{Living Room} The Finished Bookcases

Once the bookcases left HomelyTown behind, it was time to put stuff back in them! I think that’s the main reason they had previously gone to hell in a handbasket downhill, because I know what’s involved in getting them styled. Over the course of a week, I slowly started putting things on the shelves. It went like this:

Arrange one shelf, walk to the other side of the room and look at it.
Style the adjoining shelf, walk to the other side of the room and look at it.
Remove one item from first shelf, walk to the other side of the room and look at it.
Do steps 1-3 approximately 1,752 times.
Eventually get all shelves styled, walk to the other side of the room to look at it.
Realize it’s out of whack, remove half the items and reposition the shelves.
Go back to steps 1-3 another 689 times.


But the path I wore in the rug was worth it, as I’m head over heels with these shelves! Just to remind you of the negative impact the shelves previously had on the room, here’s a Before & After, or an After & Before in this case.

Picnik collage

And before you decide I’ve got too much stuff, look at what I started with! Once I took everything out, I realized at least half of it I no longer liked, or it belonged somewhere else in the house. So Goodwill received several large bags, courtesy of this bookcase makeover!

Picnik collage

I thought the pink and white combination of the shelves and fabric was a tad sweet. How to solve that? Add black, of course! So I hung the black-framed botanicals to tone it down. (Stole my own trick from giving Babygirl’s Room more sophistication!) I love the look of a mirror hanging on the front of shelves, but my house is bordering on vain with the number of mirrors, so I stuck with prints. These are held snugly in place with Command strips, baby!


Let’s take a close-up tour, shall we? No judgement from you literary snobs!

Every single item I already had, but I did alter a few things to make them better suited for the room. These bottles got a paint treatment, which I’ll show you a tutorial on soon.

shelf 1

I used a mix of natural elements, books and accessories, and tried to balance height and visual weight on each shelf, as well as, all the shelves as a whole. Some books are turned around for interest, but also to hide my shameful vampiric addiction.

shelf 2

I made this glass box, and am crazy about the reflection and bit of glam it brings.

glass box2

We received a pair of Tiffany glass votives as a wedding gift, but they’ve always gotten lost in our decor. Now, with a simple (faux) flower bud perched inside, it’s one of my favorite things on the shelves!


Remember the cut-out Mr. Sugarplum made for the air-intake vent? I just covered it with the fabric. It may require some special attention over time as the fabric will probably act as an air filter. Ick. I also brought in the hurricanes I typically use for seasonal decor (here and here). They are filled with black sand we brought back from our Santorini trip, and a black candle. The wooden bowl is a travel memento from Belize.

shelf 3

Here’s a tip for you, did you know you can run your coral through the dishwasher? Yep! Cleans off all the dust and returns it to it’s bright white. The Hawaiian print is a set I inherited from my grandparents, I just altered the frame a bit so the art became the focus. (Guess I have a few tutorial posts to get to!)

shelf 4

Our family room is covered with wall-to-wall photos (literally), so it was overkill to have them here too. Only our very favorites stayed.

shelf 5

I stuck planted a succulent in the other Tiffany votive. How cute is it?! He’s so cute he needs a name!


And finally, some people probably don’t display their Travel books, but since traveling is such a passion of ours, they get to stay. You can read details of my wedding dress here.

shelf 6

I still can’t get over the difference a quart of paint made for these bookcases! And in case you’re wondering, the botanical prints don’t protrude or cause a hindrance when walking by.

Picnik collage

Picnik collage

Here’s a wide-angle view for better room reference. You get a peek of my Son’s Room and Guest Bathroom on the right (Babygirl’s Room is also in that ‘wing’, to the left of the bathroom), and the Master Bedroom is through the door on the left. And on the right, out of the picture, is the Entrance Hall and Dining Room.

You notice there’s no lamps behind the couch? I didn’t want to distract you, but choosing those is coming up. My latest Lamp-A-Looza may have produced a winner!
So what do you think? Does styling shelves and vignettes bring out your OCD side, too?
Paint Armoire
Paint Brick
Paint/Fabric Bookcases
Re-Style Bookcases
Paint Table Tiles
Paint Hall Chest
Paint/Wallpaper Nook Walls
Paint Backdoor?
Add Nailhead to Wingchair
New Covers for Barrel Chair Cushions
Change Out Lamps
Clean Secretary
Gold Leaf Back of Secretary
More Coordinated Sofa Pillows
Determine Fate of Side Table

***And since I’ve pinned countless bookcases for styling inspiration, including several with art mounted to the front, I’m including this in the Pinterest Challenge! John & Sherry of Young House Love challenged us to stop pinning and start doing! If you aren’t on Pinterest yet, hesitate before joining….it’s beyond addicting!!
I’m also linking to the parties in my side bar, including Home Stories A to Z.

Leave a Comment


  1. Mary wrote:

    Oh my goodness what a difference! It looks incredible! Nice job! 🙂

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  2. Hi Cassie!

    Your book shelves look amazing – I really love how you perked them up!!

    xoxo Laura

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  3. Elsa wrote:

    They look awesome! Love how you hung those botanical prints. Did you add molding/trim to the top?

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  4. looks great!! clean and fresh! love it!!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  5. They look so, so pretty! Love how it all ties together with the rug now.

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  6. Heidiopia wrote:

    This is a HUGE transformation! Love how clean and fresh it all looks. Colors are perfect. Kudos!
    Heidi @ Show Some Decor

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  7. Looks great! Draws attention in a good way – functional, colorful and interesting!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  8. Maury wrote:

    I feel you COMPLETELY! I redesigned my bookcases 2 months ago and I'm still doing the back and forth. In fact, I changed them up again last night! I'm constantly seeing a spot that needs a little "adjusting." There's such a fine line between cluttered, boring and PERFECT! I think yours are right on the money!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  9. Amy wrote:

    Like night and day!! It looks amazing! Where did you snag your pretty botanicals?

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  10. it is amazing how much lighter and brighter the entire room feels with those changes… looks wonderful, cassie!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  11. Amazing transformation and I love how you styled the shelves…that is not easy to do!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  12. a' la mode wrote:

    oh, they look GREAT! and you did a fab job styling them too =) me want some coral. xoxo shel

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  13. jandjhome wrote:

    They look fantastic. I love the fabric on the back.

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  14. Clapping… clapping… clapping… cupping hands to mouth screaming "woooooooohhh Casssieeeee"…. Seriously- great job, girl! It looks incredible. Quite the dramatic (yet inexpensive!) makeover!!! Love the prints on the front. I mean love 🙂

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  15. kelly wrote:

    Cassie! They look amazing! Completely changes your room. Well done, friend!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  16. Great transformation! I love the fabric on the back and love the wide angle shot!! 🙂

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  17. Bambi wrote:

    LOVE THEM!! I have bookcases that are similar how did u do it >:?

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  18. What a big difference, love it ! How about "Seymour" for your plant's name ?

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  19. Very cute change! I love what it does to the entire room!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  20. Another grand slam, Cass, and I am loving SOOOOO many of the details, I can't even hone in on just one! I love them all! I think I'm actually most impressed by the editing…I *really* need to learn how to do that! (c: It turned out absolutely fabulous and the prints on the front are completely genius…

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  21. Cassie, they look fabulous!!! I love how you styled them!!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  22. Just wanted to tell you that this has been so helpful for me to look at. Not even the bookshelf so much- though it looks fabulous. More the fact that you have doorways and odd walls behind your sofa. I do too. Mine floats in a room with two ugly doors behind it. You are inspiring me to do something about that background. So thanks, Cassie!

    PS- you crack me up too.

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  23. Looks AWESOME!!! I would have never thought to put the dark prints over the shelves…so clever Cassie! Love how you re-purposed the Tiffany votives…the succulent is my favorite. So eclectic and fun. You really knocked this one out of the park!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  24. It truly pulls that corner of the room together…great job in using color and pattern!!!!!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  25. Looks amazing! Love the transformation!!!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  26. WOW!!!! Those are magazine worthy!! Seriously Cassie, AMAZING!!!!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  27. Looks great, Cassie. I love how they work so well with the rug now. Huge difference. All of your editing paid off!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  28. LOVE it!! The shelves look great! I love the touches of personality in them! Great job!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  29. Hey Cassie –

    I think thy look 1,752 times better, therefore all your work paid off! Seriously, they look great.

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  30. It does look so good! You must be so pleased, so much more modern and that white vase now really pops against the white!!
    Rachie xo

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  31. Simply LKJ wrote:

    They look awesome Cassie! Great job.

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  32. Jane wrote:

    Looks Great!! My absolutely favorite is the wooden bird peeking over the edge! Do you mind if I ask where you got him?

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  33. Your styling is great, your room looks beautiful – I am v envious! I especially like the shelve with the tiffany votives and the art work behind, so pretty.xx

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  34. Magazine! I think this might be my favorite thing in your house.

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  35. Cassie! These are seriously amazing, you did a wonderful job. Just the right amount of pink–and good styling, too!


    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  36. Bee wrote:

    They look so great! and it makes a huge difference in your room! great job!:)

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  37. LOVE. Those botanical prints are to die for!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  38. Oprah says your home should rise up to meet you, but I'd say *your* home should rise up to THANK you! There seems to be nothing white paint and a fabulous stylist (you) can't do.

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  39. mmk so many things to love! fresh and modern update. the little succulent in a votive, brilliant!the square glass mirror planter, so pretty. all the back and forth about styling paid off, it's well balanced and easy on the eyes.

    Remember the pool party I was going to send you? Turns out I JUST won tickets to BlogHer and will be in SD instead! ANYONE ELSE GOING??

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  40. Lili wrote:

    CASSIE, i am loving it! you are inspiring me to de-clutter my shelves all over the house!!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  41. Shanna wrote:

    They look amazing! Great job!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  42. Anonymous wrote:

    Wow! What a huge difference your little changes made. Looks really great. The only thing I would suggest is looking for modern art that you like for those two black frames. It would bring a real sophistication to the vignette. You could even find modern florals if you liked; I think it would really kick it up a notch. Just my two cents (worth about, oh, two cents!).

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  43. Moddy Bee wrote:

    i…love…BOOKSHELVES!! it turned out great! i keep adding to my bookshelf and moving things around. (i mostly have to move things beacause of my 14 month old chicken)
    anyhoo…looks great girl!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  44. Great job girl, they look great!! I love those white and pink vases you did too! *heart*

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  45. Natalie wrote:

    it looks so clean and organized now! and i love how you snuck some pink in there!

    Posted 8.2.11 Reply
  46. Looks fantastic. I did the fabric backing as my Pinterest project too – I need to work some still on the styling (it is a pain, and who the heck knows what I have lurking around here that I could pull out and make work, just more mess than I want to get into right now). I've always loved the art hanging on the front of the shelves too.

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  47. Megan Lee wrote:

    I love the finished look! Very pretty 🙂

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  48. emily wrote:

    Fabulous, friend!! They are perfection! And it's too funny you mentioned your travel books — as you will soon see (once I can get my butt in gear and post pics of the office), I have displayed ours. I thought "Maybe I shouldn't display these, but too bad."

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  49. Such an awesome transformation. I really like how you mounted (twss!) the frames to the outside of the bookshelves too. Tres cool!

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  50. p.s. I need to join that Pinterest challenge- I've been sitting on my *ss way too much just pinning away lately, instead of actually Doing anything!

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  51. Woomp Woomp Boom there it is…where did you get the fabric?

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  52. Hi Cassie! I love it! It looks so gorgeous and is such a beautiful vignette to have in the room! Your blog is so very beautiful…you should be so proud of your lovely home and the inspiration that you give to your readers! Have a wonderful week! Angie xo

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  53. They look marvelous! Alright, I think I need to fly you to AZ so you can help me with my 427 sq ft apartment. I love your projects and what you do, truly I do. I think I need to take more time and plan what I want to do with "what" I currently have an the "inexpensive" ways I can DIY! I'm loving the finished look and now it's on to the next project 🙂 Let the fun continue! Oh, and "yes" Monday and August 1st came around way to fast.

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  54. Amanda wrote:

    it looks awesome! what a difference! Great results for all your effort.

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  55. Love how much it brightens up the space and it ties in so much more with the other changes you've made! Bravo!

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  56. love. love. love.

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  57. Cassie it looks great!!! Love the colors and organization!! Awesome job girl 🙂

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  58. It's so gorgeous Cassie! Love all the details, from the patterned back, to the framed botanicals. World of difference! 🙂
    If you have the time, check out this shelves I did for a client.

    Posted 8.3.11 Reply
  59. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Looks so fantastic! The pink is perfection!

    Posted 8.4.11 Reply
  60. For sure my favorite thing you've done.. genius! Even just painting them white and restaging made a huge difference!

    Posted 8.4.11 Reply
  61. Those look great and you've styled them so well! I love how you hung the botanical prints on the fronts.

    Posted 8.4.11 Reply
  62. So much better! They blend in nicely into the wall colour and make your lovely collectables shine 🙂

    Posted 8.4.11 Reply
  63. love the changes. your bookshelf styling looks FABULOUS!
    I'm in the middle of doing a similar bookshelf makeover in my daughter's room. I'm loving the fabric back – it really adds a WOW factor.
    my bookshelf project should be done by tomorrow – fingers crossed!
    have a great weekend.
    cheryl xox.

    Posted 8.5.11 Reply
  64. Those look amazing!! You have totally inspired me!! Thanks!!

    Posted 8.5.11 Reply
  65. Michaela wrote:

    Cassie- I'm loving the bookshelves so much. Ah! The pink is so perfect. Such a difference to the room!

    Posted 8.6.11 Reply
  66. I have spent the last year trying to accessorize our bookshelves! Yours are definitely an inspiration!

    Posted 8.6.11 Reply
  67. Styling shelves definitely brings out my OCD side! Twice I've spent more than a couple hours styling for projects, but I love it!

    Posted 8.7.11 Reply
  68. really pretty! i am now a follower, hope you stop by sometime 🙂

    Posted 8.7.11 Reply
  69. Gina wrote:

    Fabulous job! I struggle so much with shelves, so I know it's not easy. You managed to make it look that way though.

    Posted 8.7.11 Reply
  70. I REALLY like how that turned out! What a difference white paint and awesome fabric make! Yay!

    Posted 8.7.11 Reply
  71. Love them girl! I'm featuring them on my blog today!

    Posted 8.13.11 Reply
  72. The bookshelves look so great, from the paint, to the fabric, to the styling. I featured them on my blog this week:

    Posted 10.4.11 Reply
  73. Wow this turned out quite well I think. I love the colors you chose for the shelf itself & I like the mixture of colors & textures you add to the shelves in such a way as to not clutter. Way to go!

    Posted 11.2.11 Reply
  74. LOVE THIS!! what a transformation! Great job! This is definitely on my list of things to DIY next : )

    Posted 11.3.11 Reply
  75. Rachel wrote:

    Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing…seriously great stuff! One of the most hilarious books I've read.

    Love the end result, the shelves look awesome!

    Posted 11.7.11 Reply