How to Style a Tall Cabinet


Whether you’re decorating a bookcase in your living room or open shelving in your kitchen, this method can be used as a guide to creating perfectly styled shelves anywhere in your home. I’m first going to break down the types of items I always keep on hand for shelf styling… the “ingredients.” And then I’ll show you how to put them together with a cohesive color palette and simple vignettes… the “recipe.”


The first thing I recommend doing is choosing a general color palette. This will help you easily select which pieces to use and create a cohesive design. Look at all the items you have gathered and find similarities in color and texture. Do you have a lot of items with black on them? Do you have a lot of wood tones? Is there one accent color like blue or green you want to use? Decide what 2 or 3 colors you want to focus on, and make sure to include plenty of plain, neutral options like white, cream, or light gray.

Artwork / Framed Photos / Signs

This part is where you get to add all your personal items and make this design your own. Once you have chosen a color scheme, I suggest keeping the picture frames neutral, like this Wide Woodgrain Picture Frame or Scratched Bone Photo Frame Light Brown. These are super simple, but the clean lines are very aesthetically pleasing. Or you can throw in this Hinged Double Sutter Burnished Gold Picture Frame as an accent piece that is more eye-catching. Artwork comes in all different shapes and sizes for your convenience. I love layering these Carved White Bone Beads on shelves because they can pretty much accommodate any space. For a pop of color, these Jumbo Bicone Recycled Glass Beads have several beautiful shades.

Vases / Bowls / Pottery

Vases are probably the easiest ways to spruce up any design.  Adding some browns and neutral-colored pieces into your design mix is key to balancing a look. This Bloomingville Natural Hand-Woven Cane bowl set is adorable, and you can really play around with how they’re displayed. Another great option that is on the larger side is this Outdoor Terracotta Table Vase which is great for adding texture. Organizing shelving space is key to keeping your design clean, which is why I love this Creative Co-Op Stoneware Bowl because it also acts as storage. The same thing goes for these Handcarved & Whitewashed Mango Wood Boxes.


Now, no one is judging if you actually read the books in your home or not… but they do make for great decor pieces. My go-to hardcover books are from Creative Co-Op. They have every type of unique cover pattern & colorway that have a vintage look to them. Specifically, this Set of 2 New England Landscapes Storage Box books that have a beautiful color palette. Home decor books also are obviously a good choice, especially if you like a more modern look. I personally like these Laid-back Interiors for Modern Living and The Slow Home books together because their covers balance each other really well.

Sculptures / Figurines

I love playing with different shapes in my designs; they tend to always make a space more interesting. For starters, I’m obsessed with this White Ceramic Vase and its futuristic shape. Why not add another one? I love this Stoneware Reactive Glaze Finish & Vertical Handles Vase to give some balance between the two ceramics. This final item is a standard decor essential when decorating, and a candle can fit just about anywhere and look good. These also come in many different shapes and colors, but I think we already have enough going on for this design. I recommend keeping your candle selection clean and simple like this Brooklyn Candle Studio Sunday Morning Minimalist Candle.

I hope you were able to get some inspiration for decorating that tall cabinet! These items look great on any shelving situation you have in your home. If you really liked any of my examples, you can shop them all here:



with love,
Jennifer Ma