So in my home office makeover post I promised to tell a little more detail about my built-in bookcases and how I styled them. To be honest, after I finished my office makeover I needed a break from writing about my office (and you guys probably needed a break from hearing about it ), and I also needed to get started on my dining room. So I’ve avoided writing this post for awhile. But I had a question about the built-ins come up recently, and I realized it’s time to finally write this post and give a little more information about the built-ins, focusing on how I styled them and how I use them.
As I mentioned before, our home office is at the front of our house and is basically the first thing people see when they walk in. So I wanted it to look pretty and presentable all the time, yet it still needed to be functional.
This is what people used to see when they walked in:
The shelves were hard to keep neat and there were too many boxes to dig through to try to find what I was looking for, not to mention there was no real style to the arrangement of items on the bookshelves. Having all of our stuff sitting out in the open was simply not working. What I needed was a way to hide all of our stuff and still make it easily accessible. And that is why I chose to create a built-in storage system with drawers.
I love, love, LOVE the drawers! Back when I was planning out the design I considered skipping the drawers because it would’ve made the whole process of constructing this thing cheaper and quicker. But I am SO GLAD I stuck with the idea of having drawers along the bottom. It was worth the extra money and time!
After we finished building the built-in bookcases I added some Ikea gray boxes along the bottom. This gave me added storage while also creating a visual base for the entire built-in. It looked like this with empty shelves, drawers and boxes:
Then I brought in all of the items we had sitting in our office before except for the books, and this is what I had:
My goal was to fit all of that stuff in the drawers and boxes. And I’m happy to say I did! After it was all put away, the built-in looked like this:
You’d never know I was there .
And my drawers look like this inside:
For a neat freak like me that’s total eye candy!… No more trying to figure out which box on the shelf has my hole punch and digging for it.
With our supplies neatly tucked away along the bottom of the built-in, that left me the top area to store some books and to decorate.
I covered all of the books with gray kraft paper and wrote the title on the edge in white colored pencil. The colored pencil was perfect because it’s not too bold that it becomes distracting, yet it’s still legible.
Then I added the pretty!
I knew I didn’t want to spend much money on the decor since I had already spent enough on other areas of the room so I focused on getting these items as inexpensively as possible. I saved money by using all of the following techniques in some form:
- shopping thrift stores
- repurposing items from other areas of our home
- buying things on clearance
- using coupons
- making items myself (see my Z Gallerie inspired decorative boxes and painted glass vases)
I also needed to arrange the items with style, and I ended up creating a computerized image of how I could arrange everything as well as a full source list with costs.
Visually, I tried to keep variety yet balance among everything.
I wanted the colors to coordinate with the room and be soft, but I didn’t want everything to be so similar that it ended up just looking flat. I focused on using objects that were various shades of the colors in the room—aqua and gray—mixed with neutral colors and different textures. I tried to evenly disperse the colors and textures throughout the shelves.
I also had to work with the shapes and location of the shelves. I tried to fill the top shelves with things we don’t need to access regularly…
And I filled the narrower shelves with smaller sized objects…
I used the wider shelves to set up small vignettes of decorative objects…
If you read my mantel styling tips post then you’ll noticed I used many of the same design techniques I recommended for mantels in my built-in bookcases as well. Visual triangles, layering, balance, stacking and personal touches are all used in various ways in my arrangement of decor.
It has been so nice to have such a functional but beautiful storage piece in our office! It really is the highlight of the room!
In case you missed it, my home office makeover was featured over on Thrifty Decor Chick’s blog this week. So go check out all the great before and afters from this month!
Ok, so now I’m going back to “our regularly scheduled programming”… my dining room! I’m in the midst of another big project there!