How to Style Open Shelving for Fall

Whether it’s the floating shelves in your kitchen, a built-in bookcase in your living room, or the spot above your mantle, open shelving can be tricky to style just right, especially when it comes to seasonal décor. However, with the right pieces and techniques you can have a carefully curated display that portrays an effortless ode to the season.

Practice a Curated Approach

Collect pieces that have meaning to you rather than generic baubles. Instead of purchasing a plethora of autumnal décor, think about what you already have in your cache of display pieces. Showcase your deep-toned, moody, or textured pieces to pay homage to an autumnal aesthetic.

When your shelves are filled with textures, colors, scents, and pieces you love, your open display takes on a much more collective feel and looks put together and natural, rather than an overcrowded array of random décor. For a super cohesive look, try a compatible color scheme that speaks to you and collect pieces that coincide with that arrangement of hues. Display deep grey, navy, taupe, and cream pieces for a cool color palette; or stick to the classic colors of fall, and debut warm shades like amber, brown, mustard yellow, and burnt orange.


Autumn evokes a feeling of coziness and abundance, and your shelving display can match that vibe when you debut the right textures. Exhibit unique pieces with different textures to evoke a homey, lived-in feel that will help your shelves embrace the fall months.

Mix and match textures like glass, woven materials, terracotta, stone, ceramic, and even paper to elevate your shelving display and diversify the elements on display.

Choose a Statement Piece

While most of your shelves will have several items displayed alongside one another, choosing one shelf to display a single, large item will help establish a focal point and mix up the layout of your shelving exhibit. Most often, decorators will choose the bottom shelf to showcase the statement piece as it’s usually the largest and most open space. Make sure the item is centered on the shelf so it’s the main focus of the display.

Choose a piece that lends a nod to fall, like a vase with autumnal greenery, a large piece of driftwood laid down horizontally, or a giant pumpkin spice or cedarwood-scented candle atop several hardback books.

Maintain Balance

Help harmonize a peaceful feng shui between the items on your shelf by knowing what belongs there and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to edit your shelves if they look too busy. Rearrange things multiple times until you hit that perfectly proportioned balance of shape, height, and color between your objects.

In this case, opposites attract. Create depth with varying textures, like placing your wooden pumpkin next to your rattan one. Make sure objects near each other are of varying heights to create a focal point on each shelf, like placing your vintage candle holder next to your bowl full of gourds. Display unique shapes that complement one another and pair your rectangular books or frames with a round object like an amber glass bottle filled with dried stalks.

Adapt a Green Thumb

If you’re lacking in the décor department, one of the quickest ways to add volume to your shelving display is by going au natural and grabbing your favorite falltime greens. Opt for real greens and display fresh eucalyptus or hydrangeas. Or, take the low-maintenance approach and showcase dried or faux plants, like magnolia, gingko, or maple leaf stems.

Round out the rectangular and linear shapes of your display with a wreath above your mantle, or even a small wreath tucked in the back of the shelf to add depth.

Elevate the Display

One of the easiest ways to curate a dynamic shelving display is with décor of varying sizes and heights. Tall candles, stalks of dried pampas or wheat, framed pictures, and sculptural pieces can all bring in subtle hints of the season, while helping draw the eye upward and keeping your display from seeming flat.

Don’t have any super tall pieces? No worries! You can elevate the design by stacking three or four books horizontally. Place a piece of décor on top of them, whether that be a pumpkin, seasonal candle, or textured vase. As long as it’s taller than the piece next to it, your curation will look balanced and carefully put-together.

Showcase Moody Artwork

Framed artwork and prints are a great way to both celebrate the season and add some height to your open shelving display. Whether you nab some moody-toned artwork from the thrift store or use a piece you already have, the frames will help create balance between your shorter pieces, like candles, books, or small vases.

And great news, if you live in an apartment with a strict no-holes policy and you’ve been dying to put some funky prints on display, your bookshelf makes the perfect perch for the trendy asymmetrical frames look. Simply lean the larger frame against the wall and make sure it’s secure on the shelf or surface, then place a smaller frame in front, overlapping the first frame for a cool, artsy display.


Make It Gourd-geous

Ring in elements of the season of harvest by debuting festive falltime fruits and vegetables. Display pears, apples, or multicolor gourds (the wartier the better!) in a wooden bowl atop your floating kitchen shelves or within your bookshelf.

Gourds make for the perfect autumn aesthetic on your shelves. Gather multicolor squash, pumpkins, swan gourds, and other bulbous vegetables to really embrace the colors and textures of autumn.


How do you decorate your shelves for the fall months? We’d love to see your curation of autumnal décor on your Walker Edison pieces! Tag us @walkeredisonco and use the hashtag #autumnatwalkeredison to show us how you style your shelves and surfaces for autumn.