items and replacing them with fewer, bigger accessories.  Stagger the larger accessories left to right throughout the shelves to create an interesting visual rhythm for the eye to follow.

Tip 4 Less attractive paperbacks are confined to decorative baskets or simply put away out of site.  On each shelf, leave a little empty space where the eye can rest.

Step-by-Step Arranging Techniques

1. Start with weight.  Lay a foundation by placing two visually weighty items at each end of a shelf.  Objects look "heavy" if they're big, colorful, dark, patterned, or have an unusual shape. 

2.  Add height and color.  Tall objects give an arrangement dynamic movement.  Shots of color add interest:  Exampe, a light green vase repeats a light green bowl color, and a dark green vase balances a dark book that the light green bowl sits on.

3.  Finish with filler.  Small items bridge the big objects.  A stack of wooden bowls meld together to act as a solitary item.  Add texture with decorative balls. I use plants to soften and pull things together.

Look for magazine articles on shelf arranging. Look at the pictures in magazines, they are an invaluable source of information.  Take your own pictures when you see a display that catches your eye.  Become aware of how other people are arranging accessories.  Then practice.  Like everything else in life, the more you practice, the better you get!


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