Styling Series: Arranging 101

IMG_4565 Week 2! Setting the stage for arranging. No matter what I’m styling, there are a few steps that I never skip! Follow along for best results.


  1. Clear the area of existing items, dust the table (or shelves, etc.) and all the objects.
  2. Gather objects from other rooms that you could repurpose here. Lay all objects out on a table or the floor.
  3. Evaluate the space you’ll be filling – you want your arranged objects to contrast the background – choosing light-colored objects for a dark bookshelf, or colorful objects for a white table. Maybe you'll want to change the current backdrop. Weed objects accordingly.
  4. Start arranging objects that you definitely want in place – I like to start with larger objects and then fill in around them.
  5. Step back occasionally. You’re looking to make sure the arrangement is balanced in both color and “visual weight” – one side shouldn’t have all the bulky items while all the delicate items are on the other side, they should be mixed evenly. Likewise, all the blue items shouldn’t be in one spot either, spreading them out feels more cohesive. See example below.
  6. Fill in smaller items. Swap things around and try something else – it’s ok to not get it exactly right the first time!
  7. Finished? Time to tackle the next area!


This is the process I follow if I'm styling shelves, tables, or even dressers. Next week we'll start diving into some more specific concepts for what kind of surface you're styling, but you'll always want to apply those concepts to this process. And remember, nothing you're doing is permanent, so it's ok to make some mistakes! Your eyes will learn to recognize when something looks out of place or unbalanced. Like anything else, it takes practice!