How to Decorate Dining Room Shelves: Tips for a Stunning Display

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Dining room shelves are a great way to display decorative elements and add personality to your dining room.

But, decorating shelves can be a daunting task without proper guidance.

In this article, we will provide expert tips on how to decorate dining room shelves, including determining the purpose and style of the shelves, choosing a color scheme, mixing and matching decorative elements, incorporating lighting and greenery, displaying artwork, playing with height and scale, and adding personal touches for a stunning display.


Determine the Purpose

Before decorating your dining room shelves, it’s important to determine the purpose of the shelves. Will they be used to display decorative elements or to store items?

Look for inspiration in design magazines or online sources to help guide your decision.

It is essential to know whether the shelves will serve as a decorative element or a functional one. If it’s decorative, the emphasis will be on style and aesthetic appeal.

On the other hand, if it’s functional, the focus will be on storage and organization.

You can also consider a combination of both purposes, where the shelves can be used to store items while also being decorated with stylish accessories.

Once you’ve determined the purpose of the shelves, it will be easier to decide on the appropriate décor items and storage solutions.


Select the Style

When decorating your dining room shelves, it’s important to consider the style you want to achieve. Whether you prefer a traditional, modern, rustic, or eclectic look, the décor items you choose should reflect your personal style and complement the overall aesthetic of the room.

Look for inspiration in design magazines, online sources, or your own personal style to help guide your decision. Pay attention to details like color, texture, and shape to create a cohesive and visually appealing display.

Here are some examples of different styles that you could use when decorating your dining room shelves:

  • Traditional: A traditional style might include classic décor elements such as decorative plates, crystal glasses, and silver candlesticks.

  • Modern: A modern style might include minimalistic décor elements such as simple vases, abstract sculptures, and sleek picture frames.

  • Rustic: A rustic style might include natural décor elements such as woven baskets, wooden crates, and pottery pieces.

  • Eclectic: An eclectic style might include a mix of different décor elements from various styles, such as vintage pieces, bold colors, and unique sculptures.

Choose Color Scheme

Choosing a color scheme is essential to create a cohesive look for your shelves. Consider the color scheme of your dining room and select decorative elements that complement it.

Be sure to balance the colors of each element to create a visually pleasing display.

In addition to considering the color scheme of your dining room, you can also choose a complementary color scheme for your shelves.

Complementary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as blue and orange or green and red.

Using complementary colors can create a striking and dynamic look for your shelves. You can also consider using monochromatic or analogous color schemes for a more subtle and cohesive look.

Check out Canva’s tool for finding complimentary colors here


Mix and Match Decorative Elements

Mixing and matching decorative elements can add interest and dimension to your shelves. Consider adding items of varying heights, textures, and shapes, such as books, vases, decorative bowls, or figurines.

Be sure to balance the weight and color of each item to create a cohesive look.

In addition, consider mixing and matching different materials and finishes, such as metal, wood, and glass, to add depth and texture to your display.

You can also play with the placement and arrangement of the items to create a dynamic look. For example, place items of similar color or shape together to create a cohesive grouping, or stagger items of varying heights for a more organic look.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations until you find a display that you love.


Use Lighting to Highlight Décor

Adding lighting can help highlight your decorative elements and create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your dining room. Consider adding lamps, candles, or other decorative lighting options that complement your style.

Lighting is a crucial aspect when it comes to decorating dining room shelves. Adding the right lighting can help showcase your decorative elements and create a cozy ambiance in the room.

Consider adding lighting fixtures such as pendant lights, wall sconces, or shelf lights. These fixtures can be used to highlight specific decorative items, such as artwork or sculptures.

Alternatively, you can add candles or string lights to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Choose lighting fixtures that complement the style and color scheme of your dining room and balance the brightness of each fixture to create a cozy and welcoming ambiance.


Incorporate Greenery

Incorporating greenery is an excellent way to add a fresh and natural element to your dining room shelves. Plants and flowers can soften the look of your shelves and bring a touch of nature into your home.

When choosing greenery for your shelves, consider the style and color scheme of your dining room. This will help you select plants or flowers that complement your existing décor.

Plants such as pothos, snake plant, and succulents are low maintenance and are great options for indoor use.

They require minimal sunlight and water, making them ideal for those who may not have a green thumb or who are new to caring for plants.

If you don’t have the time or energy to maintain live plants, faux plants and flowers can also be used to achieve a similar effect without the need for regular maintenance.

Moss walls are also a popular option for adding a touch of greenery to your shelves. They are low maintenance, require very little watering, and can be customized to fit your desired style and color scheme. Moss walls can also add a unique texture and visual interest to your shelves.

When selecting pots or vases for your plants or flowers, consider the style and color of your dining room shelves.

Choose containers that complement the overall look and feel of your décor. You can also experiment with different sizes and shapes to create a visually interesting display.

Incorporating greenery into your dining room shelves can add a calming and refreshing element to your space. It’s important to select plants or flowers that are low maintenance and complement your existing décor to ensure a cohesive and beautiful display.


Display Artwork

Displaying artwork on your dining room shelves can be a great way to add personality and interest to your space. Large statement pieces can serve as a focal point, while smaller pieces can be grouped together to create a cohesive display.

When selecting artwork, consider the style, color scheme, and theme of your dining room. This will help you choose pieces that complement your décor and create a harmonious look.

A large piece of art, such as a painting or photograph, can make a bold statement on your shelves. Consider the size of your shelves and the scale of the piece when selecting artwork.

A large piece can draw attention to your shelves and add a dramatic touch to your dining room décor.

You can also create a gallery wall on your shelves by displaying a collection of smaller pieces. This can include paintings, prints, or photographs, and can be arranged in a variety of ways to create a visually interesting display.

When selecting artwork, be sure to choose pieces that complement your color scheme. This can include pieces that feature colors from your dining room décor, or pieces that add a pop of contrasting color. Consider the theme of your dining room as well.

For example, if your dining room has a coastal theme, you may want to display artwork featuring beach scenes or nautical elements.

No matter what type of artwork you choose, be sure to display it in a way that is visually pleasing.

This can include grouping similar pieces together, using frames or mats that complement the artwork, and arranging pieces in a way that creates balance and symmetry.


Play with Height and Scale

Playing with height and scale is an effective way to create visual interest and depth on your dining room shelves. Taller decorative elements, such as vases, candlesticks, or sculptures, can be placed on the ends or corners of the shelves to draw the eye upwards.

Smaller decorative elements, such as figurines or decorative boxes, can be placed in between or in front of the taller elements to balance the composition.

Be sure to vary the heights and weights of each item to create a dynamic look. For example, you can stack books or place decorative boxes on top of each other to create height, or use different sized vases or candlesticks to create variety in weight.

Experiment with different arrangements until you achieve the desired look.


Add Personal Touches

Personal touches can help make your dining room shelves feel more unique and special. Family photos or heirlooms can be displayed on the shelves, adding a personal touch and making the space feel more like home.

Items that reflect your hobbies or interests, such as books, collections, or memorabilia, or successes can also be incorporated into the display.

Consider arranging these items in an aesthetically pleasing way, such as grouping them together or creating a themed section on the shelves.



Decorating your dining room shelves can be a fun and creative process that adds style and personality to your space.

By following these expert tips and ideas, you can determine the purpose and style of your shelves, choose a color scheme, mix and match decorative elements, incorporate lighting and greenery, display artwork, play with height and scale, and add personal touches for a stunning display.

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