Do you believe in love at first sight? When it comes to design I tend to fall hard for an image that catches my eye. Before Pinterest I used to catalog my favorite images in sketch books. Oh the endless hours I spent gluing pictures plucked from shelter magazines. I still treasure those books and look through them for inspiration. Some designs are classic and transcend a passing fancy (80's design floral...yuck!).
The above living room is one of those "grab you and won't let you go" images for me. It incorporates many of my favorite elements. Black, white and cream are done to utter perfection. The lighting, custom bookcases and insanely gorgeous accessories make me want to date this room=;) I absolutely love a well crafted bookcase. Here are some that inspire me.
This image comes from the Home Bunch blog, one of my favorites! When you break it down this is such a basic bookcase, but the color makes it sing. The accessories could all be sourced from your current reads, Home Goods and/or Michael's. This look is a fairly easy one to recreate.
The key to this look is custom built-ins married with the MOST AMAZING swing arm sconces, brass cabinet pulls and grasscloth wallpaper on the wall. Admittedly this one would require some dollars to achieve. Ahhh...such lovely inspiration. If you have an option to go with custom millwork and want grasscloth, size the bookcase openings to match the width of the grasscloth rolls. The look will be more seamless and far easier for an installer.
So let's face it, built-ins can get pricey. There are a number of "IKEA hacks" on Pinterest that let you get the look for less. The key is starting with relatively inexpensive core elements and dressing them up with trim/millwork. There is even an opportunity to create this IKEA hack as a standalone piece of furniture that could travel with you should you rent of move frequently.
It there anything more alluring than smoked glass? Charming, feminine, inviting....gah....love it! The glass also brings in more light and makes the room look larger. This is such a simple add on to a built-in project. The glass is probably less expensive than some wallpaper options.
This room is the "after" shot. Carla Aston did a fabulous job of updating a dated great room with new stone, floating shelves, painted cabinets and updated flooring. Those shelves are perfection! Check out the image link to see the "before" shots.
Again, this is a basic bookcase that was dressed up with moldings and a beautiful smokey gray paint. The furniture, lighting, antique books and rug set an elegant tone. You can find and buy vintage books on the web. Sites like eBay and Books by the Foot offer some nice options.
My final thought is to share the idea of a floating shelf. If space, money, etc. prevent you from having a bookcase, my alternate is a picture ledge. Get one with enough depth to let you overlap two frames if needed. The depth also allows you to sneak in an accessory or two. Use your existing images and simply update your frames for a more tailored look.
You can go for a bold "black and white" look or do a mix of frames with dark and light wood tones. Michael's, Target, IKEA and Home Goods (all the usual suspects) all have inexpensive options for frames. I bought my shelves at Home Depot. This Home Depot shelf cost under $40.00. You can stack two to three shelves and create a dramatic wall. Again you need depth to make this look work. There are a number of shelf options on the web.
Still in need of more tips? This Elle Decor "How To" is one of my favorites!