Organizing shelves
tw017155
March 28, 2014 in Design Dilemma
Trying to get opinions on my knick knacks to see if it's too cluttered and if I should remove some things. Some of these things I've purchased recently. Others are from my travels and souvenirs from loved ones. Any advice on how to organize them or what things I should look for to make it more appealing?
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raineycarole
It's too cluttered. Choose only a few pieces and unify the grouping by color or theme.
4 Likes   March 28, 2014 at 5:18PM
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sally78
Hard to rearrange with words, but here are some suggestions.

Start by taking everything off the shelves.

Then, place the blue T to the top shelf, left side as upright as possible. Place the blue bowl to the bottom shelf right side ---if you can, get a stand so the bowl can be placed in an upright position (I think that would have more impact). Get a proper stand, made for bowls. Don't risk breaking it using something inadequate.

Put the dark framed photo currently on the top shelf on the middle shelf.

Put the reddish see-through ball thing currently on the bottom shelf on the middle shelf. Maybe it should sit on two small, but "thick" books, stacked on their sides. Maybe, not...

Get a couple more books and join with your existing books and put in the bottom shelf, left side, also stacked on theirs sides, neatly. Try the little do-dad (salmon colored) on top of these books. Try remaining objects on other shelves to see how they look. If they don't "add" something positive to your eye, remove them.

I like the yellow-coiored object, but want something else yellow if you are to use. Maybe, you have a yellow-sided book or some other yellow object? It's a strong color and so I feel it needs to be repeated on one of your shelves, but with something small, not something large.

I would need to see a photo to know if my suggestions "work." Trust your own eye. Think visual balance. Objects have visual weight --weight from size, shape, and color. Arrange so your eye feels a balance.

I think it is better to remove an object than have lack of balance.

Is this of any help to you? ...I think shelves are that most challenging things to decorate. I keep futzing until I am completely satisfied. Takes me some trial and error. Takes making an arrangement and looking at it, casually, for a few days, before I decide which elements "work" and which don't.

I agree about using things you already have and things that mean something to you. But, if an object doesn't work, admit it (despite sentimental value) and try something else that will look better… : )
11 Likes   March 28, 2014 at 5:22PM
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tw017155
Rainey & Sally thanks for the feedback. I'm definitely going to play around with your suggestions Sally and I'll repost a pic once I'm finished!!
0 Likes   March 28, 2014 at 5:28PM
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cdleatha
I think sally78 has some great suggestions - it's all about balancing - height, color, texture, shape. You have blue in the middle, red on the bottom, and neither on the top. I might remove the magazines, and move them to the coffee table. Sometimes it takes me an hour or more to get shelves right. I disagree just a tad that you should take a lot off - maybe some, but many minimalist staged pictures on Houzz look pretty for a picture, but in real life - so boring and impersonal. Knick knacks are fun!
1 Like   March 29, 2014 at 6:32AM
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cdleatha
Oh! One more thing I've learned - it is good to "ground" the space by having one larger, centered object. For example, if the top shelf has most of the height on the left, and the bottom shelf has most of its height on the right, then the center shelf should have one larger, prominent object right in the center, fairly balanced on either side, to ground the space. This trick really works well for me.
2 Likes   March 29, 2014 at 6:35AM
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tw017155
Thanks cdleatha for your advice too!! I played around with it a little this morning. It definitely looks less cluttered but I think I'm in need of more staple pieces, like more books as Sally suggested and newer picture frames. I completely took down my pictures because those frames are so old and dated. The picture that was black at the top on the original picture I posted is actually a photo album and it just doesn't work. I'm going to try to continue shopping around for a few more pieces that suit my style. Any more suggestions would be great. I've uploaded the changes I made. I also wanted you guys to see the full view of the shelves which are connected to the fire place. The picture with the table is my old coffee table that I placed behind my new sectional because it's too long to fit in my space.
0 Likes   March 29, 2014 at 8:23AM
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sally78
I see improvement with your shelf arrangement! It is all in trying things and and seeing what pleases your eye. You have a good eye : )

The additional photo is very helpful. Because the shelves are so white-white, consider maybe adding some of the wall color to the back of the shelves. It might tie the shelves into the room in a way that has more subtlety. Then, the objects on the shelves, not the shelf unit itself, will clearly be the stronger statement. (unless you have a lot of white elsewhere in the room that I just can't see???)

If you can't paint the shelves, paint something (poster board?) and put it in the back of the shelves with double-sided tape. Or, find a roll of wallpaper with the wall color on it and a very subdued pattern.…

Just a suggestion.

I still like that way that yellow thing looks on the shelf and in your room. It is a great color. I like the blue objects relocated to top and bottom.
3 Likes   March 29, 2014 at 9:02AM
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Libbmom
I would try blue bowl and magazine stack, add singe mag on 2nd shelf to stack, to second shelf same location, place the Eiffel Tower in front of the T, mercury bottle to second self on left, move glass vase with glass pebbles and zebra to lower shelf. If you have a vacation pic that is representative of some of the items that might be nice addition.
1 Like   March 29, 2014 at 9:59AM
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togetherbydesign
I would start by painting the back wall only...not the sides...an accent color that works with the area around the bookcase.
Put something with texture...large rectangular high sided basket...thee woven orbs.are what come to mind. If you go the orb way place one one one side and the other two next to each other. Leave space between the orb arrangement or things look like a parade...not good from a design standpoint. Odd numbers and space are most interesting. The eyes take in any space...and a bookshelf is a space...by moving through and around.
Your fireplace has the parade look going on I noticed.
This is something lots of people... Try and mimic what I said about the bookshelves.
I'd like to see the basket under the bookshelf out closer to the fireplace...I think.
Post pictures please...you are on a great sight for ideas.
2 Likes   March 29, 2014 at 3:14PM
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togetherbydesign
My second paragraph does not make sense because I am talking about the lark basket or orbs...ON TOP...of the bookcase.
Sorry
1 Like   March 29, 2014 at 3:17PM
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csevene
usually it is suggested 1/3 books, 1/3 objects, 1/3 space for shelves .. have fun, try different arrangements.
2 Likes   March 29, 2014 at 4:05PM
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MarleneM
You have some wonderful collected items, and I love the vivid colours. I would not angle items on the bookshelves, and some items seem too far back. A patterned box or basket might be nice to store magazines. Here is a picture that shows a good balance of books, pictures and ornaments.

3 Likes   March 29, 2014 at 7:35PM
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soberg
You can put about 2/3 of your objects in storage, and then just rotate the display for the seasons or whenever you're in the mood. Group like with like - color, shape, size. Rule of 3.
2 Likes   March 29, 2014 at 9:40PM
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tw017155
Just an update. I actually had something typed up last night but accidentally erased and did not feel like retyping. :)

Thanks for more feedback!! I picked up a few new things yesterday. One didn't work so I'm planning to take it back today. I did take some of your advice and I think for now I'm pretty satisfied. I added books and other objects from around my house plus the two new things I bought, such as the silver shiny bucket in the middle and the frame holder at the top. I tried the holder with the bowl Sally but I decided it didn't work and something with the bowl was just making things look too flat so I decided to take it back. Even though I've added more stuff, it looks more neat and color organized. Over the next few weeks my goal is to add better books and a few pictures of loved ones with better frames. Also as I travel and shop more, I'll definitely switch things out and around a bit. That's the fun part about shelves is tailoring it to your mood. I'll keep your comments as I decide to change things.

Sally thanks for your kind words. I actually would like to do something with the inside of the shelving, maybe a funky wallpaper, but since I'm a renter I have to be careful. Painting a poster board is definitely an interesting idea that I might play with one day.

Libbmom, I took your advice and moved the Eiffel Tower and love the result!!

Togetherbydesign, I'm not the best when it comes to decorating terms so I wasn't sure what you meant by "orbs".

Marlene thanks for your compliments. Funny that I have that same picture saved because I loved their shelf arrangement.

Again, thanks everyone for your feedback. I've uploaded new pictures to show you what I've done. Let me know what you think. I'm going to continue to look for stuff that works, but I think for now I'm going to take a break before I get shelf overload lol :)

P. S. Excuse the toys in the basket, for now it's serving as a doggy toy bin. :) and the long gray thing is a DVD holder. I'm not going to use it for that purpose but something about it I like. Almost looks like a little ladder.
0 Likes   March 30, 2014 at 6:15AM
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bevballew
Take everything off. Then start one row with just picture frames. Things are supposed to be in threes. With the books put some on its side standing and several down next to it and put something on the book. The t and blue bowl can be together.
0 Likes   March 30, 2014 at 8:57PM
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franfranzone
I would paint the inside of the cabinet a color to make your items stand out. Look at bookcases you like and arrange like them.
1 Like   April 1, 2014 at 9:49AM
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dmoran0
Ok, here goes. On the bottom shelf, put the blue T upright against the back a little left of center. Put the blue bowl on top of the larger horizontal books on the right side. Place the red ball on the left side. Middle shelf: Place the tall vase in the middle. Put the smaller metal vase to its left and make a tight grouping of the zebra, cat(?) and small colorful object from the bottom shelf on the right. Top shelf: Put the large picture in the middle. Turn the small books that have black in their covers sideways on the right side. Place the small double yellow picture frame on top. Put the yellow ceramic container on the left. Fit in the small picture from the bottom shelf somewhere staggered in front. I am not a professional, so if someone comes up with something better, go with it, but I do like grouping similar things or colors and putting weightier or larger objects lower. I think that allows one to have many objects displayed without looking overly cluttered.
0 Likes   April 1, 2014 at 10:58PM
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saratogaswizzlestick
Your arrangements seem random to me. No cohesive theme per shelf and a lot of small items. My favorite item is your dog basket as it has size and texture.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 4:33AM
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rnonwheels
Try a removable wallpaper/craft paper for the back wall, especially if you aren't into painting or the unit is a laminate material. Nothing to busy just a color or texture that pops.
Select the iyems that make your heart smile when you think about them and where they came from or what they mean to you...set the other items in another space. Get a stand up box in a great color or texture that is made for magazines, it will add height, be neat, and be practicle.
Cover your books in a teal craft paper or brown shopping bags like you did in middle school, stencil or print on them if you like on the binder ends and use them horizontally.
Have fun!
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 5:04AM
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riadaniels
your 'rearrangemen', IMO, seems to be filled too much on the left. Maybe switch the bottom shelf items to the other side. I'd add something to the top of the unit, maybe some ivy? Does need some color to tie the wall together.
1 Like   April 2, 2014 at 5:24AM
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bevballew
Agree. Just stuff put randomly. If you put more on the top shelf on the left you should put more on the right on the second shelf. With the items you have you may not be able to find cohesiveness.
1 Like   April 2, 2014 at 8:28AM
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