How to Decorate Your Shelves, According to Your Personality

It is a truth universally acknowledged by Pinterest that the placement of a THING (book, statuette, candle, art piece) upon a shelf is the definitive marking of a well-curated adult home.

I am not personally in possession of any such THINGS because, alas, I lack the shelves upon which to bestow them, but you best believe that as soon as I do come into some shelving, I will litter it with whimsical objects posthaste. Until then:

1. I have opportunity aplenty to conduct cool THING research.

2. I plan to decorate shelves vicariously, which is why I invite you to treat the following cool THING suggestions like a virtual pepper grinder and sprinkle your ready and waiting shelves with the spice of unnecessary necessities:

THINGS for people who wish normcore never died

If you’ve been hanging onto your vintage Levi’s, plain white sneakers and unassuming tank top since 2014 then this is the room accessories round-up for you. It’s minimalism with a capital “M” and a side of succulents — best paired with white walls, exposed brick, soft lighting and your best Patagonia fleece.

THINGS for people like me who don’t believe there’s such a thing as too much color

If the dream shelf in your head looks like it has vomited up a rainbow, you’ve come to the right place. I like to think of these things less as objects and more as exclamation points, akin to the perfect statement earring or going-out shoe. Their preferred backdrop is cheerful wallpaper, but if your lease agreement is strict, a tacked-up tapestry will do.

THINGS for people who miss their teenage bedrooms

Don’t we all? While the aesthetic of my teenage bedroom was somewhat controlled by the woman who birthed me, I did manage to sneak in a few totems of kitschy girlhood — the most memorable of which was an entire shelf of Beanie Babies. I also remember begging for a lava lamp which I never received but guess what! An adult paycheck and an Amazon Prime account is my final revenge.

THINGS for people who wish they lived inside Town & Country

Pinkies aloft! Whoops. That battle cry just came straight out of my fingers and there was nothing I could do about it. For some reason, I associate raised pinkies of the teacup-drinking variety with Town & Country, and I guess there’s something rather lovely about that sentiment. Regardless of whether your pinkies tremble at the sight of Earl Grey, feel free to indulge in a few decorative items that say they do.

THINGS for people who wish they lived inside a quirky Lower East Side home goods store

Sometimes I honestly do wish I lived inside Coming Soon, the Orchard Street designer home accessories store that is curated to perfection and practically bursting at the seams with zeitgeisty snacks (non-edible). You can, of course, channel its aesthetic with objects straight from the source, or hunt the LES vibe elsewhere. I recommend a little of both seeing as true cool loses its luster when it all comes from the same place. I read that inside a golden fortune cookie.

What’s on your shelf?

Feature photo by Genevieve Garruppo

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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