Shelves, Brackets, and My Secret Weapon for Shelf Styling- One Room Challenge Week 3 - Pretty Real

Shelves, Brackets, and My Secret Weapon for Shelf Styling- One Room Challenge Week 3

6:13 PM

DIY desk and DIY shelves in progress
Between my kids wrapping up school (this last week of remote learning has been as tough as the first!), traveling (we're at the beach!), and general busy-ness, I can't say I have much progress to share with the One Room Challenge. But I didn't want to totally ignore the fact that I owe you an update on our kid-friendly office nook, so here it is! Keep reading to see where we landed on the shelves, the brackets we're considering, and my secret weapon for shelf styling.

About the Shelves:

Remember when I discussed the multiple options we were considering for the shelves? Well, we decided we'd make one last attempt at the lumber yard before going the IKEA route or the pine route. I also relaxed my standards. I didn't want to settle on depth (10 inches minimum!) but decided they did not have to be wall to wall. Finding shelving 104 inches wide was proving to be extremely difficult! So we made one more attempt and.....we found multiple pieces of oak that would work! We ended up finding enough wood at about 98 inches long that we could combine to make 2 shelves as wide as we wanted, up to 98 inches, and 12 inches deep. The 12 inches deep was a last-minute decision since there were ample boards to choose from but I now wonder if that will protrude from the wall too far. What do you think?

long white oak boards to use for DIY shelves

Close up of white oak for DIY shelves

When we return home, we'll start the process of joining the two pieces of wood together to make the shelf and I promise to take photos so I can offer you a tutorial!

Meanwhile I'm looking for brackets. The lumber yard almost had enough of the 8/4 wood for the floating look, but not quite. :/ Here are my favorite options. Which is your favorite?

A round up of DIY shelf bracket options

From Left to Right:

My Secret Weapon for Shelf Styling

Here's the deal- filling shelves takes time. If you don't want your shelves to look like a model home, I don't recommend filling your McGee and Co cart with objects. Yes, it looks beautiful, but it doesn't necessarily tell a story or reflect your personality, especially if you're like me and are heavily influenced by Instagram. Is it me, or is every shelf starting to look the same?! But what about when you don't want to take months or years to "tell a story?" Obviously...YOU GO THRIFTING. I mean, really, what did you think I was going to say? ha! It's such an easy way to fill shelves with objects that appear collected and maybe it's just that I love thrifting or that I'm a bit of a cheapskate but I find something that catches your eye in a thrift store often relates to a story, an experience, a collection, or something about YOU. If you've never gone thrifting, I dare you to try it! Here are a few tips (specific to styling shelves!) to get you started.

Tips for Thrifting Specifically for Shelf Styling

1. Look at shapes, not colors. Many items can be easily spray painted so if you don't like the color, but the shape is modern or classic, go for it! Spray painting can literally take 15 minutes and $5 so it's worth it.

2. Always peruse the woven items- baskets, bins, etc. Woven items go with almost any style- traditional, classic, boho, modern, coastal, etc. And texture just looks so good on bookshelves!
Open shelves styled with thrifted finds

3. Other hot buys at a thrift store- pottery, brass items, and heavy stoneware. It just doesn't age the same way other decorative objects do. 

HOT TIP about brass- if a magnet sticks to it, it's not real/full brass. Another tip: items that are already metal, look better spray-painted "metal." In other words, plastic that's been painted "gold" can sometimes look fake while a silver or iron or brass plated object looks more authentic with a fresh coat of metallic spray paint. 

4. When looking at books, I look at several factors: Is it a classic? Is it vintage? Is it a color I like? Is it a title I want in my collection? 

HOT TIP: Take the jacket off and see what the cloth cover has to offer! Also, remember you can always face the books backward (controversial, I know!) if you're into that look.
shelves styled for a kid's room

Well, that's it! Bonus- head over to my stories to see some of the items that didn't make it into my cart the last time I thrifting. (I always have regrets!). 

Here's an updated to-do list. I'm not moving as fast as I'd like! 

Install Paneling

Pick a paint color and Paint

Choose Wood for a Floating Desk

Install Floating Desk

Figure out outlets/install

Choose wood for shelves
     -potentially paint shelves

Install shelves
     -potentially choose shelf brackets

Choose Chairs

Add a runner - I got this one and I LOVE it and it's $40 less than I paid for it right now!

Purchase Office Accessories

Style the shelves

Check out week 1 here and week 2 here! And don't forget that you can subscribe (scroll all the way to the bottom) to get updates right in your inbox!

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  1. I'm a sucker for a good shelfie so I for one cannot wait to see these bad boys installed and decorated! Great tips also! My design still is pretty similar.

  2. Love all your tips for styling — and having seen your finished shelves in the office nook, I can see you give great advice and have a great eye!!! You knocked it out of the park!