Decorating our New Living Room Built-In Shelves

Over the last few months, we’ve been slowly tweaking our living room space. I’ve shared one half of the room in this blog post, but now I’m showing you the other side! The room is in the very front of our house, with a big window and connected to our guest room (our former bedroom) via wooden pocket doors. Nothing was ‘wrong’ with the space, but I just had been itching for a change. The biggest decor updates we made were swapping out a bulky couch and ottoman set for a pretty curved sofa and changing the lighting. We previously had a brass sputnik chandelier in here, which I loved, but it didn’t provide the same visual impact that our new one does! The new sofa’s curved lines contrast the sharper corners of the room and I  just love it! On either side of the fireplace was just sort of wasted space. The left side has a large window and the right side had a large indented area that was just…empty. It was perfect for our Christmas tree, but of course, that’s not a year-round thing! Usually we kept this peacock chair with tall plants in the corner to add some visual interest and height, but no one ever sat in it, so it wasn’t very practical.

More recently, I  had the idea to have Eric build custom built-in shelves with a bench and cabinets into the right side nook, and a bench area on the left side. WILL YOU LOOK AT THIS!!!! The shelves add visual interest and height to offset the tall ceilings and fireplace, and the cabinets underneath (as well as the window seat on the other side) provide always-appreciated storage! I  am obsessed with how they turned out.

Here is a blog post showing Eric’s step-by-step building process for making my built-in dreams come true!


This isn’t a BAD before or anything! Just wanted to how a few ways we tried to utilize this awkward corner space (which is even larger than it appears!) before the built-in shelving. We tried adding plants, swapping different chairs and lamps, and more. I  don’t think it looked bad — but it just isn’t at all as functional and beautiful as it is now.


We swap the rug out here pretty regularly just because we have a lot and it’s a fairly easy way to switch up the look and feel of a room. We also added this Black Three Arm Ceiling Lamp (here’s another similar version) which I  think gives a nice ‘wow factor’ and visually draws your eye up. In terms of the built-ins, we decided on three floating-style shelves with a cabinet underneath. We ordered custom cabinet doors from Fast Cabinet Doors, which were painted the same color as the shelves (and all other trim on our downstairs level – Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore in semi-gloss). On the left side under the window, E built a simple bench which acts as a perfect spot for Jack to spy on the neighbor’s couch, and a makeshift side table. The top of the bench opens so we can store more things (like throw blankets!) inside.

One thing that really made everything come together was the throw pillows! I obviously swap pillows out in our house all the time (thanks to my textile shop!),  and recently swapped in these Tonic Living pillows. They have so many gorgeous pillow covers and THE best, fluffiest, fullest inserts. Trust me – I  have a million inserts and these are by far the very best. We have a lot of Tonic Living pillows, and also custom cushions for our kitchen breakfast nook AND our upstairs window nook. I LOVE the way the colors and textures from these pillows make the whole area feel a little more cohesive and really ‘go’ with our fireplace tile and rug choice. I just love them!

On the window bench, we have the Taryn 22×22 Pillow in Natural paired with the Saro 22×22 Pillow in Sisal . Directly in front of the bench on the accent chair, we have the smaller Misto Stripe 12×24 Lumbar Pillow in Cream & Black. On the right side of the fireplace below the built-in shelves, from left to right, we have the Hyden Stripe Lumbar 14×20 Pillow in Lake Blue with two larger 22×22 Pillows next to it — the Satori Stripe 22×22 Pillow in Seaside and the Marklin Stripe 22×22 Pillow in Seaglass. I am so happy with the way they look!


Black Three Arm Ceiling Lamp (and another similar version)

Blueish Rug

Pillows: Saro, Taryn, Misto Stripe, Hyden Stripe, Satori Stripe, Marklin Stripe

Art Print

Jug Vase

Striped Planter

Coffee Table Books shared in THIS POST!


How-to: Custom Built-In Shelves 

Living Room Corner Refresh

Shop Our Home

Before & After and DIY: Upstairs Window Nook

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