Tried and True Tips for Decorating Shelves for Winter

Beat the after Christmas decorating blues with these tried and true tips for decorating shelves for Winter.

Shelf decorating is one of the best ways to add seasonal changes and freshness to your home decor.

The DIY Fixer Upper style shelves we made for our dining room are a perfect example.

After the Christmas tree is taken down and twinkle lights put away, I like to put together a fresh, cozy new arrangement for the rest of the Winter season. Here’s my tried and true formula for shelf decorating for a farmhouse look.

Tips & Tricks for Decorating Wall Shelves for Winter

Decorating wall shelves work best when you start with a blank slate.

Empty wall shelves provide a clean slate to start with when decorating shelves.
To begin decorating shelves, start with a clean slate.

Empty off all previous decor and take the opportunity to clean off the shelves and surfaces well.

Gather together a collection of farmhouse style items you might want to include.

Gather together farmhouse decor items that you may want to use for the shelves.
Shop your house and gather farmhouse decor you might want to use.

Rather than rush out to a store right away to buy new things, I like to first shop my house to find things I already have that might work together well.

Here are some of my favourite farmhouse style decor items:

  • greenery (faux and real)
  • old, hardcover books
  • white vases and pitchers of varying heights
  • black objects with a vintage feel – like old camera cases or round orbs
  • baskets – wire, wicker, or tobacco
  • galvanized objects like buckets or tins
  • wooden boxes – like old cigar boxes
  • art work to lean or hang
Look for items tagged as "Christmas decor" that could be used for Winter decor as well - like a snow frosted faux wreath and a Gingerbread Baking Co. sign.
When decorating shelves for Winter, look for “Christmas” decor items that could be used all Winter long.

For Winter specific farmhouse decor, don’t forget to look for discount items after Christmas that might work for Winter decor as well. Both the Gingerbread sign and wreath used were technically “Christmas decor” in the stores, so I snagged them for a great sale!

Start with the largest anchor pieces when decorating shelves

Finished Fixer Upper style farmhouse shelves styled with Winter decor.
Start the shelf decorating process with the largest decor pieces.

For this particular shelf and its placement, I wanted to keep the “Gather Together” sign as the anchor piece in the top center. It gives additional height and fits well into the space. 

Fill in spaces on the shelf with varying heights and textures – keeping your overall color scheme in mind.

This is where experimentation comes in play. There isn’t a strict rule for how to do this. Think of it as more of a creative exercise rather than a scientific experiment!

Try things. Stand back and look at them. Add more. Take some away. Fix and fiddle until the look makes your heart sing! You’ll know it when you get there.

Here are a few general guidelines that help with decorating shelves:

  • Use one feature color and repeat it. (In this case, I used whites and neutrals, with green being the stand out color.)
  • Odd numbers of items are more pleasing to the eye than even. Group items together in 3s, for example, instead of 2s.
  • Use the “zigzag” method of alternating heights and textures between shelves. (I explained how I used that when decorating living room bookshelves here.)
  • A touch of greenery and black adds life to any space.
  • Limit typography to only a few things. 
Two farmhouse enamel mugs sitting on a pile of books with greenery behind.
Limit typography to only a few things. These mugs have some great writing on them, but I turned them backward to hide it this time!

Re purpose decor items you already have to create a fresh new look.

Ideas for decorating wall shelves for winter can include fresh flowers in a white vase.
Don’t forget to look in your kitchen for pretty vases, pitchers and bowls. They are great ideas for decorating shelves!

Fresh flowers in a vase, a gravy boat from the kitchen, and biscuit cutters all were put to use for decorating shelves.

Just moving around items and placing them in different groupings can make them seem fresh and new again.

More Shelf Decorating Ideas:

Here are a few more articles you might find helpful when decorating your wall shelves.

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DIY Fixer Upper wall shelves decorated with farmhouse decor for Winter above a Dining Room buffet.
Save this image of Farmhouse Shelves to Pinterest for ideas for your next #shelfie!


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  1. Super helpful post, Rita. Thanks so much. I had something else that I wanted to say, but now it’s gone. LOL
    Does that ever happen to you?

    1. Yes, I agree. I’ve been studying how other people style shelves for years and I’m still learning new tricks! It’s one of my favourite things to decorate.

  2. I love your Winter shelf decor, Rita! You definitely nailed the cozy vibe! Congrats, you’ve been featured at this week’s Celebrate Your Story! Link Party 🙂

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