• Style Sessions | Surface Styling

    We know it's been a while but Style School is back in session and we’re talking all about surfaces. You know, that coffee table that sits empty because you're not sure how to jazz it up or the bookshelves that have you scratching your head. We've got you, and we’re about the break it down. Literally. Because the best place to start is a blank slate. Let's get to work...

    First up -- shelves. Shelves are one of my favorite things to style. I love to display collections and books that speak to the homeowners personalities and there is not a better place to create a showcase. 

    Obviously, your initial step is to clear off your shelves. Last year we upgraded this space in our house from random tan base cabinets by adding floating shelves, personality with paint, a focal point with lighting and a backdrop with wallpaper. Wallpaper or a contrasting paint color is a great canvas to start with and can unify the objects placed on your shelves.

    Next, you'll start with your first layer. BOOKS. This is the most important part because you will never have true shelf style without books. If you haven’t started already, collect books about things you love and places you’ve visited or pickup affordable vintage books to use as your bottom layer -- this is essential. Place some books in stacks and others vertically. 

    After the books, add in trays and boxes. These items can shift around as you add in other things but it’s nice to go ahead and place them so that you get a good mix. Once you've spread your trays and boxes around, then its on the the next batch of goodies.

    As we know, the best goodies are art. These pieces can be subdued or full of color (like pictured) but the key here is to create a back layer that will give dimension once the spot is totally styled. Mirrors are also a great addition here as well and it’s great to mix up how these pieces are displayed. Hang some, prop some, and use easels to display your favorite pieces.

    Then it’s time for larger pieces such as pottery and baskets. It’s good to start with placing accessories based on their size so that these larger pieces don't get lumped together and mess with the balance of the shelves. 

    Once your larger pieces are set start adding in smaller vases and boxes and eventually small details like collections of "do-dads". Group likes with likes to create an impact and some greenery to add some life. Tweak areas you aren't happy with and you're done!

    Now let's talk about coffee tables. Again, books and trays are your starting point and what everything else builds off of. 

    Mix different sizes of books like large coffee table books alongside smaller novels or vintage books.

    From there, vases, bowls and small trinket dishes are layered in and things start to get exciting! Start to fill those bowls and vases. I like to keep it to one plant and one vase of cut flowers to keep things from getting too, too crazy. 

    Add in some candles – again, here I like to keep it to one scented candle along with a grouping of unscented tapers for ambiance (we aren't trying to smell like a Bath and Body Works, folks). Finish it off with some bits of personality (i.e. some beads or marbles in a bowl) for texture and there you go, beautifully layered surface style!

    Like we've said before, we hope these "lessons" empower you to take on projects that may seem a little intimidating at first sight. Just know that we believe in ya! We've covered Art DisplayPattern MixingEntertaining, and now Surfaces. What would you like to see next?!

    Images by Cameron Reynolds 

    Happy Styling!



     Wallpaper | Blue Ikat Jar | Yellow Vase | Pink Planter | Bookends | Candle | Art 1 | Art 2 | Scalloped Gold Frame |Tassel Basket | Tray | Beads | White Bowl | Vogue Living Book | Being Human Book | Absolutely Beautiful Things Book