If you remember, a few months ago I embarked on my very first set of vertical bookshelves for our living room. They are the classic white Carson bookshelves from Target. I had the horizontal bookshelf, also from Threshold Carson collection, since last summer and we’ve been using it as a TV stand. Beware, this was only a temporary solution as it’s not meant to hold so much weight. Two days ago we mounted the TV on the wall, and I’ll update you how I hid the horrid cords behind the wall.
However, while a clean slate is the start to a beautiful thing, it also means it’s a blank slate. I had never decorated bookshelves before so I knew I had to call in the big guns. Fortunately, I didn’t have to peruse hours on Pinterest trying to figure it out all on my own.
But before I show you the end product, here’s what our living room looked like before these additional bookshelves. I had black + white and leopard on the couches.
And below is what the living room is looking like these days. I made a complete 180 on my color palette and it definitely feels more like “me.” I will always love pink and leopard, but at my core, I love change. If you read my new blog design post, you’ll understand why.
If you’re seeing shades of blue, don’t adjust your monitor. Blue, white, greys, and desaturated shades of blue (lighter shades of blue mixed with grey) are what the fabulous Heather at The Decor Fix recommended I try in my home. She’s a genius, I tell ya. Looking back, this was the color palette I first tried as a newlywed with great success. I’m not sure why I strayed from something that worked, but live and learn, right?
Heather, a brilliant decor coach, shares her personal styling secrets for getting a gorgeous bookshelf every time in her Bookshelf Styling Class. After years working as a designer, she developed a tried-and-true method for bookshelf styling that works with any decorating style. The bookshelf styling class is the first of its kind…an online decorating class that takes a dive into the design principles at play when styling any shelf. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have been able to pull this off.
Our throw pillows were reupholstered from the old palette. They are IKEA feather pillow inserts that I sewed custom pillow covers with fabric from Joann Fabric, namely this one and this one. I also picked up some velvet aqua covers from IKEA. To be honest, these are a work in progress, and Brian’s come to accept that the only constant with our throw pillows is change. (Bri, if you’re reading this, just know that I already am planning the new palette. Love youuuuuu!)
A lot of the small decorative items are from Target, such as the gold urchin (similar), the gold bookends (I LOVE these gold pineapple ones!). The woven baskets are also from Target, while the ceramic elephant, white artichoke, and blue agate stone are from Home Goods. I also got the white magazine holders from IKEA, after several trips to stores and coming empty-handed. Since the closest IKEA is 3+ hours away, I ordered these online.
And what are bookshelves without, ahem, books? Since we’ve moved across state lines a few times, shedding a lot of belongings along the way, we didn’t have many books. A few trips to Goodwill, and some white craft paper from Michael’s, remedied our book situation.
Initially, I began gathering items that would pair well with the blue vase of the second shelf from the top. This vase was aggressively protected during our moves. Brian and I bought it on Murano Island of Venice, Italy on our honeymoon. I was drawn to the gorgeous blue hue and the beautiful handblown shape. I’ve never had the heart to put flowers in it, just because I love looking at it as-is. It was still wrapped in bubble-wrap right before I put together the bookshelves and I’m so happy to finally find a home for it where I can admire it daily.
The vignette above is an example of some of Heather’s tips + tricks in her bookshelf styling class. In the worksheets that accompany the course, she includes examples of combinations of decorative items. The stacking of some items on top of books is just one of a long list of examples. This particular shelf looked a hot mess before I did my “homework.”
Oh, yes, just like any good teacher, Heather gives you homework. But really, it’s so helpful, because I realized I had so many knick knacks still packed in boxes that I could use. The gift boxes and baskets are some things I already had. Granted, before I took the class I had them elsewhere on the shelves. Their new location just make so much sense given Heather’s explanation. I found myself nodding my head at all of her explanations. The woman is spot on, let me tell you.
But it’s not just the bookshelves that benefited from her advice. My mantel did as well. I used some of the same tips in her bookshelf styling class in the groupings of items on the mantel. And, given that I like to change things up every few months, and the course never expires, I can always go back to the course and use it as a reminder of how to update it. It’s a win-win!
Nothing beats fresh flowers, but in the near future I plan on investing in a high-quality white + blue hydrangea arrangement for the coffee table. In case you were wondering, daisies, carnations and chrysanthemums make for long-lasting and affordable flower arrangements.
I fell in love with the white, pleated curtains with Greek key trim on the front cover of Elements of Style book on my coffee table. I couldn’t find them anywhere, so I realized they were custom made. I actually sewed these myself (after many trials and errors!) but I’m so glad I took the time to make them. I love them! The brass curtain rod is from Bed Bath Beyond (similar). I didn’t splurge for finials because I like the understated look of the rod as-is. Plus, they don’t upstage the drapes :)
So, there you have them. What do you think of my bookshelf styling? Am I 100% done styling them? I’d like to say so, but I can’t guarantee that a shelf or two may change when I find new treasures at Home Goods or At Home. I had a lot of fun applying the technique Heather lays out in her course. The best thing is, when I feel like updating them for the seasons, I can always go back into the worksheets and re-use them.
Could your bookshelves use a little TLC? Look no further than Heather’s class. I promise her tips will help. They are just oh, so good!
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Heather’s Bookshelf Styling Class and may receive a small commission if you enroll. However, I wholeheartedly stand behind her course and I know you will love it just as much as I did!