Monday, September 11, 2017

Living Room Reveal {How to Fake Built-In Shelving}

This post contains affiliates, which means I may make a commission if you make a purchase through a link.

When we were looking for a house, one thing I really, really didn't want was a completely open floor plan where the kitchen, dining and living were all the same room. And you know what I got? A beautiful house with a completely open floor plan ; ) 

It was something I had to compromise on, but it's been a fun design challenge for me. And the great room is definitely very grand. It has nine foot ceilings, absolutely gigantic windows that let in tons of natural light, and a huge fireplace with great molding. 

One thing the fireplace didn't have, however, were built-ins on either side. Coming from a house with four sets of built-ins, I was a bit disappointed one of my favorite charming features was missing. So I decided I would add my own for both styling purposes and to fill the large nooks on either side of the fireplace. 

First, I added a pair of these geometric front chests to either side of the fireplace. 

While I would absolutely love for our TV to be hidden, there wasn't really a way to do it until we have true built-ins installed. Having a chest on each side gives some storage as well as a place to perch the TV.

Then we had the 43" IKEA Lack shelves installed above each cabinet. We started to do these ourselves then remembered just how un-handy we are and ended up paying someone to come and put them up for us haha. It was money well-spent!

(Side note - this coffee table is one of the things I get asked about most often and it's sadly discontinued : ( I think I'll do a post soon with some good alternatives. This one and this one are somewhat similar.)

I intentionally spaced the shelves widely apart both to fill the vertical space and because we had such narrow built-ins at our last house I was tired of trying to style shelves where only small objects would fit. So these are about 18" between each one and I think it works beautifully. It allows for some more substantial pieces to be displayed (like this great brass vase that goes anywhere and is an incredible price!).

Do you see these brass lanterns on the mantel? I have had my eye on them from Anthropologie for about a year but was hesitant about the cost. Then I stumbled on a pair at Home Goods for $20 each! I couldn't believe it!

I think the faux built-ins add so much to the room! And it balances this end of the space with the kitchen on the other side. It also allows for a lot of texture through accessories since most of our furnishings are white. 

You guys know one of my favorite things to do in decorating is style shelves, and it was so fun to find the right mix and balance for this new space. Some of my accessories didn't work quite as well since the shelf spacing is taller, but I only ended up having to purchase a few new things to fill in. (Let's be honest...I wasn't too sad about finding a few new pieces ; )

You see that fiddle leaf fig tree in the corner? I had been waiting forever for our Home Goods to have a fiddle leaf, and they finally did right when we moved in! Before the shelves were installed though, I almost took it back because I wasn't sure I had a spot for it. It turned out it fit perfectly in this corner! (For a similar look try this one or this one, or read my post on the best faux fiddle leafs here.)

We are really happy with this space! We spend a lot of time in here in the mornings making breakfast and watching Elmo (the babe's favorite), and it's also been so great for entertaining. The only thing I'd like to still add is a console table behind the couch. 

Here I am styling away...or bribing my husband to please take a shot of me casually placing a plant on a shelf ; )

Ultimately we were able to reuse most of our furniture from the last house, but I think it still feels very different in this space. Moving and furnishing new spaces is always expensive, so I was happy all we had to purchase in here were the cabinets and shelving. My beloved white sofa is holding up beautifully being our main seating, and I haven't had to wash the slipcovers yet (we don't eat on it ever, and that's really the key). 

Aren't these pillows just so beautiful? They were made by my friend Rachel of Laurel and Blush and I adore them. The antelope pattern is one of my favorite things, and the gray pattern is her own artwork! Amazing. 

So, if you've been wishing for built-ins around your fireplace, or just looking for a way to fill a space, this solution is just so easy and so much less expensive than custom built-ins. Floating shelves for the win!

S H O P  T H E  P O S T

(accessories not listed most likely Home Goods/TJ Maxx finds)
Paint Color: Casual Elegance by Porter Paints
Sofa - Birch Lane
Solid Velvet Pillows - TJ Maxx | similar | similar
Patterned Throw Pillows - Laurel and Blush | similar | similar
Jute Rug - Overstock
White Rug - Overstock
Arm Chairs - available here
Patterned Velvet Pillows - Hobby Lobby
Gold Mirrored Side Table - Wayfair
Geometric Gray Vase - available here
Coffee Table - no longer available | similar | similar | similar
Gold Tray on Coffee Table - no longer available from Target | Similar
Marble Box - Similar
Marble Coasters - available here

Pedestal Side Table - no longer available from World Market | Similar
White Lamp - Home Goods | similar | similar
Bone Box - Tuesday Morning

Geometric White Chests - Available here | and here
Floating Shelves - IKEA Lack 43"
Narrow Brass Frames - CB2
Abstract Framed Paper Art - Target
Black Abstract Painting - Etsy
Hammered Brass Vase - Target
Hexagon Striped Boxes - no longer available from West Elm | similar
Black and White Inlay Frame - Tuesday Morning | similar | similar | similar
Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree - Home Goods | similar | similar | similar (or see my post on the best faux fiddle leafs here)
Round Wood Mirror - Home Goods | similar
Washed Wood Lantern - Target

Painting Above Fireplace - TJ Maxx | similar | similar | similar
Brass Lanterns on Fireplace - Home Goods but available here

Brass Floor Lamp - Target
White Side Chair - TJ Maxx | similar
White Garden Stool - available here
Blue Abstract Art - Minted

Brass Curtain Rods - Amazon
White Curtains - IKEA Ritva
Large Abstract Paper Art - available here
Acrylic Side Table - Home Goods | similar | similar


  1. Hi Courtney -everything looks so beautiful! I'm catching up on reading blogs (my joy!) with our hurricane/tropical weather --and so grateful for electricity to do so. Your style is so pretty. Have a great week :)

  2. So beautiful! I'm thinking of doing something similar, but we use our living room as a tv room and I don't know how to hide the blu ray player and cable tv "box." Suggestions?

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