Good Questions: What To Do With My High Shelves?

(Note: Include a pic of your problem and your question gets posted first.)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Hello AT,

Having recently relocated from Cambridge to a small hovel in nyc, and edited my existence down to the bare minimum, I find I am now in a decorating bind.

As you see from my amateurish photos, I have some fabulous built-in shelving in my studio. Which as a renter, I cannot paint, so instead I lined them with acid-free paper. Now due to my lacking both height and a ladder, I have not been able to do the same with those top shelves.

So what’s a girl to do?

So – here are the rules:
1. Aiming for minimalism
2. Suggestions must be renter friendly
3. I am a graduate student, thus poor.

If all else fails…. stepladder suggestions?

Thanks!, Lauren

ps: I include one other bad picture of the other side of my small studio. Any and all decorating suggestions appreciated. I feel the apartment needs something… orange? (and definitely some art and some plants…. I’m working on it!)

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Dear Lauren, Kudos for sending great pics! First of all, you DEFINITELY need a stepladder (here’s a really nice, lightweight and slim one that will get you up there).

What you have done is SO nice, it is killing us that you haven’t finished it. Get those paper squares up there and then spread your books and vases out along the shelves so that there is more balance and breathing room. Don’t worry if you don’t put anything on the top shelves.

Also, since this is not only storage but a big visual element of your home, arrange the shelves better.

Collect heavier objects on the bottom shelves and carry similar objects from left to right along the same shelf line. For instance, you should have your boxes on the lower right and then your books running from left to right along the middle shelf. A few light vases can be higher up. For art, center it on the shelf so that attention is drawn to it. Pretend your merchandising the window display at Crate and Barrel and make it lover-ly…..

We would also recommend putting down a rug to cover your floor and getting some green into your window, either outside, inside or both.

As far as the rest goes, it’s a juicy little project you have ahead of you and your apartment looks like a perfect blank slate. Others jump in….. MGR