5 Ways to Decorate Open Shelves (And They're All Less Than $40)

From kitchens to living rooms, open shelves are having a moment. They offer practical storage solutions, and they're also fun to dress up. Read on to discover five ways we're decorating our shelves on a budget, and pick up a few pointers for bringing the look into your home.

Set of four white picture frames photo

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Family Photos

Whether your open shelves stand alone or get incorporated into a gallery wall, family pictures are a must-have for creating a personalized, homey space. You may even want to invest in a photo printer so you can print off all the moments from birthday parties, weddings, and family vacations yourself. No matter how you style your shelves, this set of 4x6 frames provides the perfect home for your treasured memories.

Price: $15 for four

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Yellow blue, and green vase set photo

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Small Vases

Decorative vases are a great way to add a pop of color to your shelves. This set from Crate & Barrel includes five pieces in yellow, green, and blue. You can spruce them up with fresh flowers, but with their cracked glaze finish and subtle texture they look pretty standing alone, too. If grouping all five together feels too cluttered for your space, each vase is also sold individually.

Price: $30 for five

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Copper geometric terrarium photo

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Potted Greenery

These glass terrarium bowls are available in three sizes to sprinkle greenery across your shelves. The copper finish adds a subtle shine while the geometric bowl adds a modern touch. Ideal for artificial and air plants, these cool containers also make a beautiful display case for showcasing small collectibles. (For tips on building your own mini garden, check out: What You Need to Know About Making a Terrarium)

Price: from $20

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Set of three vintage-style book boxes photo

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Book Boxes

You can add real literary works to your shelves, too, but these decorative book boxes also double as storage. With their faded leather covers and calligraphy-style typography, these decorative accents bring a touch of vintage style to your shelf. The three-piece set includes small, medium, and large boxes you can arrange together or separately. If placing them in the living room, we suggest using the boxes to store chargers and remotes so you'll always know where they are. If decorating your home office with an old-world theme, these boxes are a great place to store extra supplies.

Price: $39 for three

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Galvanized metal windmill sculpture photo

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Small Trinkets

Personalize your shelves with items that express your interests and capture your home's aesthetic. For farmhouse styles, look for galvanized metal pieces, like this windmill, which look charming next to wood frames and mason jar vases. For the world traveler, accent your space with a small globe, or use anchors and shells for a coastal vibe. The options are endless, but the key is finding pieces you love.

Price: $33

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