Styling basics for beginners

We admire those people who are able to casually place a new decoration on a shelf, not even thinking about where to put it, and it instantly looks amazing… Wait, are they real, do this kind of people exist?

Well, according to Instagram accounts we’re following, they do. And we truly believe all of those amazing stylists and designers are experts in styling and we wanna be like them so bad!

It seems like styling is a big deal nowadays and we can see why. It takes a lot of trying and failing, and a really good eye to style a perfect room or a beautiful shelf. We tried and failed a hundred times before we learned what works best for us, and what we like when it comes to styling.

We’re going to give you a few tips on styling open shelves and side tables/nightstands and show you our styling trials. Trust us, styling is going to be so much easier from now on!

Open shelves styling:

  1. decide what you want/need on your shelf – if you’re styling a shelf for your workspace you’ll probably need some stationery items at hand
  2. start with larger items – it’s so much easier to put larger items first and then work around them, trust us on this!
  3. put similar (in size or shape) items diagonally – just think about it, if you put all large items on the same side of your shelves it would look like the shelf might overturn
  4. Place your (note)books on shelf horizontally and vertically – but only nice looking books, we hate to say this, but if you want to get a perfect shelf look, this is the time to start judging books by their covers
  5. put smaller decorative items in odd numbers – we like number three (also, don’t hesitate to put some decorations on horizontally stacked books)
  6. Don’t overload – negative space is just as important!
  7. Plants, plants, plants – just because!

And here’s what we did in Nina’s workspace.

workspace styling | open shelves styling | workspace decoration | decorating | ikea | plants

First, we decided where we’re going to put that big vase and black boxes, and then we placed plants diagonally – three plant pots on the end of the upper shelf and one big one on the other end of the lower shelf. After that, we worked with smaller pieces and notebooks.

We like to keep workspace necessities in boxes and keep the table as clean as possible!

workspace styling | open shelves styling | workspace decoration | decorating | ikea | plants

workspace styling | open shelves styling | workspace decoration | decorating | ikea | plants

For the shelves in the dining room, we used the same method. First, we arranged the upper left and the bottom right section. We decided to make it thematic with those wooden serving boards, that also come in handy for a hot pot of soup you’re serving for dinner.

dining space styling | open shelves styling | dining space decoration | decorating | ikea | emmezeta

And on the opposite corners, we displayed few photographs we like and drawings Tina originally did for Mila’s room (you know, a few years ago, when she wasn’t constantly at work).

Very simple. But we think it works great for this space.

dining space styling | open shelves styling | dining space decoration | decorating | ikea | emmezeta

And now for side tables and nightstands – we like to keep it simple. Less is more. Don’t put random junk on it, because it will lose its purpose. You want to have space next to your reading chair or bed to place a cup of cocoa, your phone, your jewellery…

Side tables styling:

  1. pick out a tray to hold all the small items in the same place – this will make everything seem more organized, think all the jewellery you’re taking off before you go to sleep or the hand creme you’re putting on every night.
  2. put a candle on it – we didn’t understand this candle obsessions a few years ago, but then we decided to give it a try and we fell in love with the amazing smell. Also, candlelight is basically the only thing you need to instantly create cosy atmosphere
  3. put a book you’re reading on it – it’s so much easier to have it on hand than to grab it over and over again from a bookcase. Kindle is also quite decorative
  4. Invest in a good lamp – if you want to place a desk lamp on top of the side table. We prefer a wall lamp over nightstand ’cause it leaves a free surface (floor lamp next to the side table is also cool)
  5. Plants, plants, plants!

We think styling a side table is the easiest job ever. Also, maybe we think that because we hate when side tables are full of some random stuff.

side table styling | side table decoration | decorating | butlers | design letters | plants

Since side tables are usually a lot smaller than coffee tables, try to keep them as empty as possible. We used this simple black tray in the colour of a side table to hold a candle holder and a glass of water with Pilea plant that is now already in a plant pot.

side table styling | side table decoration | decorating | butlers | design letters | plants

side table styling | side table decoration | decorating | butlers | design letters | plants

This way, there’ll be plenty of space for a cup of coffee/tea/cocoa. Or gin-tonic – who are we to tell you what to drink at home!

For a nightstand, we can apply the same rules as for side tables.

bedroom | nightstand styling | nightstand decoration | decorating | butlers | ikea | plants

We keep as much free space as possible – for the book or a kindle to lay aside when we’re ready to actually go to sleep.
Candle for relaxation, hand creme to wake up with perfect soft hands and this little chair decoration are set on side of a nightstand. We didn’t put a tray on it because this little chair does a great job of holding little things in place when needed, and she replaced a box that was just full of random stuff.

bedroom | nightstand styling | nightstand decoration | decorating | butlers | ikea | plants

And our beautiful Ficus is standing on a stack of books while we’re searching for a perfect plant stand.

This is it. Maybe our styling is not yet on a pro level but we’re working on it and we truly think we have a good list to follow.
We like to think we’re one step closer to those amazing stylist we look up to. What do you think?

photos: © upgradesign

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