How to

How to Style a String Shelf — or any open shelving

I love my new String shelf that I’ve added to my home office. There is a reason it’s considered a “design icon.” It was first created in 1949 in Sweden by the husband and wife duo Nisse and Kajsa Strinning. Soon after, the shelves were ordered for the newly built United Nations building in New York City which opened in 1950. I love a fun bit of design history!

Are you thinking about adding a String to your life? You will not be disappointed with these pretty and practical shelves, but like any open shelf, what you put on it must be considered and styled or it will just look like a mess.

I LOVE to style shelves and I’ve had lots of fun styling the String for every room in your home. Have a look and see that if you follow a few simple steps you can create a gorgeous vignette on your String shelf (or any open shelf!).

A few quick tips for shelf styling:

  • Choose a color palette first and stick with it.
  • Within your palette, mix up the materials (glass, porcelain, metal, stone)
  • Plants always look great on a shelf and greenery is considered a neutral in terms of color.
  • Evenly distribute colors and patterns. For example, if you place something black on the top right shelf, then consider adding something black on the lower left shelf.
  • Arrange similar objects next to each other, like candles, vases or jars.
  • Use the Rule of Three
  • Lean art, framed or not, on your shelf to add interest.
  • Add a bit of quirk to lighten things up (one piece that is completely different, a funny quote or silly object)


How to style a string shelf

The Kitchen

  • Color palette used here: black, white, gold and blue
  • Lean art on top shelf. Quotes are great for the kitchen.
  • Add a trailing plant or potted herbs
  • Favorite mugs and similarly shaped objects in  the middle
  • Tea pot, tea containers and glass on the bottom
  • Mixed materials: porcelain, glass, metal + greenery


How to style a string shelf

The Bathroom

  • Color palette used here: Grey, white, gold plus blues and pinks
  • Trailing plant and a quirky print on top
  • Useful items like small towels, perfume, pretty jars and tubes
  • Store everyday items like makeup brushes in a pretty vase
  • Only display attractive products, preferably the same brand or packaging next to each other. Put everything else away in a cupboard or drawer!



How to style a string shelf

The Dining Room

  • Color palette used here: all neutrals plus gold and the glass bowl and plates are a subtle blue.
  • Theme: flea market finds
  • Use rule of three (example: the black tea light holders)
  • Useful items like h’orderves plates, candles and candle holders
  • Mixed materials: Porcelain, glass, stone, metal + greenery
  • Mix antique/vintage with something modern


How to style a string shelf

The Office

  • Color palette used here: black, white, gold plus touches of blue, green and pink
  • Plants
  • Leaning prints, don’t even need a frame
  • Line up similar objects and fill with useful items like pens, pencils and scissors.
  • Vases ready for fresh flowers
  • Pretty notebooks
  • Add candles or favorite essential oils if you have a diffuser in your office.


String Shelf with Plants How to style a String shelf

Anywhere (Living Room, Hallway, bedroom, etc.)

  • Color palette used here: Black, white, grey + fresh greenery
  • String shelves were made to display plants!
  • Similar shapes in different sizes on middle shelf
  • Trailing plants add depth and interest
  • Mixed materials: porcelain, stone, cement, glass
  • Colors and patterns distributed evenly
  • A little quirk: the model hand grasping at the hanging leaves


Hope this inspires you to style some shelves! Which room is your favorite? Did I forget a room? Please share in the comments!



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How to style a string shelf or any open shelf!








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