Even before we’d viewed our current flat for the first time, I was completely taken by the shelves in the bedroom. Not only was it built into a cove above a built in dresser, but it was freshly painted the whitest white and was in the perfect spot where the window light it beautifully. On moving in I unpacked and made a rather practical use out of them, but if I’m honest I didn’t need to have so much out on show and I quickly felt dissatisfied with the whole arrangement.
After a few trips to Tiger and H&M, I quickly found myself accumulating copper ornaments. They slowly made it on to the shelf and I started to look at the best way to arrange things. Strangely, it was quite the process to get to a point where I felt completely happy with the arrangement, so I thought I’d share a few pointers in case you’ve ever stared longingly at Pinterest or Kate’s blog (my personal favourite for interiors) but felt like you didn’t even know where to start…
START FRESH: I started with a completely clear set of shelves. After taking away all of the previous inhabitants and giving them a good old wipe down, I had a blank canvas to get to work on.
WORK WITH WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE: I could have spent hours on Pinterest eyeing up different shelving ideas, but would have ended up buying even more things to put on it and over thinking it. I started looking at various items of home ware we already had that wasn’t working perfectly and looked at incorporating them. The copper basket used to house my lush items, but wasn’t quite right in the bathroom (due to being metal n’all) and my ikea aloe vera plant was meant for our shoe shelves but ended up being slightly too big. The copper mug/candle (from Homebase, I think?) and Tiger tea light lantern were gifts from my birthday too.
WORK OUT A COLOUR PALETTE: After filling the bottom shelf with the copper items I already owned, I knew that copper was going to be a huge theme on the shelves. All copper felt a little over the top, and I found filling the basket with black items (mainly candle jars and camera equipment) worked as a rather chic contrast. Once I introduced the aloe vera plant in its tin pot, I knew I then had green and silver to work with as well as black and copper. This came in handy when adding the handing basket (top, centre) as the final touch. Sticking with a theme gives the whole look consistency, but allows for enough variety to keep you interested.
TEST OUT DIFFERENT SHAPES: Something I’ve struggled with in the past is breaking away from symmetry, which is slightly ironic as I’m generally easily bored when it comes to symmetrical arrangements. I could see that making the top row too similar to the bottom row ran the risk of becoming very boring, so I opted for a smaller chrome potted plant and played around with the shape even more by making it a hanging plant. By having the leaves drape down, it added something different to the bottom shelf and kept the top shelf interesting as it was much smaller than the aloe vera plant.
TAKE YOUR TIME: The whole process of putting together my perfect arrangement took about a month for me, but it really was worth the extra time. I spent a lot of time standing opposite the shelves, thinking about what it really needed and where. Did it need more height in the top centre? (yes) Did I want more than three on the bottom shelf? (no) It also allows time for the extra items to come into your life. The copper hanging basket was a little treasure I found at a local market, and was the one that finished the whole thing off.
GET ADVICE: Back when I still had a few spaces on the top shelf, I popped a little tweet out to see what everyone thought it needed. Most people said plants (so right), but it was interesting to get different ideas and see if there was anything new out there I hadn’t thought of.
DIY: Sometimes the perfect arrangement calls for a bit of DIY. Luckily I only had one little DIY moment (my boyfriend is very grateful for this), consisting of sticking a pin in the ceiling to hang the copper hanging basket. It didn’t look right laid on it’s angle and came with clear string already, so a clear topped board pin was the best way forward. Other DIY’s include painting or spray painting other old items that would otherwise be unloved – this way they can match or clash any of your current items. You could also use some sticky back plastic coverings to change the surface of your self if you were feeling really brave. I have a marble roll and I was so tempted!