Personalized Shelving Solutions

This month as we focus on furniture, we've seen a number of run-of-the-mill furnishings go from ho-hum to awesome. Shelving and storage units are among the easiest items to transform. Often it takes just a little fabric or decorative paper to give an old storage piece a new life, no professional skills or power tools required.• Add a picture! Karen Kearns' fabulous Charleston home has some of the most attractive and efficient storage ideas to date, but my favorite is the storage cubbies she created for her kids. Rather than written tags, Karen hit two birds with one stone — picture frame and storage in one— using their portraits to label their individual storage spaces which are in the main area of the house. To recreate the look, affix lightweight picture frames to cabinet fronts with liquid nails (paint the frame the same color and finish as the cabinet to make it look like raised paneling), or use a decoupage medium such as mod podge to adhere the picture directly to the cabinet. I could also see a plexiglass sleeve on the front of the cabinet working well for easy-to-change picture displays.

• Upholster the back. DIY king,Eddie Ross, used foam core panels and fabric to transform a plain IKEA Billy bookcase into a showstopper. Check out his full instructions on his blog.

• Wallpaper the shelf. No need to reserve the pattern for the walls, wrap floating shelves or cabinet doors in your favorite paper to make them pop. For extra protection you can spray them with an acrylic top coat or brush them with mod podge.

• Wallpaper the doors. Tape decorative paper to the inside of glass cabinets to conceal unsightly contents.

• Add a shade or a skirt. Open storage isn't for everyone. Fashion a favorite piece of fabric into a roman shade or table-skirt inspired covering to conceal necessities in style.

Images: 1: Charleston Mag, 2: Eddie Ross, 3: Martha Stewart, 4: Kristina Klarin via Apartment Therapy, 5, 6: Southern Living, 7: Cottage Living

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