Published on November 20, 2019

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Photography by Andie Diemer; Styling by Julia Stevens

Shelving is hardly the most exciting decor item to shop for, but try telling that to the nearly 3,000 Amazon reviewers absolutely besotted with AmazonBasics’s $60 wire unit. “I don’t often give five stars, but this one gets five,” says one fan. “These shelves are so simple a child could put them together,” writes another. No wonder it makes repeated appearances on the retailer’s best-seller list—and found its way into the Domino prop closet. 

On one hand, we get the appeal—it’s super-affordable and can be used for pretty much any organizational task, from housing bulky cookware to stacking heavy books. The shelves are height-adjustable, so you can customize them for your space, and the wheels are optional, should you want something a bit more sturdy. One Domino editor swears by a similar option for keeping the kitchen she shares with two roommates tidy. On the other hand, the design is, well, tough on the eyes. As is, it’s not hard to picture the piece in a dorm room or garage. 

The key to making this inexpensive Amazon find feel elevated lies in color; it’s what all the cool utilitarian-style shelving we keep seeing has in common. In our favorite iterations of the shelves, a vibrant pop comes through in the Technicolor tchotchkes that line the ledges—or the hue can be found on the frame itself.

Anyone who has ever tried to paint chrome knows firsthand how tricky coating the shiny finish can be. Here’s how to do it right: Wipe the piece so it’s completely free of debris, sand it down, use a primer specifically for metals (like this one), and follow that with the shade of your choice. Be sure to choose a finish that will work on metal—look for the “all surfaces” specification—and you’re all set. Any of these bold paint picks will transform the shelving system into a colorful statement:

You can’t go wrong with this sunny shade, especially if you’re aiming to brighten up a kitchen. Everyone could use extra pantry space, so why not make it count?

This deeper green color lends the simple silhouette some elegance, so you could certainly put it in an entry or a living room. 

The best way to approach styling an electric blue shelf unit? Color-blocking with accessories in equally shocking hues, like tomato red and marigold yellow. Whether that’s your pots and pans or your collection of novels is totally up to you. 

See more DIYs to try:
If You’ve Always Wanted a Parisian Mantel, This DIY Is Your Chance
The $12 Container Store Find That Totally Changed My Gallery Wall
A Real Malachite Table Costs Thousands, But You Can DIY It for $50

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