Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Styling the living room built-ins

 It turns out that styling built-ins is a lot harder than it looks! It takes a lot of re-arranging and moving around of books and accessories before getting it right. And it is still not right but it is getting there.

One entire wall of our living room has these built-ins and I'm only showing part of them because the other parts don't look right just yet!

Every time I go to a garage sale or an estate sale, I make a bee-line for the coffee table books. I try to find ones that a) have a nice looking cover and b) are about something I am interested in. For this room, I am trying to stick to a color scheme of neutrals, blues, tans, and grays. So if I have a coffee table book that I love but has a bright red cover, guess what? It is going in a drawer.

This camera doesn't work but it was only $1 at a garage sale.

Almost all of the coffee table books I have are garage sale finds with exception to this one below. 
I mean, c'mon. How pretty is that cover? 
Plus inside, there are a lot of pictures that I am considering tearing out and framing. 
Instant art.

I can't take credit for these bottles. They just appeared on the shelf. 
My mom visited one day and when she left, I noticed them there. 
She is like the decorating fairy that rearranges things when you step out of the room. 
Can't say I mind it :)

If it is old and rusty, I buy it...

And if it is chipped, I buy it too.

I got these boxes at a garage sale and was feeling spray paint happy. 
So, I sprayed the bottoms and then tied them all together with twine. 

More secondhand stuff. Are you getting sick of hearing "from a garage sale"?
Me neither!

Guess who?

The built-ins also have two windows.

In each of the windows, I put these topiaries, which are from Ballard Designs.

So, I'm no expert on styling built-ins but what I've learned so far is that less is more. 
Too many knick knacks on a shelf can look very busy so it is sometimes better to have one or two statement pieces instead of ten little things. 

I've also learned that I underestimated how many coffee table books I do in fact need for these built-ins. Yikes...


  1. I'm back!!! Love the new posts! Need to visit again ASAP house looks great

  2. You could use wallpaper to make paper book covers for the books that don't have appropriately colored covers.

    1. Good idea, thanks! Now I just have to get my hands on some cute wallpaper. Although...I could probably use patterned wrapping paper too, no?

    2. or brown craft paper?

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