White sideboard table with decorative items

Shelving 101: 10 Types Of Shelving Decor You Need

If you’re like me one of my favorite things to do is shop, especially when it’s for shelving decor! Sounds silly, right? It may be to some, but I love the fact that there are so many unique pieces and decorations for shelves. Even once you get all your pieces purchased, there are endless ways to arrange and use them on your shelf.


Guide To Shelving Decor

With so many options, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which decorative pieces to choose. This is why I’ve compiled a list of 7 decorative pieces you need for your shelves. Once you read through this simple guide to shelving decor, you’ll be able to pick any of items below and cultivate a gorgeous shelving display for your home!


bird sculpture propped up on an antique book surrounding by tin, green and gold decorations

Books aren’t just for reading. They are also excellent shelving decorations! I actually consider these the most versatile decorations because they can be used in so many different ways and there are a wide variety of styles to choose from.

Books can be stood upright and held in place by decorative bookends just like a traditional bookcase. Or flip that book on its side and place a sculpture or figurine on top for some added height. You could even get a fake book with a cutout in the middle to store your keys, remote, or your secret candy stash while adding some additional layering to your shelf.

Pictures, Artwork, Or Signs

Burgundy, gold, and tan decorations

Artwork is perfect for larger shelves with more real estate. You can layer in multiple signs or art pieces or select one larger one to accent with candlesticks, vases or greenery. Pick art or pictures that bring in your color palette as these will be a focal point for your shelves.

I tend to prefer framed artwork for shelving decor, but feel free to choose canvas style art without one. I also suggest only using one or two signs, artworks, or pictures. Any more than that may create a focal competition that can be a bit distracting.

Sculptures & Figurines

Wooden mask, abstract sculpture, and rock shelving decor

Sculptures and figurines are a neat way to bring in your unique style and personality. For instance, if you’re an animal lover include an animal sculpture on your shelves. Smaller sculptures or figurines can be propped on books, or staggered in front of taller pieces. Taller objects can stand alone or be designed around other items.

Still feel stuck on which sculptures or figurines to choose? Check out this list of popular modern farmhouse figurines:

  • Wood medallions
  • Decorative bookends
  • Scales
  • Chain links or eternal circles
  • Jute balls
  • Wooden or metal jacks

Vases or Pottery

White vase with wooden wrapped jack and grey pot housing an aloe vera plant

If you’ve read Vases In All The Right Spaces, then you already know that I think vases are the most versatile decorative piece there is. Vases’ versatility also extends into the world of shelving decor. Vases or pottery come in a wide variety of colors, textures, and finishes. Use that to your advantage by mixing and matching them to create a harmonious look throughout your shelves.

Bowls, Trays & Baskets

Heart-shaped, wooden dough bowls

Bowls, trays, and baskets make for excellent shelving decor because they provide so many functions. Bowls can be used to store essential items or display other sculptures, greenery, or decor. Trays can add height to decorations like candles or stand on their own as a statement piece. Baskets can add texture and color all while hiding cords, remotes, or anything you don’t want to see.

Plants or Flowers

Display of greenery, flowers, candles, bowls and vases

Greenery and flowers belong in every home, especially on your shelves. Adding a touch of greens or florals adds an earthy feel to the space and provides a subtle pop of color. This is especially helpful if you have a neutral color palette. You can add greenery or florals on top of candlesticks or trays or in vases or pots.

Cutting Boards

Cutting boards

This one is obviously kitchen specific, but I would be remiss not to include these in my list of shelving decorations. Cutting boards, much like artwork, fill up a significant amount of shelving space. Their rich wood color and grains can warm up a cool, neutral palette which is often found in farmhouse homes. Layer these in with different heights, sizes, and shapes to create more dimension in your space.

Putting It All Together

As you can see, the shelves styled above use a combination of decorative items I mentioned above. The items create a well-balanced look with pops of color, creating a cohesive and stylish accent on either side of the neutral fireplace.

Now that you have the right pieces, check out my how-to guide for shelf styling to learn how to decorate yours like a pro! Drop a comment below if you’d like to learn more about shelving decor you can use to style your shelves.

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