How To Style A Credenza

I’ve styled MANY a credenza in my lifetime. Credenzas, like shelves and mantels, can be styled and re-styled every few months (or days…or hours) to reflect the season, match the new vintage painting you scored at the flea market, or just because you want to shake things up. But that big open space can be daunting, too. You have all the right pieces, but how to arrange them so they don’t look too crowded, or too sparse? How do you keep it pretty, but functional? How do you keep it from looking like a weird dresser sitting in your living room?

You probably didn’t even know there were so many things you could even worry about, and now your starting to hyperventilate, thinking about your credenza sitting just one room over from you, and wondering if it DOES look like a weird dresser. First, take a deep breath because I’m here to help (also it probably doesn’t). Then follow my 5 steps to styling your credenza:


Step 1: Start with functionality. A lamp will add both height and light to your credenza. Since this isn’t a reading lamp or desk light, go for something with a fabric shade for even and softly distributed light, rather than a directional task lamp.

2. Stack up those extra coffee table books you’ve always wanted to display. This helps create levels on the surface of the credenza (so everything isn’t sitting directly on the credenza top), can serve as a little pedestal for an accessory, and brings in some personality, depending on what books you choose.

3. Mix in your accessories: candles, vases, artwork, trays, etc. Vary the size, shapes, textures, and colors while keeping a consistent color palette throughout. The color palette I used for this credenza, and the living room in general, was blues, whites, warm woods and leathers, and small hits of green, gold, and floral pinks. Keeping a consistent color palette will help everything feel pulled together, even if your assortment of items is a little all over the place. Arrange the items in a mountainscape shape – up and down slowly without extreme verticals all of a sudden running into flat horizontals.

4. Add something personal, like a framed photo. This will help your credenza feel like it belongs in your home, and not a showroom. Besides, I bet your family is adorable, so how could you not display that for the whole world to see??


5. Top it off with the EHD teams favorite finishing touch – A plant or flower (also known as the most affordable sculpture around, unless you absolutely need to have peonies out of season, in which case, an actual piece of art might be cheaper). This also balances out the lamp.


Voila! Your perfectly styled credenza is now a excellent representation of both your impeccable taste and refined, yet eclectic and cultured, personality/life. Looking back at a few of the credenzas I’ve styled, they each have their own personalities and differ in their arrangements, but the basics are all there. Remember this set up from “1 Credenza, 4 Ways“?




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