We recently opened up our Instagram inbox to your interiors questions. Interiors advice, styling dilemmas or quick questions about our range – we’re answering it all over on our Stories – but some questions require lengthier replies. We’ll regularly be picking some of your questions to answer in more detail here on our blog, starting today with this:
I’m currently updating my living room. Do you have any advice for decluttering and styling shelves?
Decluttering is actually one of our favourite things to do! It’s definitely the best way to start when updating one of your rooms. Set aside a whole afternoon to go through every single object in the room, considering whether it is something that you either love or need. Create a pile of items that you no longer wish to keep that could be donated to a charity shop or given away to friends, and fill a box with any items that you’re unsure of – you can go back to them in a couple of weeks and consider whether you have missed them. If there are items that you wish to keep but no longer work in this particular room, think about where else in your home they could live.
Once you’ve cleared away all the clutter and have a room full of objects that you love, it’s time to make any big changes. Perhaps you’re ordering a new sofa or you’re planning on painting your walls – get all of these big changes out of the way first before changing any smaller things, such as styling shelves. If you’re changing the colours in a room, the accessories may also need to change to fit in with your new colour scheme. This doesn’t mean that you have to buy everything new; use this opportunity to ‘shop’ your own home and move things around. The cushions you previously had in your living room could work in one of your bedrooms, or a vase from your dining room could fit in perfectly with the new colour scheme in your living room.
We like to start styling a room with a blank canvas. Take all the existing items off your shelves, mantelpiece and cabinets, and take prints off the walls. Before you start styling the small things, check that you are happy with the position of the furniture in the room. If you’ve made any big changes such as a new piece of furniture or a fresh lick of paint, you may wish to move a few things around. Once you’re happy with the larger pieces in the room, you can start to pay attention to the smaller details.
If you have a strong highlight colour, place the items of this colour first, to ensure that the colour is spread evenly throughout the room. For example, if you have several pink objects, don’t squash them all into the same corner, spread them out so your eye follows them around the room: a pink vase on your shelves, a pink print on the opposite wall and a pink terrazzo side table in the far corner. It’s up to you how many colours you feature in one room – you may want to take a more minimal approach with just one flash of colour or several bright hues might be more your cup of tea.
When it comes to styling shelves, here are our top tips:
- Use a variety of heights and shapes, starting by placing your largest or tallest item and working around it. Mix around items in varying shapes and sizes to find the perfect balance.
- Mix and match textures, creating interest by adding items in different materials like ceramics, wood, stone and rattan. Fill vases with dried flowers and grasses for extra texture.
- Arrange using odd numbers, as our brains find this more visually appealing. If you have large shelves, create small vignettes using objects grouped in odd numbers.
- Add pieces with personal value, such as items you’ve collected on your travels, objects that have been passed down or gifted to you by family members, or pieces you’ve picked up in antique shops or from independent designers.
- Use plants or flowers to add texture, colour and interest. Real plants will continue to grow, allowing your shelves to evolve while dried flowers or grasses are perfect for a natural, boho aesthetic.