Skip to Content

The 6 Best Ideas for Modern Shelf Decor in Your Home

Since the beginning of the 20th century, modern style has been celebrating all things natural, sleek, clean, minimal, and bright. While it’s sometimes confused with contemporary style, modern style is its own thing.

If you’re hoping to integrate some more modern style into your home, especially on your shelves, but don’t know where to start, this is the place for you! Or if you’re just looking for some more inspiration, this is the place!

Modern Shelf Decor

We’ve compiled some of the best ideas for modern shelf decor out there right now. Read on for how to use these pieces all over your home!

Why Do You Need Shelf Decor?

Shelf decor

While it may seem trivial to some, modern shelf decor is actually important for a few different reasons.

Add Visual Interest

Shelf decor is going to add visual interest to a space that may appear dull without it. 

Think about the largest wall in your house. Would your home look as unique, inviting, warm, or whatever vibe you’re going for if you left it completely blank? NO!

One of the most important things to remember when you’re hoping to add some visual interest to your home is to include a lot of different textures and layers.

Going back to the big blank wall thought again, what do you think would be more interesting to look at? A wall of pictures all the exact same size and orientation, or a wall full of pictures and art, with shelves filled with unique modern shelf decor mixed in?

Absolutely the second option! That’s because your eye has so much variety to take in and enjoy.

Showcase Personality

The right modern shelf decor is also going to help show off your personality!

Whether you’re wild and wacky with your choices, or sleek and sophisticated, the shelf decor you choose will give visitors to your home a better idea of who you are and a glimpse into your personality without you ever having to say a word.

Hide Things

Finally, well-planned and placed shelf decor can also hide certain things you may not want to showcase.

If your house is anything like mine, there are several phone jacks of yesteryear left covered up on your wall. While it acts as a great little history lesson for young kids, they’re better off covered up.

Modern shelf decor can help! Place your shelf near the hole/plate/scuff you’re trying to hide and find the perfect piece of decor to put in front of the mess so you never have to think about it again.

Some shelf decor can even act as storage to hide away things like remotes, cables, and other things you’d like easy access to but may not want sitting out in the open.

Modern Shelf Decor for Your Kitchen

Shelving kitchen decor

Glass Canisters

While it may feel counterintuitive to the “hide things” aspect of modern shelf decor, glass canisters that you actually use are a very popular thing to put on your kitchen shelves.

Fill them with pasta, flour, sugar, seeds, or whatever your family regularly eats, and use them as decor!

You can take it a step further and add a label to each canister to add more visual interest and cut down on the “Is this sugar or flour?” questions. Buy premade labels or make your own with a label maker.

Stoneware Dishes

Stoneware dishes are having a moment these days, too. Whether you’re setting out your everyday dishes or showing off some unique serving pieces, stoneware is a great option for modern shelf decor for your home! 

Modern Shelf Decor for Your Living Room

Living room shelves


Not only do bookends do the important job of keeping your books upright and on the shelf, but they can also add a really unique piece of modern shelf decor to your living room!

They come in so many shapes, colors, and materials. Some great modern options include bookends made of marble, geometric metallic shapes, and even more natural materials like agate or geodes.

Essentially, you’re looking for sleek and clean shapes. That will help you modern shelf decor really stand out.


Neutral-colored vases filled with gorgeous, calming greenery are a great addition of modern shelf decor to your living room.

They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and materials, so there’s sure to be something that matches the rest of the decor in your living room!

If you don’t have real plants to fill them with, you can always fill them with some faux greenery. Pampas grass, dried eucalyptus, and olive branches are all great places to start for filler. If you want to add a bit of color to your vases while keeping things natural, check out dried billy balls or dyed pampas grass.

Modern Shelf Decor for Your Bathroom

Bathroom shelves

Rope Baskets

Baskets are imperative for storage in bathrooms, especially if you’ve got a smaller bathroom. They help keep things organized or hidden and look good doing it.

Use some baskets with lids to organize cotton swabs, cotton balls, or any other small items you want handy but out of sight.

Larger baskets can be used to corral towels. If you roll them tight enough, you can fit a few regular-sized towels, a hand towel, and some wash clothes in a medium-sized basket. This is a great option for a guest bathroom, so your guests have everything they need in one place!

Modern Shelf Decor for Anywhere

Plant shelf

Plants, Plants, and More Plants

One of the staples of modern shelf decor is plants! Even if you don’t have the greenest of thumbs, there’s hope for you.

Lemon Button Ferns are a fantastic, low-commitment plant to get started for a room with little light or humidity. They’re hardy and just need watering once a week.

A Snake Plant is another option regularly seen in modern homes that requires very little upkeep.

If all else fails, and you truly have a black thumb, you can always pick up some fake plants, pop them in a modern container, and call it a day!

Wrapping up the Best Modern Shelf Decor for Your Home

Modern shelf decor is simple, sleek, natural, and bright. It will add a pop of personality and sometimes an attractive place to hide things you don’t want to be seen. And remember, if all else fails, just add a plant!

And before you get to decorating, make sure you check out how to paint a vase to learn how you can turn a plain glass vase into something that’ll fit right in on your modern shelves!