Shelf Vignette Formula

Bride's wedding apparel formula: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

A loose formula for what to give your kids for Christmas is: something to play with, something to wear, something to read, something they need.
My mom's formula for making our brown-bag school lunches: a sandwich + something salty + something fresh + something dessertish. (Sometimes we got a drink. Rarely, though.)
I have yet to discover a fool-proof formula for shelf decorating/vignettes, but I think the more successful ones seem to be founded upon cohesive contrasts, including color, texture, size, and form. For example:

So, good for all you people who own those fine-looking shelves. I'm impressed and happy for you. As for me, I'm looking to update and freshen up my living room shelves, shown below:
They're pretty tired-looking. Too many rectangles and harsh corners, not enough diversity in texture or size. And I'm leaning toward a lighter, softer color scheme all-around.
Not to go all Preview-or-Bust on you (hah! whatever that means), but the "After" isn't quite finished yet. Come back soon for a step-by-step toward the finished product, though. And maybe a cookie. Because...mmmm...cookies.

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