Before & After: Rubina's Sophisticated Mini Library Makeover

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After Rubina customized her IKEA Billy bookshelves the first time, they just sort of sat there, half empty. There was something about them that just wasn't working, but Rubina didn't quite know what it was. A realization about the patterned paper led to a new creative fix — and a clever customization detail that turned these bland bookshelves to something simple and sophisticated, the perfect backdrop for books and accessories!

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When Rubina first tackled creating a mini office and library in a small apartment, she looked to IKEA with a little customization:

I’ve lived in many small Chicago apartments over the years so I’ve learned how to maximize the use of every square inch, which is what led me to build this workstation and storage combination. The bookshelves are the BILLY bookshelf from IKEA and for the desk area, I had a piece of wood cut to size at my local hardware store and stained it a dark walnut color to contrast against the white bookshelves. I secured the desk to wall with heavy duty brackets to make sure there’s no danger of my laptop coming crashing down. To give the shelves a more customized look, I added some intricately patterned paper to the back of the bookcases.

But the end result wasn't inspiring enough. So she decided to update the look to add a little bit more sophistication and drama to the area:

I re-covered the backing with plain black matte paper for a classic look. To keep them from looking like any old IKEA shelves, I used black Washi tape on the front of each shelf to dress them up a bit. Like I said, storage, storage, storage is a mantra that I constantly chant whenever completing any major home decor project so I made sure to include several baskets when styling my bookshelves for all those odds and ends that become clutter in the rest of my living room. I picked out a couple accent colors — blue and orange — to pop against the black background and then layered in metallic pieces and a few rustic wood-toned pieces to create a more interesting display.

See more of this bookshelf reveal on Rubina's website.

Thank you Rubina!

(Image credits: Rubina)

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Adrienne photographs beautiful homes in and around her home base of Austin, Texas. She's a contributor to UPPERCASE Magazine and spends all her free time exploring small town Texas. She watches a lot of Star Trek.

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