Bookshelves Reveal


It’s been a looong time since I’ve done any sort of interior design or DIY decor post. In fact, the last time I updated all of you on the progress of my apartment it was before I redesigned this little ol’ blog. For those of you who haven’t been along for the ride, here’s where we had left off in my living room:

Bookshelves Before

I had just finished the “bones” of my custom desk flanked by bookshelves. I’ve lived in many small Chicago apartments over the years so I’ve learned how to maximize the use of every square inch, which is what led me to build this workstation and storage combination. The bookshelves are the Billy bookshelf from Ikea and for the desk area, I had a piece of wood cut to size at my local hardware store and stained it a dark walnut color to contrast against the white bookshelves. I secured the desk to wall with heavy duty brackets to make sure there’s no danger of my laptop coming crashing down. To give the shelves a more customized look, I added some intricately patterned paper to the back of the bookcases.

And then….the half empty shelves sat there. For a really long time. I knew there was something about them that I wasn’t happy with but I couldn’t put my finger on it, until one fine day (okay, it took a lot longer than that) inspiration sparked and I finally finished styling the unit:

Full Bookshelves

I realized that what was bugging me was how cluttered the bookshelves looked (even with very little on them) because of the patterned paper. So, I re-covered the backing with plain black matte paper for a classic look. To keep them from looking like any old Ikea shelves, I used black Washi tape on the front of each shelves to dress them up a bit. When it came to the desk area, the addition of some gorgeous artwork and a lamp sized to fit made that area the perfect place for me to sit down to work.

Desk Closeup

I love mixing and matching metallic surfaces so the juxtaposition of the modern silver lamp (purchased from Fab) and the antique gold peacock print seemed like the best combination for the nook.

Desk Artwork

Like I said, storage, storage, storage is a mantra that I constantly chant whenever completing any major home decor project so I made sure to include several baskets when styling my bookshelves  for all those odds and ends that become clutter in the rest of my living room. I picked out a couple accent colors – blue and orange – to pop against the black background and then layered in metallic pieces and a few rustic wood toned pieces to create a more interesting display.

Bookshelves Styling 1

How adorable is that little deer in my succulent garden? It came along with my purchase from this Etsy seller and I’ll definitely be going back for more greenery for my apartment.

Bookshelves Styling 4

I wanted all of the items on these shelves to reflect my personality and be a conversation starter among guests so I included a wide variety of books but also reflected my love for fashion in the artwork I featured. This was actually a page in a notebook that I had, which I ripped out, cut rounded corners to match the other side and then displayed in this floating frame from Muji.

Coco Chanel Artwork

To keep the styling from looking too cluttered, I chose to have a couple shelves be symmetrical on both sides – the baskets and the magazines – and then continued the same color scheme as well.

Bookshelves Styling 3

My absolute favorite piece is this reclining Buddha statue that adds a unique twist but also reminds me to take the time to relax and make time for the passion that began this project in the first place – my love for reading.

Bookshelves Styling 2

What do you guys think? I’m so excited to cross of such a major project off my decorating to do list!


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