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How to Style a Bathroom Shelf

Master the elusive #shelfie in your own bathroom.

The humble bathroom shelf, once home to dusty cotton tips, half-empty bottles of shampoo and rolled-up and squeezed-out toothpaste tubes, has undergone something of a makeover in recent years. Propelled by the rise of the bathroom ‘shelfie’ on Instagram, the shelf is about much more than mere storage, instead, it has become a carefully curated platform for expression.

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How to style a shelf side view window scene

So how to go about recreating the trend in your own bathroom? We’ve teamed up with Corston Architectural Detail to bring you a simple and straightforward guide to shelf styling.

Shelf Life

Your shelf is just as much of an accessory as the items you use to style it. Why limit yourself to a simple pine shelf when you could choose from steel, stone, raw wood or even concrete? Shelf units are also a popular option, with brass, rose gold and matte black options allowing you to create instant storage centerpieces. Likewise, you can create a singular look by pairing your shelf platform with a decorative bracket. We sourced a luxurious marble shelf from a local stone supplier and an elegant Kilburn bronze patina bracket by Corston Architectural.

How to Style a Bathroom Shelf Step 1

Play with Height

When putting up a shelf, it’s a good idea to think about height and placement. For a uniform look, evenly spaced shelves may be a classic, failsafe option, but they do limit how creative you can be with your styling. We opted for greater height on the lower shelf, giving us ample space for tall objects and adding dimension to the overall look.

Colour Story

Choose a tone and a style for your shefie. Naturally, not every bathroom essential will conform to a colour scheme, but colourful or patterned storage solutions go a long way to keeping the look cohesive. Scandi bathrooms might benefit from a neutrally styled shelf- an abstract print or an artisan vase for instance, while a more opulent bathroom looks great with brass accessories and a few well-placed botanicals. Combining greens, greys, blacks and natural stone textures with hints of amber glass, we opted for a look that is one part elegant, one part industrial.

How to Style a Bathroom Shelf Step 2

Hunt & Gather

No, that beautifully styled shelf you’ve spotted on Instagram probably didn't just organically assemble. Once you have your shelf up and a loose idea of the style of your shelfie, start to gather objects that work with the colours and size of your space. What to look for? Books, boxes, small vases, interesting ornaments, smaller pieces of art, plants and of course the practicals- a pretty soap dispenser, a bathroom tumbler, your favorite perfume or candle. Look for similarity in style but variety in height, size, and texture, as well as any piece that will add a bit of personality!

How to Style a Bathroom Shelf Step 3

Magic Numbers

The rule of three is no myth and works well in multiple settings, from table decor to sofa styling, to shelves! Choose three items of different heights and shapes and combine to lead the eye from object to object with ease. We worked from shelf to shelf, working first with the larger items then layering with medium objects and filling in the gaps with smaller pieces. You can also create depth by arranging items in different fields on your shelf. Finally, take time to stand back and assess, removing objects if you need to (always best to opt for less rather than more!).

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  • Hardware

    We chose the Kilburn bracket by Corston Architectural Detail to complement the lustrous marble shelf. Absolute bracket goals.


  • Glassware

    We chose the Rill Vase by Nordal to add colour, texture, and shape. With a subtle nod to Art Deco glass, this is a gem of a vase.


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Get the Look

Why not share your bathroom ideas and inspirational interiors via @myroperrhodes on our Instagram page? Or better yet, have a go at creating your own bathroom shelfie and tag us and @corstonarchitecturaldetail in the (surely stunning!) results.