Top Shelf

Looking to inject your personality into your space? Consider starting with a shelf that’s accessorized to reflect your interests and style, says Taylor Reiko, founder of Taylor Reiko Design in Vancouver. Reiko shares four tips to help up your shelf game.

By Laura Bickle | 2 minute read

Oct 19

Francisco Alvarez

“A thoughtfully curated shelf displays your fondest memories and what’s important to you.”

Taylor Reiko

We put the real back in real estate.

Join Wahi today and find out how easy it is to get real estate in Canada.

1. Find your inspiration

“A really important part of design is having a strong concept and color palette,” says Reiko, who also has a podcast called It’s All Perspective, for homeowners and designers. Start with an item that evokes positive feelings — a framed photo, an item from a trip, a cherished possession, or the shelf itself — and use that as a jumping-off point.


You can also use your closet for colour inspiration, adds Reiko. “You’ll be able to see the colours that you naturally gravitate toward.”

2. Choose the shelf

Wall-mounted, floating and standalone are all great options. Depending on your theme, think about how the shape and colour will contrast with the wall behind it. Be sure to consider the unit’s depth, each shelf’s clearance height and how it’s design might reinforce the theme. 

solar panels

Curated floating shelves, like the ones you used in this bathroom, are an easy and inexpensive way to spruce up any space.

3. Select your items

Keeping your theme and colour scheme in mind, collect both practical and beautiful items — candles, books, bookends, vases, rocks, crystals, coasters, or memorabilia. Reiko recommends adding plants to the mix. “It adds the natural element that we all crave as humans. It really opens up the space and makes it feel fresh.” And don’t be afraid to go with artificial versions, urges Reiko, especially in low-light areas.

solar panels

Real or artificial plants on a shelf or ledge, like those pictured here, bring nature inside and makes the space feel fresh. 

4. Start playing

 “Experiment,” says Reiko. Fan out your books, support them with bookends or lay them in a stack and place a trinket on top. “Don’t be afraid to layer items, put them on angles and blend textures. It makes it look intentional,” adds Reiko, who also recommends arranging items in groups of three or five. “It’s more pleasing to the eye in odd numbers.”


It’s important to stick with your general color palette, she says. “See what your existing items might look like next to new items.”

Reiko also suggests experimenting with blending dark and light elements “to give it that visual interest. It can go a little sideways if the color palette blends too well into the background.”


Ultimately, says Reiko, the beauty of using shelves as a design element is that you can easily revamp them as your style and interests evolve. “It’s the type of thing that makes a house a home.” 

Laura Bickle

Wahi Writer

Photos: Lex & Josh Photography

Become a Real
Estate Know-It-All

Get the weekly email that will give you everything you need to be a real estate rockstar. Stay informed and get so in the know.

Yes, I want to get the latest real estate news, insights, home value
estimates emailed to my inbox. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Get so in the Know

On everything real estate.

From the latest Canadian housing market trends and stories, to insider tips and tricks.

By clicking “subscribe”, you agree to receive emails from Wahi. You always have the option to unsubscribe at any time, see our privacy policy for more details.