Anyone who’s ever approached the task of decorating a living room knows it is no easy feat.
While moodboards and pre-planning certainly help shape the vision, there’s a lot that can go awry when you set about actually putting things together. Whether it’s exploring the layout of the space, realising a colour palette, sourcing the perfect decor or simply arranging it in a way that speaks to your personal sense of style, it’s definitely not as easy as it seems. And when it comes to styling a living room centre-piece—like a focal-point shelf—you also run into the dilemma of balancing practicality with aesthetics.
Which is why we have tapped two seasoned experts—David Hardwick, Global Head of Product at King, and Francesca Wallace, Digital Director and Stylist at Vogue Living—to share their expertise on everything from choosing your furniture to putting on the finishing touch.
While it may seem simple, it’s true. The best way to create a beautiful shelf-scape is to start with a beautiful shelf.
Opting for an item that is both architectural and sculptural, while also being practical, is a vital first step in creating a luxurious and functional space.
A minimalist take—like the King Vertio Wall System—ticks all the boxes.
“Whether you use it for shelving, as an accent piece or to demarcate different spaces at home, I love its adaptability,” explains Hardwick.
A free-standing unit, which can be “either wall mounted or compression mounted between the floor and ceiling,” is also supremely versatile, working in both small and large spaces. If you’re working with a smaller space, scale it down to maximise on space. Larger spaces can scale the unit up to draw the eye.
Those after a little flexibility are in luck with the Vertio. The unit can be customised with a combination of shelves, twin-door and fold-down cabinets, which help you create a bespoke arrangement—perfect for crafting a completely individual focal-point in your home.
Working with a unit like the Vertio—which is rendered in sleek black powder-coated steel and a choice of premium timber veneers in Smoked Oak, American Walnut or Congo—means that textures can help add life and movement to the piece.
“I love a mix of natural textures like terracotta and glass on a really lovely linear design like this,” notes Wallace.
When sourcing decor for a shelf arrangement, look for a variety of textures, including brushed ceramics, clear glass, and bursts of natural fibres like raffia or sculptural macrame to add interest.
The best things come in threes (or fives). When arranging trinkets and decor on your shelf, think in irregular numbers, which help to break things up, advises Wallace: “Odd numbers of anything tend to be more visually pleasing.”
This, of course, also works for singular items. A collection of completely individual pieces will translate more naturally than pairs or sets.
Once you’ve settled on an arrangement you like, don’t be afraid to change it later on. Whether adding to it, subtracting from it, or re-arranging it completely, constant evolution is an easy and simple way to keep things feeling fresh and unique.
“Styling shouldn’t be a set and forget exercise, especially with such a flexible piece of furniture like this,” says Wallace. “Let it change and grow and evolve, decorated with things you love.”