Dining Room Shelves & Tips for Styling

Last week I shared the reveal of my dining room makeover using a black and white speckle removable wallpaper from Chasing Paper.

Empty Frames & Vintage Art Gallery Wall.12

Prior to adding the wallpaper I had three Ikea shelf units in this space. Once the paper was up I decided to only add one unit back in because I wanted a completely different look than before. For the shelves I was very selective in what I brought back into the space. I had a lot to work with since I went from three times this but it also felt good to narrow it down and really make it feel focused. Many of the other items I had here were things like vintage books, typewriters, and old cameras. They are still things I love and will use in other rooms around our home. I’m always rotating decor in our home, so nothing ever seems to have a permanent home anyway! haha!

Cake Plates Collection Display.57

I have a slight obsession with cake plates and have been acquiring them for many years now. It made perfect sense to bring a lot of them together here and display them as a collection. I LOVE seeing them all together like this. Also having them out on display makes it easy for me to access and use them when we have birthday parties and other dinners.

Gold Ikea Shelves with Cake Plates in Formal Dining Room.09

In addition to the cake plates I only added a few other things — a set of vintage dishes from my grandmother, a couple of plants, a basket of vintage books and a few other vintage pieces like the milk glass, crystal candy dish and ceramic planter.

Maggie Holmes Dining Room 2

When it comes to styling shelves I have a few tips that seem to work every time!

Display collections together >> It’s always fabulous to see a collection of items displayed all together, rather than scattered across multiple rooms or spaces. Here I’m using my cake plates and they take up most of the open area on the shelf unit. My collection (or slight obsession) for cake plates does go further than this and I love to use them as part of the vignettes around our home to add levels. They are a great way to bring something up off the surface and help to give a variety of heights to a display. So in that sense you will see me break this tip/rule as I use them in other areas where they serve not only as part of the decor but function as well. But this display is a good representation of how well it works to show a collection together. Whether it is cake plates, vintage cameras, globes or something different, try gathering them all and showcasing them as one collective display!

Use lots of neutrals >> I am a fan of color and am not afraid to use it in my home, but I also like to balance it with lots of neutrals. Having so much white, gold and silver really makes the pops of green and pink and a bit of blue shine! When gathering items for your home I do suggest picking a color, or a few, that you want to incorporate. But don’t go out and buy every single thing you see in that color! It will just be too much. Instead pick a few things that you love in your color choices and then start building around those with lots and lots of neutrals. You can never go wrong with white so when collecting staple pieces like I do with cake plates, white is always a good idea!

Mix metals >> I have been loving gold for quite a few years now and have been incorporating more and more of it into my decor. It is really hitting mainstream now and I think that many who shied away from it at first are easing into the idea of it. BUT, this doesn’t mean that you have to go and ditch everything you have that is silver or pewter. It’s perfectly ok and actually my preference to mix your metals. It makes the space feel more balanced and curated instead of looking like you just went out and bought everything you could find that was gold. This way as your style and tastes evolve over time as they naturally will, you also won’t feel like you have to replace everything and start completely over. The touches of silver here actually make me love the gold pieces more because of the contrast and the way they play off of each other.

Use what you love >> I tend to not worry about what other people are doing but instead buy the things I love and then find a way to incorporate them into our home. I love the eclectic feel and I like the balance of mixing newer things with vintage pieces that I pick up while antiquing. If something speaks to you and it makes you happy, that is what you want to fill your shelves with. This approach allows us to feel really comfortable in our homes and makes your space a reflection of you. This isn’t to say that I don’t purchase things from big box stores like Ikea and Target because I definitely do! But I am very selective in choosing the things that I truly love instead of just grabbing a whole bunch of items from the newest release of products.

Gold Ikea Shelves with Cake Plates.42

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Let me know if you have any questions about my dining room makeover, the removable wallpaper from Chasing Paper or my tips for styling shelves! I am always happy to help!

Happy Monday!


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  • kelseyespecially
    August 10, 2015 at 9:11 am

    That fern looks so great with the gold and the wallpaper.

    How has the fern worked for you indoors? Is it in a low- or high-light area? I’ve been dying to add one to my space but am not the best at keeping plants alive…to put it lightly.

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