Make a basic shelf unit the starring storage solution in your home. Then, jazz them up with lively pattern and colorful accents to give your room a new look in just one weekend.

Blue bookshelves overall

Add subtle pattern to your plain shelf  with a blue-on-white chevron design. Remove backs of the bookshelves and lay flat. Apply 2 coats of off-white paint to each panel, letting dry between coats. Spray the back of the stencil with stencil adhesive and apply, lining it up with the top of the panel. Smooth the stencil and press.

Pour blue paint into a mini roller tray, saturate the roller, and roll off the excess paint onto a stack of paper towels. Using light pressure, apply the paint to the stencil.

Remove and let paint dry.

Move the stencil to the repeat position and apply a row of stencils horizontally across the entire panel. Stencil row by row to the bottom.

Wine rack on shelf

Consider a wine-rack magazine holder. Depending on your style, go with iron scrollwork, an earthy natural wood, or a contemporary metal hexagon. Whatever you choose, you’ll find rolled-up magazines or catalogues are a perfect fit.

Fabric boxes

Layer pretty fabric-covered boxes on shelves to add pattern on many levels.

Hinged storage box

Try a mix of boxes with hinges, lids, and drawers. Label those that are in frequent use.

Trio of succulents

Add an extra small ledge for visual variety. Group decorative accents like these whimsical sea-urchin-potted succulents in displays of three or five.

Fabric magazine holders

Upright magazine holders, which come in a wide variety of materials from printed or fabric-covered cardboard to pierced metal, work well as storage for notebooks, novels, mail, and stationery, too.

Orange bookshelves overall

Bring a touch of the exotic to a plain bookshelf with a classic overall Moroccan pattern. Prepare the shelf panels as noted for the chevron pattern above.

Pour a small amount of orange paint onto a paper plate. Pick up a scant amount of paint on the tips of the bristles of a large stencil brush.

Dab off the excess and apply the paint onto the stencil openings using an up-and-down pouncing motion.

Remove the stencil and let dry.

Continue to stencil the entire panel following the directions for the chevron stencil. Let dry.

File and magazine holders

Books rest inside file and magazine holders and baskets that provide subtle pattern and bright hues. Paint the bottom half of a basket for more color. If your holders are laser-cut metal or metal mesh like these, add magnetic hooks to give them double duty as key ring storage.

Storage boxes and drawers

Dual drawer sets and brightly-colored boxes keep papers, photos, or correspondence out of sight but organized and within easy reach.

Wire rack memo board

Make the most of your space with a barely-there memo board made from a wire rack and magnets. Display a unique collection in front—group the items for visual impact.

Wire basket on shelf

Vary your shelf heights to create room for vertical elements, whether wrapping paper rolls, drawings, or collectible maps. Find an attractive waste can or wire basket for tall items.

Styling by Abigail Twombly
Photography by Chris Hennessey

© Caruth Studio

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