How to Decorate Bathroom Shelves

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With space at a premium in small bathrooms, floating shelves up the wall adds room for decorative storage. Pay attention to color schemes and pick a theme for your bathroom shelves to give them a professionally styled look. Repeated patterns and designs, colors, shapes and textures make aesthetically pleasing, unified displays.

Pick a Theme

Decorative items that relate to each other in some way help unify bathroom shelf displays.

  • Go with an ocean or beach them to create a refreshing feel. 
  • Generate an
    atmosphere of calm relaxation with a Zen spa theme. 
  • Family themes are also
    common, with framed pictures, collages, keepsakes and mementos displayed among storage containers and decorative decor. 
  • Parisian, shabby chic or country themes appeal to ladies...
  • ...while a man’s
    bathroom might have a rustic, contemporary or industrial feel.

Simple Color Schemes

Pull a color from the walls or bath linens to create a simple scheme of two to three colors for bathroom shelves such as:

  • Blue, white and silver
  • Green, blue and white
  • Pale pink, mint green and gray
  • Turquoise, coral and white
  • Beige, brown and cream
  • Navy, tan and black

Use an artist's color wheel for help with coordinating colors. Feel free to mix and match with neutrals such as beige, gray, tans and sandy colors.

Gather Display Items

In addition to color, include a mix of textures such as glass, metal, stone, fabric, ceramic, wood and other organic materials. Choose items in styles or finishes that work with your theme:

  • Wicker or sea-grass baskets, lidded or lined baskets
  • Candles, candleholders and candle lanterns
  • Faux greenery, flowers, lucky bamboo or live plants
  • Glass jars, bowls, vases and shallow dishes
  • Ceramic or porcelain vases, pitchers and urns
  • Framed pictures or art
  • Small standing or framed mirrors
  • Tea or vanity trays
  • Decorative dispensers for soap, lotions or creams
  • Wood or metal trinket boxes and figurines
  • Seashells, rope, twine balls, polished or smooth stones and
    driftwood

Tips for Grouping the Items

Remove everything from existing shelves for a clean start. Spread your collection of decor on a nearby counter for rearrangements and experimentation.

Form Triangular Patterns

Create triangular patterns between multiple shelves for visual interest. For example, place a sea-grass or woven basket on the right side of the middle shelf and another one of slightly different color on the left side of the bottom shelf, adding a similar-textured or woven item to the top left shelf to form a sideways triangle. Repeat this pattern with other items of smooth or glass-like texture between multiple shelves. Rearrange as needed to distribute color, texture and form throughout the shelves. Keep editing your shelves until you acquire the balanced look you desire.

Balancing with Scale

  • Group small and medium sized objects together, increasing their visual weight.
  • Use large storage containers to help fill negative space.
  • Avoid adding too many small items to shelves to curtail unsightly clutter.

Create Layers and Varied Height

  • Lean large framed pictures against the wall with smaller
    trinket boxes, candles or seashells placed in front of them. 
  • Position folded or rolled towels
    on an end or near the front where they can be
    easily accessed. 
  • Stagger items along the shelf to create depth. 
  • Turn a box into
    a pedestal for a small candle or figurine. 
  • Apply these same techniques when decorating a single shelf for enhanced visual interest.

Container Uses

  • Toilet paper stored in woven baskets appears politely
    discreet, yet still easy enough to find. 
  • Include a large basket to hold rolled towels if you don't have towel racks.
  • Set feminine products privately tucked away in lidded baskets or containers. 
  • Canning jars or other vintage jars make attractive containers for cotton balls, cotton swabs and bath
    beads. 
  • A tea tray has built-in handles, making it a convenient container for
    perfumes, lotions, soaps or body sprays that can easily be lifted off the shelf
    and set back after use.
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