Leave it to this Brooklyn loft to school us on the art of decorating a massive built-in unit. Creative consultant, Gillian Schwartz’s approach is all about making the shelves double as a gallery wall Featuring a curated mix of decorative accessories—an exposed cabinet of curiosities, if you will— it boasts everything from ceramic animal figurines to family photos.
Take your built-in shelves to the next level by painting the backdrop in a bold and dynamic shade. Not only will it impart the spot with a major dose of style but it will add a layer of impact to the design. Bonus points for adopting a color-coordinated approach to displaying your books.
File this one under one seriously clever hack: a folding Murphy bed is ingeniously framed by a wall-to-wall installation of built-in shelves, allowing the bed to be seamlessly concealed when needed.
What better way to show off that extensive collection of cookbooks than with a built-in unit specifically reserved for that purpose? Bonus points for incorporating a multi-tone color scheme into the design.
Hudson’s Rivertown Lodge has its fair share of Insta-worthy decor moments but, nothing quite rivals its hidden library nook that comes complete with a wall-to-wall bookshelf surround and an equally embracing lounge chair.
Spotted in this quaint Brooklyn apartment via Homepolish’s Ariel Farmer, a pair of adjacent built-ins surround the window space, making ample use of the space beneath. As an added bonus, the floor-based shelf also doubles as a bench or spot to showcase decorative accents and more!
An impeccably styled bookshelf paired with a complementary, whitewashed aesthetic is always a foolproof way to embrace the look. We love the way this one makes excellent use of the space above the door!
A modular set of built-in shelves uses up the negative space between the windows in this East Village apartment designed by Homepolish designer Megan Hopp. A color-coded organization system for the books brings in a much needed pop of color to the space.
This set of built-ins function as a room divider and we couldn’t think of a more clever and functional display. Consider it an upgrade from light-blocking walls, especially for spaces that are short on windows. Take a ‘less is more’ approach to filling the shelves, allowing the maximum amount of light to filter throughout.
Part bookshelf, part built-in study, grays rule in this modern and cozy home office. Note the two-toned effect of the shelving and how it extends a hint of warmth against the paint.
Built-in shelves were practically made encompassing fireplaces. This elegantly mod living room packs in major style with worldly flair, an aesthetic further elevated by the semi-stocked shelves and patina piece above the mantel.
Elevate your typical shelf space with a captivating shade that will seamlessly blend into the existing wall paint. This hue is all the rage.
Bare stairs? Line the wall with built-in shelves to impart the area with a colorfully dynamic touch. Filter in greens for good measure, and complete the look with bold decorative accents and art. We’re taking notes from this dreamy home.
Within the exclusively whitewashed room, consider bringing in shelving of a contrasting finish to create a more dynamic effect. Here, reclaimed wooden shelves lend the perfect complement to the Moroccan rug below.
Originally published June 2017. Updated January 2018.