Watercolour typography art – free printable

Happy Valentine’s day, beautiful people! I have created a little gift for you, a FREE printable of a lovely quote in pink watercolour.

Print it for a photo frame, stick it up on your wall with washi tape, add it to your gallery wall, gift it as a framed print, use it as a gift topper or a notebook front cover… whatever takes your fancy, but please note this print is for personal use only. I also recommend that you download it to your computer before printing. 


I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

10 comprehensive tips to nail your shelf styling

10 comprehensive tips to nail your shelf styling - Arty Home.jpg

Shared a #shelfie on Instagram lately? We know what a joy pretty looking shelves are, right? They look stylish and interesting, give you endless styling opportunities, allow you to showcase your personality and design aesthetic, and are pretty much a work of art. But it can also be daunting to try to create the perfect shelfie.

Here are the tips and tricks that I follow when styling shelves which I hope will have you faffing happily on your way to a beautiful shelfie!

I’m putting this first before you even start on your shelves because cluttered shelves are not where we’re going with this post. Anything that isn’t useful or beautiful or really sentimental needs to go. Be free of tatty tat. It’s very cathartic, I promise.

This tip is really more for decorative shelves rather than your home library shelves which have lots of different spine colours, and I am not about to suggest you turn the spines in for a neutral look because I find this a ridiculous thing to do.

F-ck your bookshelf with the spines facing in.png Yeah, don’t do this. Image from the brilliant Fuck Your Noguchi Coffee Table

So if you do have lots of books, see Tip 3 for how you can make them look aesthetically pleasing.

If your shelves are more decorative rather than for housing a whole library of books, a limited colour palette really helps to give your shelves a cohesive and soothing look. You don’t have to be strict about it at all, a naughty colour pop never hurt anyone!

Impeccable styling by Amber Interiors using monochrome and natural tones

The fun part? You can change the vibe of your shelves when your mood desires by changing the colour palette. Case in point: Emily Henderson’s amazing shelves in her previous home styled in two very different ways:

Emily’s shelves looking cheerful and fun. The art on the top left seems to have informed the colour palette.
The same shelves, looking classy in a neutral palette.

Some shelves are for housing book collections, while others are more decorative and hold a select few tomes along with objets d’art. Wherever your shelves fall on this spectrum, I find it a good idea to start with the books you want on the shelves, along with any pretty storage boxes and lamps if you have them. Adding these larger items first helps you to visually balance the layout of your shelves so you don’t have one side looking heavier than another. Stack some books vertically and others horizontally (by height). When it comes to styling, I treat a box as a horizontal stack of books. Vary the positioning of your books: some in the centre of a shelf, some to the side.

Where you have a lots of books, try colour coding them. And if you can, paint the back of your bookshelves in a dark colour – it just looks better when you have lots of colourful spines. Also, pull your books to the edge of the shelf: this looks a lot smarter than having books at different depths.

Built In Bookcase Styled by Arty Home
My built-in bookshelf with varying arrangements of books, including a row of colour-coded books
@styleophileuk’s colour coded bookshelves
Bookshelves with colour-coded books. Image: Better Homes & Gardens

Large art at the back of the shelves layered with smaller art or objects in front of it add dimension to your shelves. Or you can be really bold with art and mount it on your shelves like in the image below:

Beautiful bookshelf with mounted art. Image: Room for Tuesday

Little decorative objects add so much interest to shelves. Let your pretty little things shine atop book stacks, in front of art, as bookends, etc.

Afri-Scandi vibe in my dining room

Not compulsory by any means, but I find warm metallics are great for adding a touch of luxe to your shelves.

My simple alcove shelves: I do love me a bit of gold

You really can’t beat the life and movement that a house plant brings to a shelf! Succulents or trailing plants work best on shelves where height is limited. You can also try a little vase filled with flowers or leafy branches.

Even the simplest of shelves come alive with a bit of greenery. Image: Lark & Linen

Make sure the main colours in your palette are dispersed throughout your shelves (unless you’re going for a colour-coded look with your books as seen in Tip 4). This helps to balance the overall look and also helps the eye to travel across the shelves.

@roomfortuesday‘s beautifully balanced shelves. Look for the blues – see how the colour is peppered around the shelves? Same with the black, white, neutral and metallic tones.

Layer by placing larger items behind and smaller ones in front. Play with heights: position your decorative objects in a triangular or mountain range formation; raise smaller objects by placing them on books or boxes. Whatever you do, stay away from symmetry.

Lovely layered shelves by Amber Interiors

There are some designers who advocate leaving no white space at all, but I’m an advocate of less is more, and I think white space allows your eyes to rest between visual stimuli, making your shelves look more soothing.

StyleCurtator Shelfie.jpg
Stunning shelf styling by @stylecuratorau on Instagram

These tips are not just for shelves, you can apply these principles to console or mantel styling too. It always takes me a bit of, er, faffing, before I’m happy with my shelves, so don’t be afraid to play around and experiment with different looks. Most importantly, have fun with your styling! Do you have any tips for shelf styling? Do share them in the comments!

Affordable art: Art calendars

Art is a key element in giving your home personality, yet finding beautiful art for your walls that doesn’t cost a small fortune can be tricky, so I thought I’d run a series on this blog on how to source affordable art. As it’s the start of the year, let’s start with art calendars, and I don’t mean the cheaply made glossy paper versions you find at your local stationer’s.

A few years ago, I bought a large calendar published by Taschen featuring Edward Lear’s parrots. I was blown away by the quality of the Italian art paper and vibrancy of the prints. The calendar cost me £9.99 from HomeSense and for that price, I got 12 great sized prints of stunning birds.  I’d have been happy to pay that price for one print, let alone twelve!

Gorgeous large prints from Taschen’s 2012 wall calendar featuring Edward Lear’s parrots

I know Taschen have also produced large wall calendars featuring the works of Gustav Klimt, Frida Kahlo and Vilmorin’s Vegetable Garden (very popular on Etsy!), although I don’t know what they’ve published for 2017. If you google “Taschen large wall calendar” and come across one with art you like at a good price, I’d suggest you add it to your basket pronto because they’re very hard to come by! It’s also worth checking out your nearest HomeSense for arty treasures.

Rifle Paper Co. are also known for producing gorgeous arty wall calendars that are perfect for framing. The gallery below is created from their 2015 Travel The World calendar.

Wanderlust gallery in a girl’s room created with Rifle Paper Co.’s 2015 wall calendar by The Creativity Exchange

Unsurprisingly, the Rifle Paper Co.’s 2017 Bon Voyage calendar, featuring illustrations of cities, seems to already have sold out at all the UK stockists but if you like it, you can still order it from their website.

Rifle Paper Co. 2017 Bon Voyage Calendar

A recent discovery for me is Juniqe whose 2017 calendars are so good! If you’ve browsed Pinterest or Instagram for any length of time, you’ll surely recognise the work of Ruben Ireland

Images: 1 – @mavendolls on Instagram via Inside Out magazine, 2 – @michele.lauren on Instagram, 3 – INT2 Architecture via Desire to Inspire, 4 – Norsu Interiors, 5 – @irina_khrist on Instagram, 6 – Homes to Love

So what would you say to twelve Ruben Ireland prints for just a few quid each? Yup, you guessed it, a calendar with Ruben Ireland prints perfect for framing! Juniqe have this calendar in 2 great sizes so take your pick.

Ruben Ireland 2017 calendar by Juniqe

That’s not all. Juniqe have several more to choose from, one of my favourites being the Leigh Viner calendar –

Juniqe Leigh Viner 2017 calendar.jpg
Leigh Viner 2017 calendar by Juniqe

If you haven’t already hopped over to Juniqe, I don’t know what you’re waiting for!* Go check out all their other gorgeous calendars and arty things.

Do you know of any other brands producing gorgeous arty calendars?

*This is not a sponsored post 🙂