Here are a few tips interior designer Shelley Miller of Memphis suggests for making your shelves come alive with warmth instead of clutter. Fill shelves with books. Stack them on their sides, arrange them side by side, or lean them against one another. Also, use a miniature lamp to accent a corner. The soft glow will cast inviting warmth while highlighting your display.
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Use wooden or acrylic easels to hold plates upright. Small stands are also useful for elevating bowls. Arrange similar things together. Hang or rest small pieces of artwork on shelves for color and texture. Framed photographs add personal sentiment.