Interior Design Photos on our web site

Interior Design Photos on our web site
For More Interior Design Photos: ^ Click Above ^ - Hundreds of Before & After photos

Monday, February 8, 2016

What window treatment is best for an arched window?


Do you have an arched window or a unique shaped window and you're not sure what window treatment or drape would be best? 

Window treatments that are hung above a window will draw the eye up, which actually draws more attention to the beautiful arch shape! Notice the contrast banding on the drapes, the camel and ivory color blends well with the rug and pair of chairs. 

Long drapes draw attention to the beautiful arched window
The drapes provide the option of not blocking any view
or total room darkening in this bedroom.


Below, our Greensboro NC client can still see the beautiful sky through the transom window.
Notice we followed the arch shape with the drapes, and added taupe sheers which can be opened
(and hidden behind drapes) when entertaining guests.






If you need to block the sun in the arched transom, you can add blinds or shades that are specifically made for the shape, as shown in this photo. However, if you can go with drapes they are MUCH prettier, because you can make sure you don't block any of the beautiful sky and sunshine when it's the right time of day, or you have the option of closing them with Sheers or drapes when the sun is too harsh. 
A blind for a curved window, in a half circle shape 
With curved or arched or half circle transoms, the drape looks best if it's hung at the very top of the arch. A tall drape will also make your ceilings look taller and your room will feel larger! 

For many more window treatment photos, check out this link with BEFORE and AFTER photos and window treatment solutions and styles!

http://www.interiordesigngreensboro.com/search?q=window

Thursday, February 4, 2016

How to layout a master bathroom for a remodel, corner shower or tub?

Trying to decide how to layout your bathroom for a remodel? Maybe you're wondering whether it's more important to have a large shower and no bathtub, versus a large bathtub with a small shower? Below we'll list 6 helpful questions to consider, before you begin remodeling!  We'll also show luxurious master bathroom photos for design ideas. These bathroom are bigger than some bedrooms!   
This master bathtub did not require a compromise. 
The room is so large they were still able to have a long vanity and a walk in shower. 
This luxury bathroom was based around a focal point of a large window, with a beautiful private wooded area. 


Helpful questions to decide what features are important for your bathroom remodel:

1) Do you use your current bathtub?  
If not, is it because it's too small? Or perhaps you'd like to use it, once the children are older? There's nothing quite like an Ebson Salt bath to get rid of aches and pains. A large Jacuzzi area can be a soothing oasis, with a window view, like above, or maybe a built in TV. It can be a great place to escape and rewind!

2) Does your bathroom need a focal point?  
Perhaps you want a large window to the outdoor view? What's the first thing you'll see as you enter? This should be considered for the layout. Perhaps you like symmetry?

3) Where are you willing to compromise?   
Does a larger shower mean your vanity area might be a bit crowded? Or will you have to sacrifice a nice large water closet for the toilet?  

4) Which layout will allow you to have more windows?  (more day light) 
Large windows = lots of wonderful daylight!! Lots of light is a universal request, one that's in high demand. Everyone loves a room with lots of natural light!  

5) Do you prefer privacy for shower walls? 
If so, notice how this corner shower worked great! (below) Lots of today's showers are totally open, which do you prefer?

6) Want to avoid costly plumbing issues?
If so, consider where the new plumbing would be in relation to the old plumbing. This is a great way to keep expenses down.

6) Last but certainly not least - Does the layout allow a private room for the commode?
See photo below: LEFT side door to commode. 

After Above, Before Below
Walk in shower in the corner

By turning the entrance door to the commode on an angle, 
we were able to make the room symmetrical

Here's a bathroom with the tub in the corner, which allowed separate his and her sinks on each side,
as well as a private room for the commode.


In this bathroom layout there was ample room for both a large tub (left) as well as a walk in 
This bathroom layout has a beautiful arched window and recessed niche for the large oval tub

For tips on how to update a bathroom on a budget, see this link:

http://www.interiordesigngreensboro.com/search?q=bathroom%2C+budget

Questions? Be sure to call or email us! Or, do you have a comments? Click the word comment below....

A bathroom layout is often the most most important part of the process!  It's wise to plan the layout well, to avoid any change orders.

As HGTV star Marnie Oursler of "Big Beach Builds" stated "The most expensive mistake you can make when renovating your home - or building a new one - is a choice. If you decide you want something and then change your mind, that's where it gets expensive". 

Avoid change orders, think through your layout. Once you weigh in function, style, symmetry, budgeting and resale, you can determine which things you are (and are not) willing to compromise on. Whether you want a large shower, a large tub, long counter tops or a large window, the best layout for your bathroom might just work in the space with the right planning! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

How much will an interior designer cost for my remodeling or new construction project?

If you're wondering how to calculate the cost for an interior designer for a new construction or remodeling project, we'll list some guidelines below. 

Or, maybe you're wondering if it's even necessary to hire a designer? Perhaps the builder offered a design service for free? Below we'll list the reasons many people hire an outside source, as well as the times that it is not necessary. 

You'll want to check out both the reviews and the portfolio of the DESIGNER. We're referring to a separate  portfolio & reviews from the builder. Through their personal portfolio and reviews, you can learn a good deal about the designer, such as: 

a) Years of experience.  
Experience which can help you avoid costly mistakes. The more construction projects they've done through the years, the more they've learned ways to save you from expensive "Change Orders" by avoiding issues BEFORE they occur!

b) Innovative solutions - even on a limited budget
Does their portfolio reflect clever solutions? Do their reviews state they helped clients stay within budget? Note that allowances for lighting, flooring, moldings, cabinets, etc are normally low, and very hard to stay within. You'll want a designer who is experienced at knowing which manufacturers and which sources are the best value for your money. This will keep you from going over budget in each allowance, without compromising on style and function!

c)  Will they be your best advocate?
You'll want someone who can communicate your best interests with the builder, the electrician, the carpenters who build the mantle or bookcases, and so on! For some examples, in looking at their portfolio, does the tile back splash have electrical outlets in unattractive locations? Or are the outlets hidden? Do the recessed lights in the coffered ceiling line up nicely within the moldings? Does the portfolio show amazing attention to detail, even on a limited budget?

As for how much Interior design services will cost, there's various ways designers charge for their services:
1) By the job. 
2) A retainer, such as $1,500 or more up front, with a contract
3) By the hour, which gives you freedom to hire them as needed!

A qualified designer will have reviews that express the many ways a designer actually saved client's money! Below we'll list some examples.  

 AFTER above, Before below.


A designer can help you coordinate colors, recommend correct size and scale, recommend the best stain colors, mantle styles, tiles, light fixtures, paint colors, carpet, stone, brick, shingles etc. In this 10,000+ sq ft Greensboro, NC home, we made the building process enjoyable and less time consuming! Keep in mind that oak won't accept the stain the same way maple or walnut will, so there will be a lot of "tweaking" involved to get colors and stains to compliment each other. 

1) Some designers charge an hourly fee, instead of a flat rate. 
If they don't require a contract which would lock you in, perhaps you can hire them for additional work ONLY IF YOU'RE HAPPY after the first consultation? That is, if you feel they're saving you from costly mistakes or redos! For a few examples:
  • Perhaps a room could feel more open by removing an unnecessary (no load bearing) wall?
  • Perhaps a window could be larger without affecting the exterior?
  • Maybe a fireplace wall without symmetry could easily be changed to allow the symmetrical look you love? These are all the type things that must be caught early, before they're too expensive or hard for the builder to change!

2) They'll be your best advocate. 
If they've done enough new construction or remodeling projects, they'll be your best advocate working with the builder or sub contractors to insure things go smoothly. Not sure if you need a designer? READ REVIEWS!! Reviews for a qualified designer will talk about issues they caught - early on so it's not an expensive redo.

3) They'll save you time!
You can have the designer narrow down choices for tile, light fixtures, cabinetry, hardware, stains, colors, mantles, moldings, doors, stone, brick, shingles, carpet, etc.! Or you may choose to get the designer involved for very limited things -- such as wall paint colors only. Because it can vary so much, it's wonderful if you can hire a design firm that will allow you to determine when (or if) you get them involved. One that will allow you to pay for hourly services, only when you need them.

Building or remodeling involves many more decisions than most people realize. An interior designer can catch things that are much easier to change if caught early, but would be very expensive or impossible to change later.

How much the design fees will cost depends totally on how much assistance you want. While some firms require a set minimum retainer such as $1,500 or more, other firms will charge by the hour.
If you've built several homes or remodeled homes before, you may not need a designer's assistance as much as a person who has never done so. It varies greatly from project to project.

Questions? Email us today!
Comments? We love feedback and hearing your thoughts. Click the word "comment" below...

Friday, January 29, 2016

Does every window need the same window treatment?

Do all my windows have to have drapes or the same style window treatment? Often people are concerned that they have to put the same style drape on every window. Perhaps the person who sells the custom window treatments told you this? Or perhaps you're having trouble visualizing? You're not alone on this!

Here's a couple of good questions to ask yourself:
1) Do we only need privacy on one wall?
2) Are we trying to keep a "light" (not heavy or formal) look.

It's fine to leave some windows blank, or to combine different window treatments in the same room. The more room photos you look through, the more often you'll find it's done this way!

Below we'll show designer rooms in which they only put window treatments on some of the windows, not all of them. In some cases the windows are a different shape or size, in other cases they are all the same. Either way, it can look great to mix and match, or to leave some windows bare. 
The sitting area has drapes, but more drapes would've overpowered the area where the baby grand piano is.
Roman shades were a good alternative in that section.


Below, the RIGHT window was to the screened in porch, so there was no need for privacy. On the LEFT  side (not shown), there was not a privacy need. So, the only wall that needed drapes was the main focal point wall, on each side of the fireplace, as shown.  

Now, if we hadn't pointed out the fact that we put window treatments on one wall only, you probably wouldn't even have noticed. Either way, it's totally acceptable to do what you prefer, and only cover the windows where you need light control or privacy. Once you start looking at beautiful room photos on line, you'll notice there are often rooms which have window treatments on some windows, but not others. Whether it be a roman shade, drapes, shutters, or valances, there are times when it's not necessary to put them on all the windows. And best of all - if you don't like the partial look, you can always add window treatments to the rest of the windows!! 




AFTER above, BEFORE below
In this Greensboro, NC home, the windows looked narrow on each side of the fireplace! (Before)
The windows looked much bigger after adding an outside mounted drape. 
The triple windows on the other hand, did not need drapes, it faced the screened in porch. 



The back wall has drapes, but the triple window (left side) does not have a window treatment.

The more room room photos you look at, the more combination of window treatment styles you'll see! Windows without a window treatment can look fine if it's in a room where they're only needed in certain areas.

Questions about our custom window treatments? Email us. Comments? Click the word "comment" below...

To see more before and after photos, rooms with different shaped windows, or a combination of different window treatment styles, check out this blog link! 

http://www.interiordesigngreensboro.com/search?q=window


Monday, January 25, 2016

How to furnish a game room so the entire family will enjoy it!

Do you have a basement or bonus room which would make a great game room? Do you want a room that can have fun activities for both children and adults? 

In trying to decide how to lay out the room, perhaps you're considering theater seating, a sectional, a game table, a pool table? Here, we'll pass along feedback we've heard through the years. 

6 tips to read before furnishing your basement or bonus room! 

1) Fooze ball, air hockey, pool table?  
These are all things children, teenagers and adults can enjoy. This is the feedback we hear - people often spend so much of the budget on their TV, surround sound stereo system, and theater seating that they forgot to budget for things that allow you to play games and stay active! 

If you're overwhelmed with the choices, know that the dimensions required for each table may make the decision for you. If not, then budget decisions will. A ping pong table is very inexpensive, a pool table is the priciest of all the above options.  

This pool table made the basement fun for the entire family!
2) Add color!  

This is not a space to be conservative! It's the room to go daring, fun, and cheerful! In the Greensboro, NC home, the client originally asked for a wall paint color to repaint the walls. We suggested using the budget towards colorful art instead! The walls were in great condition, and the room would've lacked personality without the addition of large colorful art. Also, a couple of pieces of art is often less expensive than labor for repainting. 

3) Comfortable seating in durable leather or fabric!

The best way to seat a large group is with a sectional. The sofa shown below is a durable leather, so teenagers can entertain without worrying about spills! A qualified designers can make recommendations about the durability of fabrics, it all boils down to the content (example rayon versus cotton etc) and the "rub factor". Manufacturers today list the rub factor after strenuous testing of fabrics.



4) Add a mini bar or kitchen!

If your bonus room or basement is a flight away from the kitchen, you'll want a closer source for snacks, ice, or cold drinks. It doesn't have to be a full kitchen, but it's handy to have a microwave, a small sink and a mini refrigerator. If your play area is a long way from the main kitchen, it's even better if you can add a small dishwasher as shown. As for the cabinets in your game room kitchen, they don't have to be the quality of your main level. It's amazing what Ikea has lately, if you're up for the task. Or, as shown below, the client thought they had to remodel the entire kitchen because the cabinets were not attractive. We solved what they didn't like for thousands less than starting over and remodeling!

This mini kitchen with bar stools makes a basement functional

5) Think about sound!

Want a place where people can cheer on their partner, play music and not worry about sound? A place children will truly enjoy? Then it's important to make sure you consider acoustic solutions.

People often remove walls at stairways to bonus rooms and basements, then tell us the rooms are too noisy to be able to relax in other areas of the home! Let's face it, you won't encourage your children to have friends over if the game room is too noisy. So, before removing walls and doors, ask yourself how noisy it will be when your children have friends over!

If you don't have the walls to help with sound control, and you're not ready to sink money into remodeling, here's 3 solutions that help reduce noise:
a) large rugs
b) window treatments (they absorb sound)
c) fabric on the walls (think padded areas inside molding)

6) Add recessed lighting in the ceiling molding!

As shown below, it's not as expensive as one would think, it can make a major impact. Also shown below is a flat screen TV in the bar area.










A play room or game room needs optimum seating, cheerful colors, sound solutions and durability. Rather than spend the entire budget on a basement or bonus room kitchen, or the theater system, make a list of all the things you'll want in the room. Whether it be a pool table, ping pong table, game table, fooze ball, any combination of these can make the room more fun! A priority list will help you keep the biggest goals in mind, so you can get those things you know you'll use the most and have fun using!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to find the right art for my space, 10 helpful design tips!


Do you get compliments on your art? Do your friends tell you "your art makes the room!" If not, know that once you find the right art it can be the touch that brings the entire space together. If it's the right size and shape, it can even make a room feel larger, and make ceilings feel taller! Below we'll share 10 interior design tips to find art that compliments your space.

Selecting art that is the right size & style is not easy! In fact, it makes shopping for rugs or furniture seem like a piece of cake!  And it's much harder to find art if you have busy rugs and fabrics!

Perhaps you've been searching for art for a long time? Do you get caught up in the question  "do I like the subject matter?"  If so - You're not alone!! That's a big reason most people don't buy art. They hold out and wait for a scene or a look they created in their mind that just doesn't exist! They imagine that hillside or pond from a fond memory. Or they find art they like but the color combination is wrong, or the price is too high. It helps to stay open minded about the style. Even more important, the 10 questions below are a helpful guide for finding the right art.

Imagine this room without the art, it's what makes the space unique!

Are you tempted to give up the search for art and do one of these?


1) Just hang a mirror -
After all, it would be easier! But you have to ask yourself, is the mirror going to reflect something beautiful? Or is it just a reflection of the dated ceiling fan, the plain ceiling, or a busy bookcase? Could the room look more interesting with color and texture? Something more unique than a mirror? Check out our blog link below, which shows rooms where we replaced a mirror with art!! It can really make an impact.

2) Hang a collage of small art or photos - 
At times a grouping or collage can end up looking like a hodgepodge. Don't get me wrong, they're great in the right spot, perhaps a hallway, or a landing of the stairs? But a collage is not the best option in a large room or a room with large furniture (such as a big sofa or large fireplace). Large art helps "balance" the size and scale of large crown moldings, furniture, and yes, even that big flat screen TV! Also, framing 3 to 5 small pieces can add up to just as much money or more versus one amazing piece of art.

3) Hang a "temporary" piece -
People often tell us they've searched for years for art they love. In the mean time, they hang "temporary" art. But if the art is too small, or too serious, or too formal. If art doesn't fit your personality, or is too serious or formal, it's best to not hang anything at all!

Tall ceilings and large rooms require large art. This canvas is 60", which in an art gallery may seem too large,
Once in the room, against the gray walls and light color sofa, the art added the impact and light colors the room needed. 

Imagine this sofa without the abstract art above it.  the colorful art adds much needed layers of colors and textures.
Contemporary art can make traditional furniture seem fresh, fun, and updated. 

To find srt, that looks great in your space, here are 10 helpful questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is it the correct Size and Scale?  - this is important. Especially if the room is big or has high ceilings!
  2. Does it convey the MOOD I want? Example, does it make the room less formal, or less traditional, more personality filled & fresh.   
  3. Shape  - Avoid a horizontal, unless you have high ceilings and a large room. Horizontal art can make the ceiling feel lower! 
  4.  Color combination - do the colors do well next to the rug? sofa? other art? Granted, the colors do not have to match the space! But do they at least compliment your fabrics, rug and other artwork? 
  5. Texture ? original art with texture is always a bonus! 
  6. Flow? Does it fight with or compete with the existing art in the room or in the adjacent room or rooms?
  7. Price - is it within my budget goals? People often think emotionally when it comes to art. They say things like "I realize it's a great piece, but I don't LOVE it, I wanted a scene with trees".  Well, that's when you have to ask yourself, am I willing to blow our entire budget on art? Am I willing to pay much more art for this one wall? Do we still need lamps, window treatments, rugs? 
  8. Picture frame? Art that is already framed will save you from expensive custom framing! Have you priced a custom frame job lately? One piece can easily be over $700 or much more if it's large art.
  9.  Unique? Example not from the local Pier One Imports or a mail order source that everyone else is using. Ask yourself, do I want to walk into a friend or neighbor's house and see the exact same piece? Or would I prefer it be a reflection of my own sense of style and taste? After all, it's probably a main focal piece!
  10. Not too busy?  Are my rugs or fabrics busy? Does this art fight with them? 
To find art for this Greensboro, NC home, we knew the two story height needed larger art.
The fireplace (left) and tumbled stone was beautiful, so we found a soothing water scene that didn't compete.
Best of all, this art came in under budget for the space!  

      Now, where to find great art? 

      - You can look at a local art gallery, though the prices will be steep! 
      - You can ask a qualified interior designer in your area. Be sure to ask if they have art in stock. It's best to see art in person, in your actual home, instead of ordering from a photo!
      - You can have it commissioned by a local artist. However, keep in mind custom means you must take it, and it can take awhile. The mood of the artist can affect the end result, and how dark it is or if it feels serious or cheerful. After all, art is subjective!

To find art for this High Point, NC home, we found a local artist.
It was a huge improvement over the before, a fresh twist for the very traditional furniture.


Modern art in a craftsmen style traditional home.

    As a design firm we search for art from local artists in Greensboro, NC and Winston Salem, NC. We also search through galleries and showrooms in LA, Vegas, Atlanta and High Point Markets. After all, art can make or break a room! 

      Are you trying to decide between art and a mirror? Or what art to put over a mantle? 

      Here's a previous blog with before and after photos! http://www.interiordesigngreensboro.com/search?q=art

Monday, January 18, 2016

How to make my rooms look sexy and contemporary without replacing the furniture?

Want your rooms to convey fun, sexy, fresh, updated, contemporary, modern, and exciting? Well you're not alone! Every week clients ask for unique exciting styles, and a home that doesn't feel like their parent's home. They tell us they want their home to be a place they love to come home to and love to entertain! And the good news is, you don't have to remodel,  or take on extensive home improvement project, or replace your furniture in order to make a big impact!  

It really is possible to give a traditional home a fresh attractive vibe with just a few quick changes! And since a picture is worth a thousand words, it's easier to SHOW you how to accomplish this with photos - which we'll do below.  And yes, you can accomplish this fresh new look even if you can't replace all your furniture. 

Here's 5 quick change design tips which help create a fun fresh look!  

1) Large abstract art!

We list this as number one because large colorful abstract art is the master for updating a room!  

When we hold up large abstract art like in the photo below, the entire "mood" of the room changes! People normally GASP when they see the impact this type of art makes. Notice how it adds much needed color and texture? This especially works if the art is a large size and scale! 

In the space below, (left of the fireplace), many people place a console table with accessories. Instead, notice how vertical art draws the eye up, to compliment the tall fireplace surround. 

Nothing updates a room faster than large abstract art 


2) A rich deep wall color. 

Perhaps you're ready for a daring wall color in at least one area of the house? This can look great on one accent wall or in a recessed niche, or on the back of your built in wall unit.   In the room below the dark gray or charcoal wall color gives the room a sexy masculine feeling. Another great place to experiment is the wall behind the bed, or the wall behind your desk in a study or home office.

A rich paint color makes for an exciting room


3) Less is more!

Perhaps you need to toss some of your existing hand me down furniture? Ask yourself, is my dresser or nightstands dragging down the style of my room? Do they reflect my taste and style? If not, edit!

Then take it a step further, is the big old fashioned lounge chair overpowering in my bedroom? Could I borrow a chair from another room? Think outside the box, and go for a "less is more" clean look!

If your goal is to have a sexy fresh updated room, perhaps all you have to do is edit! This sensuous style is the same reason we like a 5 star hotel room, with a clean contemporary look.


This bedroom feels spacious due to the built in wall shelf as a nightstand

4) Add TEXTURE!! 

Think Leather, fur, chenille, sisal, linen! If it's like the textures below, you'll want to run your fingers through them, which will instantly give a room a sexy vibe. From the sheer white drapes on the window treatment to the fur pillows and leather ottoman, this room has a metropolitan appeal. 

If you prefer not to add as many as shown below, try adding a leather ottoman (as shown), or a sisal rug, and linen sheers on the window.  If you aren't game for a fur pillow, perhaps once you run your toes through one you'll be willing to have a fur Rug beside the bed!  See fur rug below. 


The faux fur, leather, white linen and soft rug add much needed textures to an otherwise bland room

A fur rug or leather hide feel great on bare feet. Notice the
personality it adds to make this bedroom more unique and fun!
5) A sexy light fixture!

This is important in the bedroom, and even in the living room. The room below could've felt country cottage, but with this stunning light fixture, it's instantly fun and  unique. And, sorry to be repetitive, but once again - notice abstract art adds to the fresh updated vibe.

Nothing dates a room faster than leaving the original chandelier or ceiling fan the builder used. The original chandelier was probably not the best pick, because when building a new home, the lighting selections are often about staying within the lighting allowance!


A sexy fun light fixture is an unexpected touch 

Maybe you feel like your sofa, bed, dining table or other pieces are too "expected" or too traditional for your current taste? Maybe you want a fun exciting look, but don't want it to look like a bachelor pad? You can try any combination of the above 5 steps, and we're confident you'll see a huge improvement. And if you're only willing to try a couple of them, know that #1 and #3 are pretty much non negotiable for a fresh exciting look.

For more rooms photos of unique art and colors, see this link:

http://www.interiordesigngreensboro.com/search?q=art

If you want to instantly create an exciting style without replacing your traditional furniture, try any combination of these 5 design tips.  Abstract art, light fixtures, texture, and a unique wall colors can transform a room from serious to sexy instantly!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Best designs tips to build a bookshelf or built in wall unit, 6 must read tips!

A bookshelf can look amazing, if you plan well before you build it. A built in bookcase is often in a room you spend a lot of time in, so you'll want to enjoy looking at them! There are several things that people tell us they love, each of which has to be done before you start construction.  

Before doing photos shoots with magazines, we used to ask ourselves, what if they point the camera towards the built in cabinets? Is that wall unit up to par? Or what if they zoom in on the bookshelves? Does it look artistic and fresh? Or does it look like an after thought? 

Here's 6 tips for construction of built in shelving or book cases so you'll get the look you want!

1) Add electrical wiring for lights!
Now is the time, it's much easier to do now than after the built ins are finshed. Base the location of the wiring on the location of the bookcase lights, either a or b. 
 a) Inside mount. meaning recessed can lights with glass shelves which allow the light to shine all the way down to the bottom shelf.  
b) Outside mount, per the photo. Notice the lights above the bookcase. 


2) Build the bookcase or built in shelving around an interior door, window or french doors. 

Notice how this surround shelving blends into the architecture? It looks as if it was always there.  If you don't have a good spot to build a surround with windows or doorways, consider a "niche surround" for your sofa, like this photo. 


bookcase surrounding the sofa, this creates a cozy niche for the sofa 

BEFORE below

2) Remove some shelves!!

People normally put far too many shelves, more than they need. Unless you have a LOT of books, you can probably cut your first thought for shelves in half! Notice above, we left larger openings between shelves....so larger, higher quality accessories can be on display. Perhaps your built in bookcases were already built? If the builder left lots of shelves, you certainly don't have to keep it that way. By removing shelves you open up possibilities for larger items!

Darker paint on the back wall of this bookcase helped tremendously!
It's much warmer than a big stark white bookshelf!
4) Paint the background of your wall unit a darker color! (see above)

5) Put wallpaper or mercury mirrors on the back of your built in shelves.

We've done this inside the back wall of a hutch, a breakfront, and other furniture that felt too dark. It's a great way to fix a piece of furniture when you aren't willing to paint over that expensive wood! You can inserted upholstered thin boards, which can be removed.

6) Go floor to ceiling, instead of doors on the bottom half. 

This is helpful if you have lots of books. If you plan to put hundreds of books in your built in shelving, it's nice when the shelving surrounds a door, window, or niche for other furniture, like in the photo below.  No matter what you put in the shelves this room would be beautiful!

Built in shelves with books on display look great next to this bay window and baby grand piano
Bookshelves and built in shelving units can be pretty, or they can be an eye sore. Take a photo of your wall and and make several copies to sketch patterns - if you prefer to avoid a CAD program. Or, enlist a professional plan from your woodworker or designer. Your bookshelf may need a different color paint on the back wall, it may need less shelves than you originally thought, or it may need to be on a wall that allows you to wrap it around a door or window. Have fun with your built in plan, and make sure you love the style before you build it!

Have a tip of your own? Click the word "comment" below!