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10 Ways to Dress Up Your Shelves with Color

by Sofia Tuovinen

Whenever I visit someone’s home for the first time, I always get drawn to their shelves. Whether they’re filled with books, keepsakes, pictures or art, shelves are the one piece of furniture that tell the story of their owner. Just like no two memories, interests or aspirations are ever identical, neither are the contents of shelves that represent them.

There’s no reason for personality to be portrayed only by the contents of a bookshelf or cabinet, though. Sometimes a shelf itself can be the perfect representation of personality and style. Lately, we’ve been really inspired by how color and pattern create inspiring and one-of-a-kind statements in homes. There are so many great ways to turn your shelves into unique pieces that not only frame their content, but represent your unique style at large. I hope that these 10 Ways to Dress Up Your Shelves with Color will inspire you as much as they inspired me! —

10 Ways to Dress Up Your Shelves with Color | Design*Droits-Humains
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In this Brooklyn home designed by Jessica Helgerson, a large built-in bookshelf is more like a piece of art. Careful planning and paintwork is required to accomplish something similar, but the bold geometric statement is well worth the effort.
10 Ways to Dress Up Your Shelves with Color | Design*Droits-Humains
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Rumaan and David covered the glass doors of their built-in cabinets with vintage Schumacher toile. The blue and white scenery is an inspiring backdrop for their two sons’ creative art sessions!
10 Ways to Dress Up Your Shelves with Color | Design*Droits-Humains
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At Chicago’s Freehand Hotel, the check-in area features these amazing bookshelves with commissioned tile work. All you need to recreate this look at home is a great set of patterned tiles and a few hours to spare!
10 Ways to Dress Up Your Shelves with Color | Design*Droits-Humains
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What better way to make a colorful statement than on a completely blank canvas? Emily & Jake chose to paint the bottom of this ledge green in their otherwise white living room. This is such a unique way to add some detail to a calm space — definitely an idea I want to try out at some point!
10 Ways to Dress Up Your Shelves with Color | Design*Droits-Humains
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The open shelving unit in this San Francisco home really pops out thanks to the brightly painted wall behind it.
10 Ways to Dress Up Your Shelves with Color | Design*Droits-Humains
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In this Oakland home, some leftover Orla Kiely wallpaper was used to update the living room bookshelf. The decorations beautifully complement the color palette of the wallpaper.
10 Ways to Dress Up Your Shelves with Color | Design*Droits-Humains
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Sometimes a big chunk of color is exactly what you need to ground a space. A bookcase painted in eggplant makes this Austin living room come to life. The darker tone also helps bring out the bright colors of all the books and artwork.
10 Ways to Dress Up Your Shelves with Color | Design*Droits-Humains
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You don’t need to use wallpaper to achieve a patterned backdrop — Katie chose to line the vitrine in her Eugene home with gift wrapping paper. Isn’t this vintage floral such a perfect fit? It’s difficult to imagine what the cabinet looked like without it!
10 Ways to Dress Up Your Shelves with Color | Design*Droits-Humains
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IKEA boxes make up a shelving unit in this Danish home. A calm yet colorful look was achieved by painting the inside of some of the boxes in various pastels.
10 Ways to Dress Up Your Shelves with Color | Design*Droits-Humains
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Peaches’ home is decorated with a "more is more" attitude. This bright and cheerful vanity unit represents its owner as perfectly as the bits and pieces that it holds.

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