A Modern and Organic Entry: Shelf Styling Tips + Shop The Look
The entry of my friend’s house that we started revealing this week (the living and dining room at least) is one of those areas that felt like no-mans land but it’s not – it’s the very first thing you see when you come into this house, and also something that you can see from quite a few rooms so obviously it’s VERY important.
I threw in these photos again from the living room post earlier this week, so you can see where the entry is in the house. The front door is right behind the new fig tree and planter we added in this photo, below – so that vignette is the first thing you see. Then you look right to the sunken living room and left to the dining room.
That’s all to say… it’s important. My friend Corbett was pretty stumped by this area. The wood used to be a really dated orange/contemporary finish with brushed nickel hardware. So she replaced it all with this beautiful darker walnut (I think) which transformed it to be gorgeous.
It’s all useful cabinetry (even the ones going up the stairs – those hold strollers/car seats and coats. They pull out and have huge amounts of storage for her and her family.
To style this we used pretty much all of our basic lessons.
1. Start with a consistent color palette: We wanted the entry to work with the neutral living room and this wasn’t the house to necessarily drop in a ton of bright graphic colors. So we kept it to black, whites, grays, and some terracotta tones (pulled from her Turkish rug and vintage pottery).
2. Mix up the shapes, sizes, and scales within that color palette for a more eclectic look: This house is very serious (what with the wood and concrete) so we wanted to make it feel more inviting by giving it that more eclectic look.
3. Pepper all those things around evenly: The black vase on the left echoes the black vase on the top right. The terracotta pot calls out to the rug color and the other pots as well as the warm tones of the wood. The frames are all different shapes and orientations and yet layered together they feel like a cool team as they are all blacks, whites and woods.
4. Create Groupings: This can just even be two things, like the two vases below on the top shelf. The easiest way to actually style out a bookshelf or space like this is to separate things into groupings – a chunk of books here, a small collection of vases there and then keep playing around with it and repeating the same styled groupings with slightly different (but similar) objects.
5. Keep some negative or quiet space: The white vase on the top shelf gives your eye a visual rest, as does the more quiet art. It’s all eclectic but not cluttered and it feels tonal and not loud.
6. Add natural greenery or flowers to keep it feeling fresh and to have the organic shape of the plant break up the lines and bring in that natural sculpture shape.
We mixed in some newer pieces of art (from and ) with some that they already had (like the drawing above). Then we borrowed some beautiful handmade pottery from , which is local to LA and had the perfect simple pieces for this space. But the rest of the pieces were sourced from Target, Rejuvenation, CB2 and West Elm – we also borrowed a few tonal books from my house for the shoot but have since replaced them for her with some new ones (that of course we kept tonal).
In case that above entry looked easy to style, it wasn’t. Corbett was stumped, Brady even texted me stumped after he started styling it, but once we applied the simple rules and process above it started working. Just keep tweaking until it feels right in your own space.
But let’s face it – a lot of it is about having really great stuff and knowing where exactly to find it. Which is why we want you to be able to get that look without all the styling mishaps that even we succumb to. So without further ado – get that look, if you are into it. Let us know if you have any questions below, and happy Friday.
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***Photography by Sara Tramp for EHD