cff HOW TO STYLE OPEN FLOATING SHELVES | Simple and Serene Living


Monday, July 12, 2021

Open floating shelves are a great way to display your collections. As an apartment dweller, I know that space is at a premium and vertical space is important real estate.

open shelf styling

I love having a place to display the things that I have collected and love, and open shelves give me that opportunity while allowing me to rotate my collections. 

Choosing Your Floating Shelves

There are many different styles of floating shelves, and what you choose will depend on your own personal decor style. 

Let's start with the glass floating shelves. The shelves that I am using today are the glass shelves in my apartment. 

floating glass shelves

I chose to use vintage shelves that I purchased at an estate auction several years ago. I like the glass because I think it adds to a more open look that expands my small space. However, wood floating shelves are also a great look. 

The type of wood you choose will depend on your decor style and the look that you are trying to achieve. 

Shop Floating Shelves

Displaying Artwork

Floating shelves are a great place to display art. When we think of displaying our artwork and photos, we usually think of hanging them on the wall, but open shelves allow us to lean them. This is not only great visually but allows us to rotate our pieces more easily.

styling art on shelves

For my shelves, I have chosen two vintage paintings. You will notice that one is unframed while the other is in a beautiful gold frame. They both, however, are a similar style, which gives a more cohesive look. For interest, I have staggered them slightly.

If you love a more eclectic look you may want to experiment with using different styles together. Try different groupings until you get a look you like. 

Shop Vintage Fishing Boat Paintings

Adding Items Of Various Heights And Textures

It's important when choosing your items to choose ones that vary in height as well as texture and that will draw your eye upwards. 

vintage apothecary bottles

I started by adding my collection of vintage glass apothecary bottles.
The bottles are of varying heights and blend well with the oil painting. They also add a pop of color to a mostly neutral theme. 

vintage brass vessel

On the bottom shelf, I chose a large brass vessel along with a small studio pottery bowl. Both pieces have curves lines and work well with the artwork on that shelf. 

vintage pottery bowl

You can see that the shelves are really starting to take shape. 

Shop Studio Pottery Bowl

Displaying Books

Open shelves are a great place to display your books. If you are an avid reader or an old book collector adding books to your shelves is not only great visually, but can help free up other space. 

antique books on glass shelves

I chose a small stack of antique books for my vintage-themed shelves. I love old books, but new books will work equally well on your shelves and can be stacked as I have them or displayed vertically. 

Shop Design Bloggers At Home Book

Adding Houseplants

It's hard for me to style any area without a houseplant, and shelves were made for them.


Houseplants add color and life to your shelves and pothos are one of the most forgiving of houseplants. If you just can't get houseplants to grow, then a vase of fresh flowers will make a beautiful addition. 

Shop For Pothos

Well, my shelves are done and I am really happy with how they have turned out. 

open shelf styling

The most important thing to remember when you are styling your own open floating shelves is to use the things you love, the things that give you pleasure when you look at them every day, and to remember that shelves can be redone as often as you want. 

how to style open floating shelves

Find more home decor ideas and more ideas on styling open shelves.

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  1. The glass shelves are perfect...doesn't take as much visual real estate. Pinned it to my Feather Your Nest board.

  2. I hadn't thought about it, but glass floating shelves do make the space look bigger. Good point!

  3. I love the glass shelves it does not take away from what you are displaying. Love your vintage pieces and those bottles are great. Happy New Week. xoxo Kris


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