Before and After: Traditional bookshelves get a fresh update

Posted in Blog, Room Sources, Tips, Projects & DIYs
on May 30, 2016
Styling Bookshelves

Meet the Shpunts!

How cute are they? Danielle and Jeff bought their dream home not too long ago. Ready for this story? The house was his grandparents’! What’s better than keeping it in the family? The two of them are in the process of revitalizing it and creating their own style with their 2 year-old son, Luke. They’ve rolled up their sleeves and done a ton of so far, like this beautiful powder room makeover:

Jeff Danielle and Luke  PowderRoom

[I die for the wallpaper! You can buy it here]

I was thrilled to give their family room built-ins a makeover

What a fun project they had in store. An entire wall of the room is made up of bookshelves–don’t you wish you had them to play with in your house? I do. Anyway, when they moved in, the shelves were stained dark wood which was closing in the room.

Bookshelves before they bought the house:


Bookshelves Before

Danielle quickly decided to paint the shelves and paneling to brighten up the space and make it feel more current. I love her choice of the pale blue with white trim. [The blue is Half Sea Fog by Behr.]


Bookshelves after they moved in:


Make your shelves as unique as you!

They had a couple of rules before we got started

  1. The bottom two shelves needed to be Luke-safe! Being the adventurous little boy that he is, he likes to play with anything he can reach. And being the smart parents that they are, capitalized on this by putting all of his books along the bottom shelf. I loved that! So that was something they wanted to maintain during this makeover.
  2. The metal sign needed to remain a focal point. Danielle’s a huge “Fixer Upper” fan and purchased that gorgeous sign on the mantle from Magnolia. The saying is perfect and the sign means a lot to them so I knew that should still be a big focal point of the room.
  3. No more painting would be done. They wanted to keep the integrity of the original brick and mantle.

Before we headed out, I had Danielle choose a few of her favorite existing pieces from her house. She grabbed some sparkle–a crystal and stone coaster, a little touch of shine–copper which belonged to her husband’s grandparents and some earthy— hand made pottery.  Over all the palette was neutral and she wanted to incorporate family photos and greenery. Easy peasy!Make your shelves as unique as you!

After a couple of hours at HomeGoods, we had collected a gorgeous array of accessories, prints, and faux plants. We laid everything out to see how it was working together and edited from there. Before we headed home, we stopped by the Christmas Tree Shop to find a few affordable pieces to fill any holes in our list.


[Identical salt lamp here]

While we were out, her husband Jeff was rearranging the shelves for us. I had asked him to remove a couple of them and shift one or two. I did this because, when we started each shelf was equidistant apart. It created a bit of a design challenge because I could only pick items that were 10 inches or shorter.. that would have created a really ‘bitty’ look. With the heights varied a little, we had plenty of height variations to play with.


Bookshelves after our makeover:

Before and after: A traditional family room gets a fresh update

Make your shelves as unique as you!

Over a glass of wine (maybe two) I started arranging and rearranging her new and old treasures.
It came together pretty quickly because every piece was so thought out at the store.

We made sure to keep focus on a cohesive look so that we didn’t come back with a hodgepodge of things that didn’t work together.


Personal touches

Make your shelves as unique as you!

It was important that we use sentimental pieces that they already owned and loved in order to make the space feel like them.

Personal touches are what create an authentic living space and look. The photos bring them joy, so we kept them. We just re-framed them to give them all a more unified look that fit into the style of the shelves. The beautiful ceramic urn belonged to Danielle’s grandmother so I wanted to make sure it had it’s own moment on the shelves. I put it up top next her to her favorite wedding photo.


Make your shelves as unique as you!

Jeff’s grandparent’s were proudly displayed on the mantle and I thought it would be really nice to keep them there, but to make it more of a statement. So I chose a larger frame with a generous mat. I happily placed them back on the mantle with this sweet duck that belonged to them and is a nice nod to their New England roots.

Before and After: A traditional family room gets a fresh update


Aside from being nice to look at, we grabbed a few baskets because they could hide away things that needed to be in the room, but that they didn’t want to look at all the time. So the lidded basket holds all the TV remotes along with other odds and ends. The chicken wire basket on the bottom shelf holds miscellaneous toys for Luke that are easy access.

These kinds of pieces are so important to have in your home. They provide a place for things to go so you don’t lose them and they make quick clean ups possible.

Make your shelves as unique as you!

[Similar chicken wire basket available here]

Last minute guests would never know you stashed things away in five minutes into baskets or boxes. I also created a mail station on the other side of the room, by the door. It’s where they enter the house most of the time and needed a little landing station. So there’s a wood box for mail and keys that hides it away from guests, but is totally purposeful.

Styles she loves: Farmhouse, Coastal, Vintage & Glam

What a great combo! Can you see touches of that in the items we picked? I definitely can.

Make your shelves as unique as you!


Here’s that beautiful Magnolia sign! She was begging me to put her in front of that sky blue paneling. She stood out so much more there! I loved layering some greenery in front of her and picking up on the shine by displaying more copper and some colored glass. I also went a little gaga over this vintage camera. Danielle gifted it to Jeff to have in his office (thanks for letting me hijack it, Jeff!)Make your shelves as unique as you!

[Similar faux plant available here]

I was stunned to find this sweet cloche at the Christmas Tree shop! [similar option here] It’s so classic and pretty, I think it looks much more expensive than it was. This vignette on the mantle feels soothing and timeless to me. The geode shadow box was a fantastic clearance find at HomeGoods. (Do you remember what I said about shopping clearance? If not, read this post)

Make your shelves as unique as you!

The strategy for the mantle


This room doesn’t get a lot of light. And, when taking in the walls as a whole, the two bookshelves were feeling disconnected by the dark center of the brick.

Make your shelves as unique as you!


Bounce light around by adding a mirror. Unify the bookshelves by choosing one with a light colored frame. It would double the amount of natural light in the family room without spending too much and would give the room a fresh feel.

See the difference?
Make your shelves as unique as you!

This giant mirror was at HomeGoods for only $35! The white washed frame lent itself to the coastal-farmhouse vibe that she was looking for.

Make your shelves as unique as you!

The best part of this makeover is that they got a completely new and fresh look for their space but for a totally affordable price. We shopped smart and only picked out items that they absolutely loved. No wasted funds. She got the complete look for under $300!

What do you think?

Before and After Bookshelves

Did we pull off a ‘Farmhouse, Coastal, Vintage, Glam’ feeling in the bookshelves? 😉Before and After: A traditional family room gets a fresh update

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know your favorite place to shop for home accessories like these ones in the comments below and don’t forget to share this with your friends 🙂

Stay in touch!

Like Indigo & Honey on Facebook!  Follow Indigo & Honey on Pinterest!  Follow @indigoandhoney on Instagram!Love, Brittany

Click to subscribeDid you like these decorating ideas? Check out my other home decor posts by clicking the image below:

Spring Refresh by Indigo and Honey

And for more tips on styling bookshelves, click the image below to read a fantastic post on My Sunset Avenue!








How to survive planning your first summer party
Get a new look for free!


  • Layla

    I was just going to comment on how beautiful this came and how you picked all the same things i love and then i saw you linked my post!☺️ You’re just the sweetest. Youre friends are lucky to have you…the bookshelves turned out amazing and the gorgeous blue color she had picked really makes everything pop!

    May 30, 2016 at 9:46 pm Reply
    • Brittany

      I got your back, girl! Thanks for the sweet comment 🙂

      May 31, 2016 at 5:20 pm Reply
  • Jessica

    Great job Brit!!! So many treasures in one spot! Love how they turned out!

    May 31, 2016 at 9:46 am Reply
    • Brittany

      Thanks so much Jessica! I’m so glad they’re happy with them too 🙂

      May 31, 2016 at 5:21 pm Reply
  • Carol Tyrer

    This is gorgeous! I really think the new paint colors were a perfect backdrop to the items chosen for the redo. You opened up the room and its looks so elegant!

    June 1, 2016 at 4:51 am Reply
  • Susanne

    It turned out fantastic!!! Much less clutter and styled beautifully!!

    June 8, 2016 at 9:26 pm Reply
    • Brittany

      Thanks so much Susanne!

      June 11, 2016 at 8:08 am Reply

    Leave a Reply

    You may also like