9 Easy Projects to Upgrade Open Shelving

9 Easy Projects to Upgrade Open Shelving

Taryn Williford
Sep 5, 2013

Too often, function prevails over aesthetics, especially in hardworking rooms like the home office and kitchen. Many people turn to inexpensive hardware store open shelving to maximize storage and minimize cost. But affordable, basic shelving doesn't have to be boring; think of them as a blank canvas waiting to be dipped, gilded, and adorned with beautiful collections.

Here's a handful of various decorative and detailing projects from around the web that add style, color and a little bit of luxury to basic shelves.

  • Leather Strap Details: (Photos 1 & 2) Throw out the brackets and hang planks from cowhide. Whether it's an old weathered belt or faux and freshly cut, a strip of leather gives some style to a plain wood or white shelf. Claire Zinnecker of Camille Styles used new tan hide to hang this whitebood board. Aileen of At Home in Love did the same with belt straps.

  • Painted Edges: Claire's and Aileen's projects have something else in common. Both chose to add a little sparkle to natural wood shelves with gold-painted edges. Tone-on-tone is a subtle tip, but bright accents work just as well, like these neon pink edges on white shelves in Silke Neumann's flat, (Photo 3) featured on Freunde von Freunden.

  • Taped Edges: (Photo 4) For a little less commitment, tape the edges of shelves with colorful masking tape or patterned washi tape, like Lela did in her kitchen on Vorstellung von Schön.

  • Dip-Dyed Accents: (Photo 5) Untreated wood soaks up dye like a sponge. Inexpensive raw shelves are ripe for dip-dye makeovers, like these pink-dipped shadow boxes on Whimsey Box.

  • Painted Hardware: (Photo 6) Upgrade basic hardware with a pop of color. Amy of Eat, Sleep, Decorate gave Home Depot shelf hardware a metallic finish in her closet.

  • Gold-Edged Books: (Photo 7) The things on the shelf are as important as the shelf itself. Adorn books with gold-leaf pages to instantly elevate an office library. A Creative Day shows us how it's done.

  • Re-Styled Book Spines: (Photo 8) Some books are less photogenic than others. Give reference books or other neccessary reads a temporary makeover for a better styled bookshelf. Jen from Day by Daily popped up on Poppy Haus to show off this taped book spines project.

  • A Branch Rail: (Photo 9) Add an extra spot for accessories by quickly tucking a branch, dowel or pipe from shelf brackets, like in this photo from Martha Stewart. Hang scissors and other tools from the rail with a few oversized S-hooks (like these from IKEA's GRUNDTAL line).

  • Monochromatic Knick-Knacks: (Photos 10 & 11) Shelves feeling cluttered? Streamline accent pieces by giving the lot of them a coat in a single hue of spraypaint. Everything from plastic toy animals (this tiger from Hello Home) to a drawing figurine (on Fabric Paper Glue) look put-together when matched up in gilded gold.

(Images: As linked above)

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