Shelf Life

Even before we’d viewed our current flat for the first time, I was completely taken by the shelves in the bedroom. Not only was it built into a cove above a built in dresser, but it was freshly painted the whitest white and was in the perfect spot where the window light it beautifully. On moving in I unpacked and made a rather practical use out of them, but if I’m honest I didn’t need to have so much out on show and I quickly felt dissatisfied with the whole arrangement.

After a few trips to Tiger and H&M, I quickly found myself accumulating copper ornaments. They slowly made it on to the shelf and I started to look at the best way to arrange things. Strangely, it was quite the process to get to a point where I felt completely happy with the arrangement, so I thought I’d share a few pointers in case you’ve ever stared longingly at Pinterest or Kate’s blog (my personal favourite for interiors) but felt like you didn’t even know where to start…

START FRESH: I started with a completely clear set of shelves. After taking away all of the previous inhabitants and giving them a good old wipe down, I had a blank canvas to get to work on.

WORK WITH WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE: I could have spent hours on Pinterest eyeing up different shelving ideas, but would have ended up buying even more things to put on it and over thinking it. I started looking at various items of home ware we already had that wasn’t working perfectly and looked at incorporating them. The copper basket used to house my lush items, but wasn’t quite right in the bathroom (due to being metal n’all) and my ikea aloe vera plant was meant for our shoe shelves but ended up being slightly too big. The copper mug/candle (from Homebase, I think?) and Tiger tea light lantern were gifts from my birthday too.

WORK OUT A COLOUR PALETTE: After filling the bottom shelf with the copper items I already owned, I knew that copper was going to be a huge theme on the shelves. All copper felt a little over the top, and I found filling the basket with black items (mainly candle jars and camera equipment) worked as a rather chic contrast. Once I introduced the aloe vera plant in its tin pot, I knew I then had green and silver to work with as well as black and copper. This came in handy when adding the handing basket (top, centre) as the final touch. Sticking with a theme gives the whole look consistency, but allows for enough variety to keep you interested.

TEST OUT DIFFERENT SHAPES: Something I’ve struggled with in the past is breaking away from symmetry, which is slightly ironic as I’m generally easily bored when it comes to symmetrical arrangements. I could see that making the top row too similar to the bottom row ran the risk of becoming very boring, so I opted for a smaller chrome potted plant and played around with the shape even more by making it a hanging plant. By having the leaves drape down, it added something different to the bottom shelf and kept the top shelf interesting as it was much smaller than the aloe vera plant.

TAKE YOUR TIME: The whole process of putting together my perfect arrangement took about a month for me, but it really was worth the extra time. I spent a lot of time standing opposite the shelves, thinking about what it really needed and where. Did it need more height in the top centre? (yes) Did I want more than three on the bottom shelf? (no) It also allows time for the extra items to come into your life. The copper hanging basket was a little treasure I found at a local market, and was the one that finished the whole thing off.

GET ADVICE: Back when I still had a few spaces on the top shelf, I popped a little tweet out to see what everyone thought it needed. Most people said plants (so right), but it was interesting to get different ideas and see if there was anything new out there I hadn’t thought of.

DIY: Sometimes the perfect arrangement calls for a bit of DIY. Luckily I only had one little DIY moment (my boyfriend is very grateful for this), consisting of sticking a pin in the ceiling to hang the copper hanging basket. It didn’t look right laid on it’s angle and came with clear string already, so a clear topped board pin was the best way forward. Other DIY’s include painting or spray painting other old items that would otherwise be unloved – this way they can match or clash any of your current items. You could also use some sticky back plastic coverings to change the surface of your self if you were feeling really brave. I have a marble roll and I was so tempted!


  1. Dressed with soul
    27 Nov 2014 / 9:07 am

    I think it was the time worth as I like it how it looks now!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  2. sophiesmakeupblog
    27 Nov 2014 / 9:22 am

    It looks amazing! Such great tips, I would love to have shelves in my flat x


  3. Anika H
    27 Nov 2014 / 9:40 am

    Love the interior! Great photos.

    Anika May // UK Fashion & Style Blog

  4. rae t
    27 Nov 2014 / 10:01 am

    Great tips. I really love built-in shelving. It can be so pretty and aids in extra storage – but even moreso than using it for storage, I love what you have done here using it more as a space to aesthetically display things. Love the mix of copper with greenery.

    rae of love from berlin

  5. Kelly G
    27 Nov 2014 / 10:34 am

    They look so stylish! Love the little splashes of copper colour.
    We've recently had shelves built in the alcoves in our living room, I keep changing the bits on them. Might have to get some plants. πŸ™‚

  6. Lauren Rose Bell
    27 Nov 2014 / 11:23 am

    Love this – so simple and stylish πŸ™‚

  7. Jodie V
    27 Nov 2014 / 12:56 pm

    It looks amazing! There's so many great tips here!
    Jodie xo // La Lune Song

  8. Liza Khinsoe
    27 Nov 2014 / 1:04 pm

    Love it! It's so simple and classy, and I love that you've broken down everything you've done <3

  9. rebekah maryx
    27 Nov 2014 / 1:04 pm

    looks so stylish love that it's so easy but looks look like amazing interior

  10. daisychurchward
    27 Nov 2014 / 1:21 pm

    So beautiful! You should definitely do more interior posts. I'm trying to decorate my room but it's proving a little less minimal than I would have initially liked…

  11. Neeltje | Thoughts in Style
    27 Nov 2014 / 1:22 pm

    I love shelfs in any room and I love how you decorated it!

  12. Sara Chergui
    27 Nov 2014 / 1:40 pm

    I love the decoration ! These plants are so nice !


  13. Margery Ho
    27 Nov 2014 / 1:41 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! So simple and clean! x

  14. Marith
    27 Nov 2014 / 1:42 pm

    The shelves look amazing! I love that they look both minimalistic and cozy at the same time. Great job πŸ™‚
    – Marith /

  15. Marissa Jamie
    27 Nov 2014 / 1:58 pm

    These look so cute! I love how minimalistic the whole setup is πŸ™‚
    Marissa Jamie || Faithfully, Marissa β™‘

  16. Pili G
    27 Nov 2014 / 2:22 pm

    This looks so cute!
    Great job

  17. Cherie Tang
    27 Nov 2014 / 3:07 pm

    Looks like a pinterest bedroom with the white walls, copper accesories and potted plants etc

  18. Mandy Bajwa
    27 Nov 2014 / 4:43 pm

    love how simple but effective it looks, lovely post!

  19. Maddy
    27 Nov 2014 / 4:48 pm

    Love your tips, and your shelves look beautiful!
    Maddy, xo // UNSTITCHEDD

  20. Jemimah A
    27 Nov 2014 / 5:35 pm

    looks so pretty

  21. Saffy Needham
    27 Nov 2014 / 5:47 pm

    Lovely post, thanks for the tips πŸ™‚

  22. Lily
    27 Nov 2014 / 6:04 pm

    Love your interior and a lovely post with some really good tips x

  23. Melane de Haan
    27 Nov 2014 / 6:42 pm

    I love the way you decorated them so minimalistic – abosolutely adore it!

    Melane | Pure Perspective

  24. Tessa
    27 Nov 2014 / 10:10 pm

    Love the copper here, I'm absolutely obsessed with it at the moment. I really need to get some indoor plants too!

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn

  25. noovernightguests
    27 Nov 2014 / 11:10 pm

    Great tips. Lovely arrangement!

  26. nueyork
    28 Nov 2014 / 2:44 am

    I love how bright and airy everything looks! You've done such a great job decorating.

  27. Wonderlling
    28 Nov 2014 / 12:54 pm

    Beautiful suzie! I am taking so much inspiration from your blog for my room!

  28. Kimberley Miller
    29 Nov 2014 / 12:52 pm

    I love copper and rose gold. They are my favourite thing at the moment. My house is also booming with these colours and I think they look stunning against the whiteness of our shelves. Love what you've done too. Looks really lovely πŸ™‚

  29. Emily McCue
    29 Nov 2014 / 10:17 pm

    Gorgeous space!

  30. Jo
    01 Dec 2014 / 6:35 pm

    It looks gorgeous! As some would say – simple but effective. Definitely gave me some ideas on room organisation. Thanks, Suzie!
    xx, Jo

  31. Cassandra Myee
    02 Dec 2014 / 8:28 am

    I love your styling and great tips! Love the copper accents!

    Cass | CassandraMyee

  32. Lillie Mysel
    02 Dec 2014 / 2:14 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I love your color palette! xx

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    03 Dec 2014 / 3:15 pm

    Thank you for another essential article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a complete way of writing? I have a presentation incoming week, and I am on the lookout for such information. KFC Menu and Price List | KFC Price UK | Starbucks Menu and Price List | Arby's Price US |

  34. Sarah Jess
    05 Dec 2014 / 12:58 pm

    Loveeeeeeeee these pieces. I'm planning to install shelves in my own place soon so I'm always hunting for inspiration.

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