The Trials and Tribulations of Styling a Statement Shelf

If you've been following us on Instagram or Facebook, you know all about our new favorite hanging shelf, a brass and wood statement piece hanging right over our couch.
When we decided to update our living room, it was obvious that we needed to find new life for that wall (I was never a fan of the three generic nautical paintings that hung there for so long...), and, well, considering our line of work, an additional space for some of our trademark "little things" made the most sense. We knew we wanted something beautiful and unique that we could easily freshen up with the season (and our moods), but we had no idea just how difficult styling a shelf like this would be! Finding the right balance of the perfect pieces, without adding too much clutter to the focal point to our living room, has proved to be quite the challenge.
Ted decorated it on his own first, which of course I had to adjust, but neither of us were satisfied with the outcome.
The colors and accents weren't quite right. The framed print and mustard jars made it just too vintage, the books seemed out of place, the skull wasn't substantial enough for the middle position, and the coffee mug planter blended into our wall color (plus, we really missed having it in our kitchen window).
So, it was back to the drawing board. In addition to the aesthetics, we also have to be mindful of weight distribution so the shelf hangs evenly (and doesn't come crashing down on the couch). Keeping that in mind, we took some of our own advice from a previous blog post (5 Must-Haves for the Perfect Bookshelf), pulled out more appropriate decor items in varying sizes and heights, and found the perfect piece for the middle shelf: the Cement Slant Planter!
Everything started coming together more easily once the middle was sorted out. We utilized the Skull Planter as a bookend for a larger, more colorful book, and added the Flower Coral on top of an old cigar box for a little height. We used a taller succulent, some extra air plants, three smaller succulents, and more books to create some weight to the bottom shelves, and suddenly, we had a decent looking shelf on our hands!
Of course, it still wasn't quite perfect, and we just couldn't leave well enough alone. After getting rid of some of the books and moving the skull up top, we broke out our Bicycle Bookends for some extra character. However, the coral didn't work as well without some sort of a base, and wait, where did that bird come from? 
I can't even to begin to guess how many times we've changed it since then. Succulents came and went, the bicycle bookends turned into an Anchor Statuette, the Tea Pot Planter joined for a minute, books left, books returned, and the bird kept jumping all over the place! 
And here we are today. I have a feeling we'll always be on the hunt for new, perfect pieces for the shelf, and they will come with time. But for now, it's fun to keep experimenting. 
Our biggest takeaway from all of this? Don't take it too seriously, and just keep using trial and error until you find a combination you love. Oh, and succulents never hurt a thing.
Ted & Anna

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  • Rachel Britton on

    I can relate to this struggle all too well!

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