Happy Monday, friends! It’s the start of a new week with all kinds of new possibilities! I’m looking forward to a quieter week, with a few fun plans sprinkled throughout. Last Friday I had two styling sessions back to back (such a blast!) and today I wanted to share one of them with you!

Amanda booked the Power Hour for us to work on her built in bookcase in their dining area. She and her husband have lived in their beautiful home for under a year (and have since had a baby!), and have done a wonderful job making it homey and adding their own personal touches. However, Amanda just wasn’t sure what to do with the large built-ins and felt overwhelmed by their size and visibility in her home.

So let’s take a look! Here are a few before shots. As you can see, Amanda did a great job filling the shelves with meaningful decor and she had a great starting point. They already had loads of cute accessories for the shelves, we just needed to do some editing and rearranging.

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Before
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Before
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Before

And here’s the after!

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The first thing we did is take everything off the shelves. I then had Amanda separate out the things that she really loved and wanted back on the shelves from the things that she felt weren’t quite working or that she maybe wanted to incorporate somewhere else in her home. After that I laid out a bunch of decor that I had brought for her to peruse and for us to include in the styling if she liked.

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And then we got to styling! We incorporated quite a few new things, both purchases that Amanda made from my inventory, as well as a few pieces from other rooms in her house. To give you a feel for the kinds of things that I provided for Amanda, she bought the large black pottery vessel with white circles, the big circular wooden tray in the top corner, the small pottery bowl on the stack of books, the wooden hexagon on the left shelves, the stack of 3 vintage books, and more! It was great to be able to fill her shelves right then and there, without having to suggest things for her to go out and have to find on her own. We were able to swap things out and try things on different shelves until it all felt right. And the best part? I buy it all at thrift stores for the cheapest prices I can find so that I can sell it to my clients for cheaper than they’d be able to get it at a home decor store! So it’s really a win-win!

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Here are my top three tips for styling a large bookcase like this for yourself:

  1. Stay within the same color palette. As you can see, the majority of the bookcase is styled in cool colors. We stuck with mainly black, white, aqua, blue, and dusty green, and some nice neutrals. There are a couple warm colors thrown in (the copper candle and reds in the globe above, for example) to help bring in some contrast.
  2. Layer, layer, layer. Create depth in your shelves by layering taller things behind shorter things, resting photos up against the back of the shelf, and incorporating lots of different shapes and textures.
  3. Balance is key. Try to not have every shelf styled in the center. Some shelves can have something just on one side, as long as it’s balanced by the shelf below or above it. Allow empty space to let the viewer’s eye ‘rest.’ Scatter color and ‘weight’ of objects around the shelves (for example, don’t put a bunch of heavier, black objects next to each other—pepper them throughout).

I truly believe that if you follow these three tips, and include decor that you love, you will have a beautiful bookcase in no time!

Working with Amanda was such a joy and the hour went by way too quickly! (And aren’t all their wedding photos just swoon-worthy?!) I’m so glad that this focal point of their home is now something that she is proud of! It holds a ton or character and pieces that she not only loves, but that are meaningful to her.

And one more view of the whole, pretty thing!

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