Is the world starting to feel a bit too self-absorbed? Perhaps it’s time to be a bit more shelf-absorbed.

If you’re looking to add some new pizzaz to a room, but don’t feel like rearranging all of your furniture (again), try out the increasingly popular art of shelf styling. Shelf styling is an easy way to inject some fresh personality into an often neglected space in your home or office.


Decluttering your shelves

Every space has shelves and surfaces with undiscovered potential. In many homes, shelves are nothing more than a utilitarian place to store books and random knick-knacks from thoughtful friends and relatives. It’s never too late to change your ways and become one of the shelf-aware.

Clean everything off of your shelves and assess the treasures you’ve uncovered amidst the clutter. Pick out some of your favorite books (or the one’s that look best), and the mementos that hold the most meaning. To avoid a cluttered look and add some needed shelf-discipline, try grouping objects by color and/or size both horizontally and vertically within your bookshelf. As a best practice, try to align your books towards the front of the shelf and leave some space between your groupings.

Styling your shelves

Once you’re decided on a layout you’re happy with, you can start integrating your keepsakes and tchotchkes. After arranging and rearranging your knick-knacks, you might even decide that you don’t want to incorporate any books at all—not every shelf is a bookshelf.

Experiment by placing your objects amidst and on top of different groupings or objects. If you’re feeling stuck, try peppering in some succulents, a few vases, or a couple of picture frames. Go wild—if you’re really up for it, throw in a fish bowl filled with a splash of colorful glass stones or even a live goldfish.


After an undisclosed number of hours—because no one ever said shelf styling could be done during a coffee break—your shelves should be looking like a modern day masterpiece. Bravo!

Let everyone see what you’ve created. After all, why would you spend so much time styling your shelves if you weren’t planning to share them with your social network?

Simply snap a photo of your shelves, upload your photo on social media with the hashtag #shelfie, and voilà! You’ve just participated in the most recent social media trend of 2014. Feeling shelf-actualized yet?


Inspired by all of the amazing travel trinkets showing up in shelfies, we asked our community to share their personal shelfies, as well as the shelves they’ve found in homes across the world with us on Instagram. Below are a few of our favorites:


Travel shelfie by  @aguynamedpatrick

1168707_766980856669104_112656103_nTravel shelfie by  @themckibbinloft


Travel shelfie by @phoebesacks


Travel shelfie by @simone_anne


Travel shelfie by @zadilla76


Travel shelfie by @helgamm


Travel shelfie @thecottageatlakearrowhead

Have a shelf full of travel mementos? Follow Airbnb on Instagram, share your #shelfie, and we’ll repost some of the best.