How to Decorate a Shelf in the Living Room

Having a shelf in your living room is a great way to add extra style to one of the busiest rooms in your house. You can use it to hold books, of course, but you can also show off some of your favorite family photos, interesting objects, and even seasonal decorations. The trick to making the design look deliberate is to include some of the same colors from the rest of your living room décor, then to arrange the objects in a way that shows them off!

EditDeciding What to Display
Group small stacks of books together. If you’re decorating a whole bookshelf, of course, you can include as many books as you can fit. However, if you’re only decorating a single shelf, you might want to be more selective about the books you choose. You could pick books that you love to read over and over, or if you prefer, you could opt to display books with bindings that match your décor.[1]
For an elegant display, include a collection of leather-bound volumes.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your arrangement! You can display some books with the front facing outward, especially if they have interesting cover art. You can also stack some books horizontally and some vertically.

Take dust covers off of hardcover books to make them look less busy.

Buy old books from a thrift store that you don’t want to read to use just as decoration.

Make the shelf feel more personal with framed art or pictures. A framed picture is a great way to add your personality and design style to a shelf. You can either lean the art against the wall and anchor it by placing small, heavy objects in front of it, or you can hang it just above the shelf for more security.[2]
Photos of your family and loved ones will add a lot of warmth to your living room.

You could also opt for art that reflects your design style, like pop art if you love bright, bold colors, or a simple line drawing if you prefer a more understated look.

You could even create a gallery wall by hanging a variety of pictures above the shelf. Then, decorate the shelf with small objects that mimic the colors or shapes in the pictures.

Lean a large frame against the wall and later smaller ones in front to create a relaxed style.

Use sculptures, vases, and found objects to mix up the shapes on the shelf. A shelf that only contains square and rectangular objects isn’t as visually appealing as one that has a variety of shapes. Instead, it’s best to mix up the size and shape of the items you display together. Use your shelf to show off cool objects like vases, globes, bookends, or sculptures.[3]
Try to use your imagination when you’re thinking of items that you can put on the shelf. Some of the coolest designs feature unexpected touches, like a glass bowl full of acorns in a rustic living room, or a brightly-colored vase that adds a pop of color to an otherwise subtle color palette.

Look around your house for objects you don’t use anymore and use them as decorations.

Include colors that reflect the design of the rest of the living room. To make the shelf feel cohesive with the rest of your living space, look around and pick out a couple of colors that you can repeat on the shelf. This might be a color from your curtains, carpet, or rug, or it might be a color in a piece of artwork that you’d like to bring out more.[4]
For a modern look, opt for monochrome colors, like all-white. However, don’t be afraid to add in a graphic pop of color!

For a more traditional look, opt for warm, dark woods, and rich colors like burgundy and gold.

If your style is more rustic, look for lighter woods and natural colors like forest green.

Fill up your shelf with color or use one bright object to make your room pop.

Use boxes and trays to hide clutter. You may need to use your shelf to store items like loose papers, phone chargers, or other small, objects that are functional but unattractive. If that’s the case, keep the items close at hand but out of sight by hiding them in pretty boxes or magazine holders. This will help keep your clutter contained, but you’ll still be able to easily reach your objects when you need them.[5]
You can also group small objects like paperclips or coins together in small bowls or on trays.

Look for boxes that are decorative and nice to make your display look more purposeful.

Add green plants to bring a touch of nature into your living room. Houseplants are a great way to add natural beauty to your home, and a living room shelf is a perfect place to display them. Choose a plant that’s well-suited to the amount of natural sunlight in the room, and consider the size of the plant and how it will fit with the scale of the shelf.[6]
For instance, if you have a narrow shelf, you could display a cactus in a small container.

If you don’t want to take care of a plant, use faux greenery instead.

Display seasonal decorations if you enjoy celebrating various holidays. A living room shelf is one of the best places to display your holiday decorations. Whether you love keeping freshly-cut flowers in the spring, you need a place to display your menorah at Hanukkah, or you can’t celebrate Christmas without your dancing Santa, use your shelf to show off your holiday spirit!
By changing the decorations throughout the year, your shelf will always look fresh!

EditArranging Your Items
Make use of the depth by arranging some objects further back on the shelf. If you pull everything to the end of a shelf, the final result will be very flat. If you have a deep enough shelf, try placing some items closer to the wall, and others toward the front of the shelf. That way, your eye will immediately be able to see the depth, and the shelf will look more visually interesting.[7]
For instance, you can lean artwork, large books, or even painted, empty picture frames at the back of the shelf. Then, you can place smaller statues, framed pictures, or other decorative items near the edge of the shelf.

Make sure you’re not putting items too close to the front of the shelf since it will look unbalanced and could be a falling hazard.

Balance the scale of the objects you’re using. The size of your shelf should dictate the height and width of the decorations you include. For instance, a large mantle might be the perfect place for a huge framed portrait, but that same picture would look out of place above a short floating shelf.[8]
Similarly, the pieces should balance with each other. If you’re using a few larger pieces, a very tiny, delicate figurine would be lost in the design, for example.

Leave some empty space so the shelf doesn’t look cluttered. Unless you’re going for a very modern look, your shelf shouldn’t be sparse, but there should be some empty space between some of the objects. As you’re arranging your decor, step back every so often and take a look at how everything is grouped together. If anything looks too crowded, try moving the items further apart, or remove something from the shelf.[9]
There’s no definite rule for how much empty space there should be. Just trust your own taste on this. If you’re still not sure, ask a friend or a family member for their opinion.

Start with an assortment of objects and remove them as you go while you’re styling. Try different arrangements until you get the look you want.

Group objects in odd numbers. For some reason, odd-numbered groups of objects are typically more pleasing to the eye than even-numbered collections. While groups of 3 are probably the most common, you can gather 5 or 7 smaller objects together on your shelf as well.[10]
These don’t have to be groups of the same object. For instance, you could lean a large art book against the wall, then place a heavy marble paperweight and a bowl full of pretty river rocks in front of the book to make a nice tableau.

Arrange items so they’re slightly asymmetrical for a natural look. Perfect symmetry tends to look a little formal, so you should avoid it if you want your living room to feel more relaxed and comfortable. Place objects so they’re a little off-center, and vary the size and shape of the objects you choose for opposite ends of the shelf.[11]
For instance, you could place a lamp on one side of the shelf and a sculpture on the other, with a houseplant slightly to the left of the middle of the shelf and a stack of books just to the right.

If you feel stuck, ask someone for their opinion. They may notice something different that you wouldn’t have seen by yourself.

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Today in History for 19th February 2019

Historical Events

1674 – Netherlands and England sign Peace of Westminster (NYC becomes English)
1929 – Medical diathermy machine 1st used, Schenectady, NY
1945 – Brotherhood Day-1st celebrated
1950 – Groundbreaking ceremony held for Mississippi Vocational College (later Mississippi Valley State University)
1961 – Albania disavows Chinese “Revisionism”
2014 – Death toll in Ukraine reaches 26 after Government crackdown on protesters

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1891 – J C “Farmer” White, cricketer (Somerset slow lefty 1909-37)
1916 – Eddie Arcaro, American Racing Hall of Fame jockey (Triple Crown 1941 Whirlaway, 1948 Citation), born in Cincinnati, Ohio (d. 1997)
1924 – Lee Marvin, American actor (Paint Your Wagon, Cat Ballou), born in NYC, New York (d. 1987)
1950 – Andy Powell, rocker (Wishbone Ash)
1985 – Arielle Kebbel, American actress
1986 – Reon Kadena, Japanese model/actress

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1672 – Charles Chauncy, English-born president of Harvard College (b. 1592)
1790 – Jean-Baptiste Krumpholtz, Czech composer, dies at 47
1858 – Alois Basil Nikolaus Tomasini, Italian violinist and composer, dies at 78
1968 – Ralph Dunn, actor (Mr Rudge-Norby), dies at 65
1988 – André F. Cournand, French physician and physiologist (Nobel 1956), dies at 92
2012 – John Hogan, American research chemist, dies at 92

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Build a Koi Fish Pond

Koi are beautiful, ornamental fish that can live for a long time in the right conditions. Building your own koi fish pond in your garden can sound like a difficult task, however, with a bit of planning and patience, it won’t take too long at all! Plan out the size and depth of the pond first, and then dig the hole and line it with a pond liner. Install all of the necessary equipment such as a filtration system and an aerator to keep the koi happy and healthy.

EditPlanning out the Pond
Choose a pond that is a minimum of long by wide. This is an ideal and popular size for a backyard, hobby koi fish pond. A pond of this size generally holds 10 mature fish, giving them enough space to thrive and for the pond to not look overcrowded.[1]
Keep the width of the pond or under, as otherwise, it will be difficult to catch the fish using a net if you need to.

Make your koi pond 3–4 feet (0.91–1.22 m) deep. A good size for a hobby koi pond is deep. Some ponds for koi that are raised for competitions reach a depth of , however, for beginners and hobby koi enthusiasts, having a deeper pond isn’t necessary.[2]
It’s important that the pond is a minimum of as this makes it less likely to fully freeze over during winter.[3]
Once you have determined the size and depth of the pond, you will be able to calculate the estimated volume. To calculate the volume of the pond in cubic feet, multiply the depth by the width by the length. To calculate the volume of the pond in gallons, multiply the volume in cubic feet by 7.5. You will need these volume measurements for the upkeep of the water quality in the pond.[4]

Choose an accessible location for your koi pond. Walk around your garden and pick where you would like the pond to go. Make sure that the site is very accessible so that you can easily bring in all of the materials for the pond and have enough space to work.[5]
Some people like to have a koi fish pond located close to their home and viewable from a window, while others prefer to have the pond set back into the garden so that you can take a walk to reach it.

Clear the site where you are planning to put the pond. Once you have decided on the size, depth, and location of the pond, get the area where your working area ready. Move any vegetation or furniture out of the way. Pull up any pavers that may be covering the ground. Make sure that there is enough room around the site so that you can work there easily.[6]

Map out the shape of the pond on the ground. Mark out the dimensions of your pond directly onto the ground. Choose a shape for the pond to be based on the dimensions that you have decided. Use either rope, a garden hose, or spray paint to make sure that you are happy with the size and location of the pond.[7]
Koi ponds are often rectangles, L-shaped polygons, or irregular, round shapes.

EditConstructing the Pond
Dig the hole for the pond. Use your measurements and plan to start digging the hole for your koi fish pond. Use a sturdy shovel and get a friend to help you if possible, as this will make the process go a lot faster. Dig the sides of the pond so that they slope gently downwards towards the center if possible.[8]
The widest part of the pond is at the top.

Line the pond with a tough plastic or rubber liner. Order a one-piece pond liner from a home improvement or landscaping supplier. Install the liner as per the manufacturer’s directions. Have several people help you to roll it out over the pond. Make sure that it overlaps the edges of the pond by at least so that it can be adequately secured in place.[9]
Remove any sharp rocks or stones that you see in the hole before you lay the liner to prevent the liner from being damaged.

A liner in one piece will prevent the pond from leaking.

Place rocks over the liner around the edge of the pond. Use large stones and rocks to completely cover the liner that is at surface level, leaving only the hole for the pond exposed. Stack and overlap the rocks using whatever design that you prefer. Make sure that at least of the liner is exposed beyond the edge of the rocks, as you will need this to prevent rainwater from getting into the pond.[10]

Dig a high ridge around the edge of the rocks. Once you are happy with the final layout of the rocks and stones, dig a ridge around the edge. Use a spade to shift the dirt into a ridge formation up against the rocks. Make sure that the liner reaches onto the ridge.[11]
The end result will look like a small ridge running along the entire outline of the pond. The ridge will be just beyond the rocks along the edge.

This prevents rainwater, soil, lawn chemicals, and grass clippings from reaching the pond water.

EditAdding and Adjusting the Water
Fill the pond with water. Use a garden hose to fill up the koi fish pond. If the water isn’t fresh or spring water, use a dechlorinator, a carbon charcoal filter, or a water conditioner to remove the chlorine. You can purchase these chlorine treatments from pond or fish supply stores. Always treat chlorinated water before adding it to the pond if there are fish already in it.[12]
Contact your water supplier if you are unsure about the water quality.

Chlorinated water is toxic for fish such as koi.[13]

Ensure the pH of the water remains between 7 and 8.6. Use a water testing kit to test if the pH and dissolved nutrients are at the right levels for the fish. Adjust the parameters of the water if the testing kit shows that it is necessary. This helps the koi to stay happy and healthy.[14]
It is a common problem to have dissolved nutrient levels that are too high. Avoid overfeeding the koi and overstocking the pond, and change the water gradually if necessary.

If you need to change the water in the pond, do it in amounts of 10% to 20% of the total volume. Otherwise, the fish may go into shock.[15]

Keep the temperature of the pond around . Measure the temperature of the pond regularly with a thermometer. Use a pond heater as well as an aerator if necessary. If you find that the pond is getting too warm, very gradually add cold water to slowly reduce the temperature in the pond.[16]
Koi can survive in water that is , but they do best at .

Never change the water temperature of the pond all at once, as this can cause the koi to go into shock which can be deadly.[17]

EditInstalling Equipment and Adding Koi
Install a filtration system into the koi fish pond. Purchase a filtration system from a pond equipment supplier and follow the installation directions closely. All pond filtration systems involve a bottom drain, a settling chamber, mechanical filtration, and biological processing. This keeps the pond clean and the water quality high so that the koi stay healthy.[18]
Set up the filtration system box right next to the koi pond. Dig it into the ground slightly. Install the individual parts in the pond as per the installation directions.

The settling chamber makes it easy for you to remove debris from the pond to keep it clean. An ideal settling chamber size for koi fish ponds is deep and in diameter.

The mechanical filtration part of the system will catch debris as it floats through the water.

Biological filtration is the addition of beneficial bacteria into the pond. This reduces the levels of ammonia and nitrite in the water which are toxic for koi.

Place an aerator in the pond. A pond aerator will keep the pond water moving at all times. This keeps the water stirring, oxygenates the pond, and promotes gas exchange. It also prevents the pond water from freezing during colder months.[19]
A pond aerator is an ideal and economical substitute for a pond heater.

The size of the pond aerator that you need depends on the size of your koi pond. Know the volume, shape, and depth of your koi pond before you purchase an aerator and choose one that is designed for the size of your koi pond.

Turn on the filtration system and aerator. Once your pond is full of water, start preparing the water for the koi by getting the filtration system and aerator up and running. Always do this before adding the koi to the pond.[20]

Put the koi into the pond once it is set up. Keep the koi in the water and in the plastic bag that they were purchased in. Float the plastic bag in your koi pond for 30 minutes so that they can adjust to the temperature change. Then add a bit of pond water into the plastic bag, tie it up, and let it float for an additional 30 minutes to help the koi adjust to the pond water.[21]
After the koi have been given time to adjust, open the plastic bag again and release them into their new pond.

Don’t let the plastic bag float continuously in direct sunlight, as this could cause the koi to overheat. Place a towel over the bag if there isn’t a shady spot.

Care for the koi. Feed the koi specialty pellets regularly and treat any health problems that arise. Maintain the water quality in the pond and keep it clean, so that the koi stay happy and healthy![22]

With the right care, koi usually live 30-40 years.[23]
EditThings You’ll Need
Measuring tape

Rope or garden lime


Pond liner

Stones and rocks

Filtration system


Garden hose


Water testing kits



EditRelated wikiHows
Clean a Koi Pond

Feed Koi

Raise Koi

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