The Designer Secret to Styling Gorgeous Global Shelves

Do you want a magazine-worthy shelf that reflects your love of travel, but don’t know where to begin? It doesn’t need to be overwhelming to style a bookshelf from the ground up. Follow these simple tips for an effortless and gorgeous setup for your global collector shelves.

FIND YOUR COLOR

You don’t have to have a color explosion to embrace a bohemian spirit! Stick to all neutrals or a limited color palette for a cohesive and elegant look. Be sure to mix in a few pieces with natural and/or handmade texture (such as a Woven Palm Basket or Paper Mache Bowl) for visual interest.

Meridian | The Designer Secret to Styling Gorgeous Global Shelves
Don’t forget to mix in objects that are made from natural materials, such as a basket or paper mache bowl. These will help to create a feeling of a lived-in, collected space.

CREATE VISUAL TRIANGLES

Think about your stacks and vignettes in terms of secret triangles. Doing so will make a cohesive and professional looking shelf. Take, for example, this neutral bookshelf featuring a Meridian collector’s treasures.

Meridian | The Designer Secret to Styling Gorgeous Global Shelves
Using visual triangles will up your shelfie game.

Notice how the Blue and White Porcelain Pots create a triangle shape across the shelves.

Meridian | The Designer Secret to Styling Gorgeous Global Shelves

If you follow the Woven Palm basket to the Paper Mache Bowl and Batonga Basket Bowl, you’ll find another triangle pointing in the opposite direction.

Meridian | The Designer Secret to Styling Gorgeous Global Shelves

These visual triangles help keep your eye moving around the space, and create a “pulled together” visual.

CHANGE THE DIRECTION OF YOUR STACKS

Group books in odd numbers, and think about your other objects in terms of horizontal or vertical stacks. If you have a horizontal grouping of something (like books) on one shelf, make sure to vary the direction of the stacks surrounding it.

Think opposites! Make each shelf or square a little different so nothing is too similar height or layout wise.

When we styled this more colorful version of our bookshelves, we made an effort to mix and match the orientation of each stack:

Meridian | The Designer Secret to Styling Gorgeous Global Shelves
This same shelf, restyled in a more colorful collection, embraces different stack layouts in each open area.

Take a moment to compare the weight of each area on the shelf, and how they feel different in layout yet are cohesive in style.

Meridian | The Designer Secret to Styling Gorgeous Global Shelves

If you think about each section in terms of opposites, each shelf or square will feel a little different, lending to that collected and well-traveled feeling.

LAYER IN YOUR COLLECTED, GLOBAL FINDS

Sprinkle in unique items that are special to you, such as handmade items inspired by your travels. Group these items in clusters of objects with different heights. Asymmetry is your friend: The ultimate goal is to have every little vignette look a little bit different in layout.

Meridian | The Designer Secret to Styling Gorgeous Global Shelves
Group items special to you in clusters of different heights.

Embrace your quirks, and don’t be afraid to add objects with a little personality!

Meridian | The Designer Secret to Styling Gorgeous Global Shelves
Own your quirky, and don’t be afraid to showcase a little bit of your personality!

EMBRACE NEGATIVE SPACE

When styling shelves, always consider negative space. The slight opening of the row of books on the top shelf of this design (styled by Sasco Hill Studio) creates a visual pause and adds impact.

Meridian | The Designer Secret to Styling Gorgeous Global Shelves
Keep some space open to allow for breathing room.

Empty space that you’ve purposely left open allows for a little breathing room and makes the objects you’ve chosen to feature stand out.

BUILDING YOUR COLLECTION

Looking for handmade objects for your shelfie? Start with our Decorator Favorites, or dive into The New Neutrals for global pieces with texture and personality.

Top photo styled by Sasco Hill Studio.

Meridian | The Designer Secret to Styling Gorgeous Global Shelves

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