I was recently inspired after seeing a friend’s beautifully – and simply – arranged living room built-ins to take a hard look at my own built-ins. I haven’t rearranged them too much since moving into our house five years ago. Maybe that should have been a sign in and of itself that they needed a refresh!
Anyway, I’m so in love with how my built-ins look now that I’m a bit embarrassed of my “before” photos. I’m no decorator, and I’m sure there’s still more improvement that could be made, but here we go…
I have symmetrical built-ins on either side of the fireplace, so there are a lot of shelves to tackle. Below is the before & after for the ones on the left side of the fireplace.
And here’s the before & after for the right side of the fireplace.
So much cleaner and less cluttered, right? I only bought a couple of new things, too, so it was a practically free project.
The first thing I did was grab an empty box so when I pulled things off, I had a place to collect the “extras.” I restricted each shelf to 2-3 items.
Previously, I had photo books scattered, some standing up, some laying flat. I took a consistent approach of making a few neat stacks of the photo books to lay flat on various shelves. I turned them so that the spines are to the left, which makes them look more cohesive with the white page edges showing at the front. I then placed a smaller item or photo frame on each stack.
My new additions are on the bottom left shelf of the top photo. I thought a lamp would make it feel more cozy, especially since that corner of the room is a bit dark. And I bought the cool silver decorative piece (no idea what to call it!) next to it at Home Goods. I still think that shelf needs a little help – any ideas? The picture frame hides the electrical outlet, and the Alexa speaker won’t move further because of its cord. So I got a little stuck there.
I took my box of extra goodies and reorganized the bookshelf in the home office (the “before” photo of which is even more embarrassing!). And now I’m working on the built-ins in the upstairs game room. I’ll post more on those soon.
I’d love to see more inspiration from your built-ins and bookshelves! Please share what works for you.