A Guide to Decorating Your Built-Ins

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Journaling your inspirations and ideas

Many individuals often inquire of design professionals: “How should I decorate my bookshelf/built-in shelf/wall shelf?” Achieving a polished appearance isn’t effortless for everyone, but the reality is, it’s simple and entirely feasible for you to accomplish on your own! In this Guide to Decorating Your Built-Ins, you’ll learn to do just that.

Each individual possesses unique preferences and styles. Some relish the allure of mixed metals, while others prefer a more uniform approach. Abstract art may appeal to some, while others lean towards figurative pieces or depictions of people. Additionally, some individuals favor live plants over artificial ones, and vice versa. To commence, I typically ask my clients: “What are your preferences?” and “What doesn’t resonate with you?” It’s as straightforward as that! Start with these inquiries, note down your concepts, and proceed accordingly.

Always ascertain the width, height, and depth of a shelf to determine the appropriate items to curate the space.

Dimensions have significance.

Dimensions are crucial; if your figurine, for instance, measures 13″ but the interior height of your shelf is only 12″, it won’t accommodate the figurine. Prioritize size considerations before finalizing any purchase! Width can pose challenges at times. For instance, if the shelf’s width is 36″, you’ll need to select pieces that fit the space without appearing cluttered.

Add fillers 

Books! They’re your ultimate ally when sprucing up a built-in. Grab those books scattered around your home. Not aesthetically pleasing, you say? Simply flip them around to display the pages instead of the spines (check the feature photo for reference). Books serve as excellent fillers, and let’s be honest, almost everyone has a stash lying around. Want to elevate the look? Incorporate bookends! Some of my favorite decorative books are Alabaster Co. Decorative Bible Books, Architectural Digest, Elements of Style: Designing a Home and a Life.

Plants – Whether small or large, in plant stands or not, ensure they fit the shelf. However, plant stands should be placed on the floor, just as depicted in the feature photo.

Photo frames – Introduce some timeless family photos or recent snapshots to add interest!

Art – Sprinkle a couple of art pieces that resonate with you or tell a story. Artwork often sparks engaging conversations.

Baskets – Ensure they’re the right fit! While many baskets are sizable, some are crafted to suit specific spaces, so keep an eye out for ones that match.

Branches – Utilize branches for whimsical, decorative accents. They serve as ideal fillers for broad shelves, maintaining a clean appearance.

Figurines – My personal favorite fillers! These can range from abstract to lifelike objects. There are no hard and fast rules for using figurines, so opt for ones that captivate you and spark conversations.

Numerous avenues lead to crafting a stunning and pristine appearance. Enjoy the process! To find more, check out our Accessories Collection!

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