Imagine our delight when the lovely Hannah Walters, owner of New England Living – SY10 and co-founder of one of our favourite interior brands, Charlested Interiors offered to give us a masterclass in shelf styling (something she’s loved well before the days of the #shelfie!). We hope you enjoy Hannah’s top tips from her 20 years in the house and home industry – please do tag us @styledhomestudios with your shelf styling images!
Before we get to your top tips Hannah, where did your love of interior styling come from?
“I was surrounded by styling and merchandising from day dot! My mother had her own interiors business for over 30 years and her eye for dressing homes and window displays was renowned locally as the best in the area. Saturdays from a very young age were spent in her shop whilst the run up to Christmas was non-stop tree displays. Growing up our home was immaculate, styled to perfection with not a single home-made decoration on our Christmas tree or painting on the fridge door. This was my starting point in my own interiors career and I was incredibly lucky to have gained experience in both business and styling from such a young age. My own style has evolved over the years and is really very different to my mothers. I love injecting colour and shape, I love changing pieces around to tell a different story in our home and I love adding the children’s decorations to the Christmas tree (but there’s a limit)!”
“Is it sad to say that my most relaxing pastime is shelf styling! Stripping things back and re-building a shelf display is a quick and easy way to inject a new look to your home. Media walls, free standing units, laundry cupboards or in-builts, dining rooms or living rooms, bathrooms or utilities shelves are a playground for styling! Here’s my 5 top tips to create the perfect layout…
How to choose what to include:
- Height – vases & pots, candlesticks and of course books, books, books. Books will provide the starting point to give your shelves structure.
- Texture & shape – links & beads or vessels with bevelled edges & rounded objects
- Tone & colour – mix neutral tones with deep earthy colours like wood and greenery. Your book spines will also add colour and depth.
- Memories & meaning – Choose objects of interest that have a story behind them; something from your travels or childhood, an item you’ve collected that you were drawn to.
How to lay it out:
This bit is all about balance, balancing the heights, the texture, the colour and the objects of interest. Sounds tricky but this is the easy bit. Using the zig zag formation, you really can’t go wrong!
Start with your books pile groups of 2 or 3 books together, working out which complement each other most. Now arrange these across and down your shelves in a zig zag formation. You can alternate lying down books or standing up books this won’t matter. But, for example, if you place your books to the right on one shelf, pop them to the left the shelf below. You don’t need to include books on every shelf but just keep to the zig zag rule.
Now use this rule to place your other items on the shelves. This will ensure you never place pots above pots or candlesticks above candlesticks or greenery above greenery or items with lots of height on top of each other. Put simply, if you place a tall thin light colour pot on one shelf make sure the item on the shelf above or below is deeper in colour, not a pot and has a shallow shape to it.
Stand back and take a look…if there is too much green in one area or if not enough height in another move things around a little until you feel happy.”
What are your favourite parts of your home to style?
“I love changing things up regularly and usually after a photo shoot at the house the children come home to a whole new setup depending on what room has been used! Our kitchen and living area is a really calm area full of natural light; it’s the perfect space to style differently through the year to reflect the seasons.
I spend a lot of time in my office space so I love styling in here, it feels personal to me and a place I can experiment with ideas using rugs, shelf styling and lighting that don’t necessarily work with the rest of the house.”
All of the beautiful images in this article were shot at Hannah’s home, which is now available for hire by the hour with Styled Home Studios. Hannah is a passionate supporter of small, creative businesses and her home is a perfect light and airy space for lifestyle and product shoots. You can contact Hannah via the message button to enquire about renting her home for your next shoot below.