How to Decorate Shelves for Winter

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Learn how to decorate your shelves for winter by using fresh flowers, natural accessories, and neutral colors. It’s easy and takes less than 20 minutes!

easy shelf decor with white pitchers

Today we are focusing on ideas that comes to mind when we begin a new year. At the end of the post, you will find links to inspiration for adding neutral colors, fresh bed linens, decluttering, and more. Everything we’re featuring can be accomplished in 20 minutes or less!

One of my favorite things to do with the arrival of each new season is style the shelves in our living room. Many times it’s simply a matter of removing or adding a few items…but this time I literally started from scratch. And it was still finished in under 20 minutes.

how to decorate shelves beginning

The picture above is what the shelves looked like after I removed the ironstone Christmas tree. The leftovers consisted of random, empty pitchers, and the Lenox Christmas china that still had not been put away. It all looked terribly sad and in need of some cohesive charm. (I store the Christmas Lenox and my wedding china in the cabinet under the shelves. You can see what the cabinet looks like HERE.)

winter shelf decor process

How to Decorate Shelves: First Tip

Start with an empty slate. Take everything off the shelves, and then slowly add back. Begin with your biggest and most important items. My first three pieces are a pitcher of flowers, a round basket, and a long dough bowl. I left an empty shelf between the dough bowl and basket so the natural tone of all the items would be balanced. I arranged the flowers in the kitchen before I began.

how to decorate shelves neutral pitchers

Because the winter months are upon us, I wanted a calm and neutral color palette. After placing the three main pieces, I added in pitchers and some leaning pictures. Interest was added by a pedestal cake plate topped with a vintage tureen. The combination of the pedestal plate and tureen added height, and also a bit of the unexpected.

Generally, when I decorate these shelves, I add color with faux or real flowers, small seasonal accessories, or greenery. I wanted to use my long dough bowl, so I decided to switch things up a bit. I kept the palette neutral, but there are two different neutral shades: my normal ivory or off-white, and a darker, natural tone.

The darker color came in with:

  • the dough bowl on the top shelf
  • The round wicker basket
  • the natural wood cake stand

how to decorate shelves in living room

I’m leaving the dough bowl empty for now, but I plan to add little seasonal accessories throughout the year. Faux cherry blossoms for spring, dried hydrangeas in summer, and little white pumpkins for fall.

living room with shelves and navy chair

I swapped out the red plaid pillows that were used at Christmas for something textured pillows in neutral tones, and placed two ivory throws on the blanket ladder. The red and navy plaid blanket that I used at Christmas remained, because it lends a cozy touch of winter.


*Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

long, narrow dough bowl | round basket | basket blanket ladder | cream throws | plaid throw (no longer available) | navy slipper chair | neutral pillow covers | round end table |

I was able to transform these basic shelves for no money, and in under 20 minutes. I didn’t buy anything new, I simply looked around the house, and used what I had. You can never go wrong when you invest in neutral accessories for your home. They can be used anywhere, they mix and match, and they are timeless.

Now take a look at what my friends are sharing…

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  1. I love this! I’ve got shelves in my kitchen that I need to purge and start over! I’ve got a rough bowl that I struggle on where to put when I’m not using it as a centerpiece.. now I know exactly where I’ll put it! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. That should read “dough bowl” not “rough bowl”. Note to self: proof read!

  2. Anne Corsano says:

    Hi Ann
    Love, love your neutral theme with pillows, etc. I took down all the colorful holiday decorations and replaced them with neutrals, following your suggestions! It looks great…Thank you!

  3. Ann,
    Absolutely lovely shelving display!
    Love the freshness of the white and the accent of the wood!
    Always inspiring!

  4. I love your arraignment of neutrals especially the dough bowl, where did you find it ?? I can see it filled with seasonal goodies !

  5. An inspiring post – even for an old-timer like me! Thank you for sharing~

  6. Cecilia from Georgia says:

    You are the master of styling bookshelves! I can see the ironstone dressed up for each season. Looking forward to your post about storing your dishes! Happy Winter!

  7. Audrey Bretz says:

    Some of the links you refer to aren’t working. Is it me? Particularly the ladder and the pillow covers – they were the ones I clicked on. I LOVE your blog and although I don’t comment much, I get something from each and every post. Every recipe I’ve ever made has been a keeper. and I use your printables all the time. THANK YOU for the effort you put into your blog.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Audrey! I am so sorry…the link to the ladder was wrong, but it’s corrected now. The pillow covers are from H&M but are no longer available, so I linked to the neutral pillow cover selection on H&M Home. There are many lovely and affordable choices. Thank you for your kind words…Happy New Year!

    2. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Audrey…I have lost track of which comments I have answered, so if I already replied, I’m sorry. I have fixed the ladder link. The exact pillow covers are no longer available, so I linked to the neutral pillow covers currently available at H&M Home. Thank you!

  8. The white ironstone is so lovely and reflective of a winter season! Happy New Year to you and yours Ann!