Chelsea Handler’s Modular Bookshelf Isn’t Your Average IKEA Buy

published Apr 26, 2021
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In an era where contemporary IKEA-style shelving systems reign supreme, it’s a nice surprise when you see vintage, one-of-a-kind units housing books and display items. And that’s what Chelsea Handler gifted the world this week.

As part of her recent spotlight in WSJ Magazine’s “My Monday Morning” series, Handler was photographed in front of her massive mid-century style George Nelson modular shelving unit, which she reportedly bought at auction.

These huge Nelson pieces often come with built-in cabinets, lights, drawer systems, and other features that are useful while adding character to the space. And each one is fabulously simple, timeless, and about as functional as a shelving unit can get. In true mid-century style, Nelson’s designs are created with various wood finishes and metallic accents.

Although you can find George Nelson pieces here and there online, at vintage shops, and at auction, they’re often priced well into the thousands. But contemporary brands have hopped on the George Nelson train and are producing replica pieces that offer just as much interest and storage.

This mid-century inspired unit from West Elm is built with sustainable materials and features that iconic shape that screams Nelson.

This bookshelf by OpenDesk has that Scandinavian feel with its light wood finish and 90-degree angles and is lightweight enough that it can be moved from room to room if you love a good decor change.

The Modular – Industrial Storage unit from West Elm is completely customizable and starts at under $600.

Sure, your modular shelf unit could blend in. But if it has a great design, then it should absolutely be flaunted.