Tips for Styling a Hutch, Cabinet, or Built-in Shelf
So, there you sit, looking at your book case so stuffed with books that you can’t even see what you have, or your china cabinet with plates and bowls stacked and crammed in, with maybe the random dust-catching vase full of tired silk flowers pushed to one side. By now, chances are you don’t really even see it anymore.
Meanwhile, stuck in a catch-all drawer, or in a box on the shelf in your closet, where no one, including yourself, really sees them, are all kinds of interesting mementos, photos, little bits and pieces of your unique story and family life.
Get ready to have some fun, right now! Give your whimsy and creativity a little freedom, and with a few simple tips, in only an hour or two you can make your house tell your story, and look like you paid a designer to redecorate at the same time.
Pick a favorite hutch, a bookcase, built-in shelves, or even your mantle, and get ready to “style” that space to add eye appeal, and to make that part of the room uniquely yours, using things like a few favorite books, photos of you or your kids, and a mixture of odds and ends you have collected over the years.
For example, I’ve enjoyed displaying a small collection of miniature oil lamps one grandmother had collected as a child along with a stack of old hymnals from another grandparent as I styled the top of our piano. I found some interesting old wooden skeins of various colored embroidery thread in a box of “stuff” from a great aunt, and used a pretty pressed tin box to display those on the window seat in a guest room, with some crochet and embroidery work done by various women in our family.
You could use things collected in your travels, or even mementos like a child’s best baby outfit, a favorite toy, and a graduation photo.
Or maybe you could pull together several “like” things to create an interesting display, like three pitchers or creamers in various sizes. See what you might have in your house already that is all one color, but different in size, shape, texture or function.
Once you have gathered your “signature” items, begin to arrange them in the space, following these guidelines:
Height: You want to craft a landscape that will draw your eye with height, and then make a sweeping motion almost like a “wave” as you vary heights, pulling some smaller items in front of taller items. A stack of books or interesting boxes makes a good riser that can add height and lift smaller items that you want noticed. Try leaning a photo, art, or a tray or plate against the wall to give height, and to add layers of interest moving toward the front of the space.
Texture: Try to include items that will introduce a variety of textures. Things made of wood, fabric, metal, glass, or woven baskets are all ways to use interest and variety to your design.
Keep odd numbers: Don’t make items to “matchy-match,” but instead play with odd numbers. Small groupings of a collection of three things look better than several small things scattered evenly across the shelf.
Bookcases don’t have to be filled with books only. Mix in some spaces that showcase some of your treasures, a few items that make the room interesting.
I like to add a little pop of color, as well as adding a texture of glass or mercury glass, to add a little sparkle and draw attention to my beautifully crafted design of my story.
And remember that you don’t have to fill the whole space. If there is a shelf, or an area that is empty, that’s okay. That just means you can save a spot for your next treasure from Amber Marie & Company!
But once you get started styling areas in your house, it’s going to be hard to stop!