Favorites Under $50: Decorative Objects

By Kate Riley August 25, 2015

I’m making a few improvements to my home this fall, in addition to the fireplace project, I’m readying the studio above our garage for a multitude of guests arriving through September and October, also a house sitter will be living there when we take our big trip abroad in November. My stepdaughter moved out last week, she occupied the space for over a year after college while she worked two local jobs, she just moved to San Francisco, so again the space is vacant.

Four years ago we installed Billy bookcases as built ins along one wall to add storage, I have plans to extend them up and also add lights, I’ll share that improvement when complete. Again I get to style them with books and collectibles, I have a lot of accessories I’ve collected over the years, but I’ve been on the hunt for a few new ones too.

I love to look at images of well styled bookcases and analyze why they look so appealing. There are mixed opinions on how to style bookcases, designers loving to use them as opportunities for chic displays with cleverly placed books and objets d’art.

stylish bookcase

 traci zeller

There is no one formula or way to do it, I prefer a mix of sculptural objects and books, I find that the most visually appealing, but after all they are bookcases so as a practical matter, stacks of books just make sense.

black bookcases

jessie d miller

 navy blue bookcases

b gallerie

In formal spaces, shelves themselves can be the focal points rather than used solely for the purpose of practical storage. With étagère shelving units like these, avoiding overcrowding and using a minimal amount of objects shows off the beauty of the shelves.

minimal bookcase styling

rue mag

The best objects for styling bookcases are the ones discovered as a diamond in the rough on a flea market or thrift store treasure hunt, or mementos handed down from family or picked up from traveling. But I also keep my eye open for objects with textural or sculptural interest, a metallic sheen or a pretty pattern, one I’ll love for years to come.

If buying objects for the sole purpose of filling a space, I’m not one to spend a bundle of cash since there are several sources for affordable finds from Etsy (for vintage) or HomeGoods and Target. I rounded up some favorites for positioning around the house in vignettes, on a mantel or bookcases, all under $50.

objects under 50

jumble sculpture / polyhedrons / silver urchins / petrified wood / white block planter / clement bowl /  marble & wood block / metal box / kastor vase / colada vase / clio vases / teak vase

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing all the pictures of the Las Vegas kitchen remodel so come on back in the afternoon, it’s a fabulous transformation, you’ll love it!


  1. I love that clement bowl. It is so chic, yet it could look so homey mixed with fall pumpkins and warm woods. What an inspiring collection of cool objects. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Thank you for this post! The pictures are wonderful! I know it is an often discussed topic, but I learn something new every time! :)

  3. wow i clicked through on a couple of items and it took me to strange sites…

  4. LOVE this post, thank you. Styling shelves is fun to do and it’s nice to sort of shop around the house for items to fill space with. I especially love those gold etageres!

  5. Great post and I love the accessories, and that blue room? Amazing. I love that colada vase & jumbled sculpture such great accessories.

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

  6. These book shelves are absolutely gorgeous– especially with the decorative items on them. I’ll have to keep these inspirations in mind for my bedroom in my new house. It has tons of built-in storage and this will all be perfect ideas and inspirations for decoration those built-in shelves.

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