Styling Built-Ins

How to Style a Built-In - A Detailed Palette

First of all, please ignore the ugly plant holder in the photo above that still does not have a knitted cover (like the one on the left. I am still working on creating one. Secondly, if you don't have any built-ins, I am sorry; this article probably won't be of much immediate use to you, but I encourage you to read it anyway. I personally LOVE built-ins. While I don't know of anyone who really hates them, I am sure there are some people out there who really couldn't care either way. For me, there's something romantic about built-ins - as ridiculous as that sounds once it's written out and no longer in my head. What I mean to say is that any built-in seems to have a lot of history and therefore just adds a little bit of extra character, even when they are entirely new. Built-ins are just, in my book, incredibly useful and incredibly charming.

I am sure, given the paragraph above, that you all can imagine my excitement upon seeing that our apartment had a very large built in. Not only did it have drawers and cabinets, but also SHELVES! While it wasn't "I just won the Powerball" excitement, which I myself have yet to experience, I imagine it was pretty close. It was one of the first things I styled when we moved in and it's definitely a feature I will miss when the time comes to leave this apartment behind - whenever that may be.

Styling a Built-In - A Detailed Palette

Some tips for styling your own built-in:

Mix It Up - This is true for bookcases too. Adding in some unexpected decor and details is a great way to make it more visually interesting and eye-catching. I actually have tons of red on this built in - something that was totally unintentional, but just happened because of all the Wisconsin Badger stuff I happen to have. Built-in shelving is a great place to keep all of this more random, eclectic decor.

Layer - This technique keeps your shelves and built-ins from looking boring. Don't be afraid to stack items.

Go vertical or horizontal with books - as stated earlier and as you can see, I have loads of books. Some of my favorites are on the built-in. I've oriented them in different ways and in little bursts so that their broken up stylishly as opposed to just simply taking over the built-in.

Style a built-in for the room - this is something that I didn't really do, mostly because I had a bar cart. As the built-in is in the dining area, styling it as a little bar space would have been an incredible idea had we not had a bar cart for that purpose already.