My Ikea Billy built-in bookshelves are finally primed, painted, caulked and styled! If you missed Part 1 of this project, be sure to check out my tips on how to pull off this Ikea hack. Today, I want to share with you how I styled the shelves. My husband has his PhD in Religious Studies and his favorite pastime is reading; therefore, we have a LOT of books. I thought for sure that we would have so many that styling wouldn’t be an option. Matt knows me well and didn’t want to rob me of the joy of styling, so he took a bookshelf full of books to his office and we have another bookshelf in the closet which freed up some space to make these guys look cute. Yay!
Room Styling Tip 1: Start with your inspiration.
When deciding how to style a room, you should always begin with your inspiration objects. We upgraded the bed in our master bedroom to a king (post coming soon), so I knew I wanted to reuse our bed and bedding in the guest room. I also knew that I wanted to keep this commissioned butterfly painting in the guest room. It was given to me as a wedding gift over 14 years ago by a dear friend. The butterfly was painted over mixed media (before doing so was trendy) and the frame was handmade. With my bird pillows and this artwork as my room inspiration, my color scheme was decided.
Bookcase Styling Tip 2: Choose your objects in your color scheme and adjust the height of your shelves accordingly.
I shopped the house for objects that might work on the bookshelves and then I painted them or used Rub n’ Buff to make them fit my color scheme. Don’t be afraid to paint a mat, a flower pot, or an accessory so that it better fits in with your decor.
I had all of the accessories below but the terracotta pot for the plant matched the brick and didn’t stand out. I used some acrylic craft paint to give it some color. The metal frame was tarnished silver before, so I transformed it with the help of Rub ‘N Buff in European Gold.
Bookcase Styling Tip 3: Layer meaningful objects above your books and place books at different angles.
My father passed away a few years ago, and I love this picture of the two of us. Use objects on your shelves which hold meaning for you and use dead space above the books for items of interest. I found the globe for a few bucks at the thrift store and love the color it adds to my shelves. I chose to place most of my books vertically on the bookcases, but I added some horizontal stacks for variety.
Bookcase Styling Tip 4 & 5: Zig-zag your items back and forth on your shelves to create visual triangles and keep symmetry and scale in mind when placing objects. Hang art on the outside of your shelves.
My shelves are not perfectly symmetrical but I kept symmetry in mind while styling. I also incorporated pops of color in visual triangles down my bookshelves. For more details on what I mean by “visual triangles”, I encourage you to read my post How to Decorate Shelves where I explain it in full. I found the hummingbird and butterfly art for $12 and knew they would look great in the room. I hung the art to the outside of the shelves using 3M command strips.
So let’s review! Here is what this room looked like with the old bookshelves and decor.
Here is what it looked like “during” with the new built-in Ikea Billy bookshelves in place.
And here is what it looks like now!
One more side-view before…
I am thrilled with how this room has turned out and will be sharing with you soon how I created the rug and desk.
In the meantime, be sure to check out the related posts on this room below.