DIY Bookshelf & Decorating | Home Office Decor Ideas

July 08, 2018

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Becoming a homeowner means drowning yourself in never-ending home (improvement) projects... from selecting paint colors (especially when you do not want the oh-so-currently-super-popular white color all across your home, and when you want accent walls in every single room) to choosing carpets to setting up the place one corner at a time to taking on major remodel adventures, there’s always something needing your utmost attention. While it’s all too exciting to a home decor enthusiast like me, especially when I have a hubby who is always encouraging my crazy ideas, and who also mostly has an opinion about them himself, it can also be quite time consuming (given I either visit at least a dozen stores to pick one thing or I want to DIY). 

On that note, this post, rather this project has been a long time coming… instead of waiting for every aspect of a specific room to come together, seems that we either have no time (which BTW seems to be a common theme in the household) or, Vinay and I simply cannot make up our minds when it comes to picking out pieces from a sea of options. Take our home office chair for example, we started looking for a new one last Thanksgiving but we are yet to buy one (yeah, I know, we are hopeless! Then again, we haven’t found one which meets both our criteria, and yes, we have looked on all the popular, and not so popular websites and stores). So I am finally saying screw it and starting to write about various sections of each room #OneRoomChallenge if you will. I will update the ‘Decorskapes’ section as we make progress in the house, after all, this is #realllife and not a pretty-perfect-Instagram-feed (though mine is nowhere close to pretty-perfect on IG either, oh well! :-/). 

Now after that super long introduction, if you are still with me, here goes… 
How to take a $40 Ikea bookshelf (got a good discount when I bought it, now it is $49.99) and convert it into something that would cost you well over 150 bucks (if you were to buy one instead), and tips and ideas on decorating the same DIY bookshelf. 

I don’t know about you, but there’s a unique kind of satisfaction when I take up DIY projects, no matter how small or big… because a) it gets my creative juices flowing. b) it gives me a high. c) it makes me incredibly proud to see the end result. d) it helps me save money on one item so I can buy something else with those extra bucks. A total win-win if you ask me! 


We bought the Ikea bookshelf (it’s the perfect size for what I had in mind, you could buy the bigger size) last November with the intention of painting it either gold or rose gold (if you follow me you already know that I am such a sucker for all things gold and rose gold, see proof here). But instead of getting on it right away I let it collect dust in the garage because I didn’t prioritize painting it over buying an office chair (there’s also another reason which I am saving for another blog post). 

A month ago, I said enough is enough and got down to business (I was suffering from laryngitis and was stuck at home anyway). But I simply couldn’t choose between gold or rose gold and decided to use both - used rose gold spray paint on the outer rim and gold spray paint on the rim of the slacks (go ahead, call me crazy, the hubs already does :p). I said to myself that I was simply going to paint over it if I hated it, and so far I don’t, so it stays, at least until I change my mind. (After all, I only have some 4+ dozen or so paint cans/tins/spray bottles sitting at home, which I started collecting when we moved to Seattle almost 3 years ago and I started dabbling in some major DIY projects (a.k.a back then, it was mostly buying second hand products from Goodwill stores and experimenting with colorful paint and upcycling them). Oh, what fun! 

So, either buy a bookshelf that you already like and want to use as-is or color the bookshelf with your favorite color(s). Spray painting is the best way to go, especially if you choose a metallic color like I did. It’s faster and less messy and works best when you are painting over metal. And for the white planks which go at the top and the bottom of the bookshelf, cover it with a marble contact paper, or leave them as-is, again, depends on what finish you like.

The plain white bookshelf from Ikea

The very same white bookshelf from Ikea now -> spray paint + marble contact paper + setup


Now that you have a bookshelf ready to be decorated here are some things to keep in mind while doing so… 

  1. Let your personality shine through: Your home is a reflection of the people living in it and their personality, and so should be in every corner of the home. A bookshelf is no exception. I picked out things that speak to me, things that I love, and things that bring a smile to my face. 
  2. Odd numbers are eye-catching: 3 seems to be the magic number for the most part and looks quite appealing. Notice that almost all rows in my bookshelf are paired in 3’s. Unless you have a really big object then let it be the only item in a specific row, or if you have small objects then combine them in such a way that they don’t look too messy. 
  3. Varying colors, heights, and textures: Pick a variety of objects, all keeping your favorite things to do, to see, to admire in mind. This also includes your favorite colors, I for one love most colors, so I didn’t have a preference. And different heights and textures provide a field of depth and keeps things interesting.
As far as objects in this bookshelf go... I am obsessed with traveling, so there’s a globe at the very top and an airplane at the very bottom. I love photos and frames, so there’s a Polaroid camera (which was Vinay’s gift to me for my baby shower, is he a keeper or what!! :)) and a photo frame with a picture of me and my baby (which was shot during this photo session). I can’t get enough of plants and flowers, so they are interspersed wherever possible (either real or faux). Some of my favorite books - related to travel, inspiration or motherhood. Phone and time, well ‘hello’, two of my lifelines, I was so thrilled when I found an antique looking phone. Of course, candles, who doesn’t love them? And a mug with letter ‘K’ on it, my initial, which holds color pencils, color pens, and paint brushes. Again, something I love - art, drawing, and painting. 

And finally, this beautiful bookshelf now sits (or is it stands?) all decked up and pretty, right across from my study table, and one glimpse at it makes me smile - it is such a great reminder of most things I love, adore and admire. And it also gives me the much-needed inspiration I need every so often - to make great things happen (a.k.a to get s*** done)! Since I like to position things at an angle whenever possible, the bookshelf is placed how it’s placed. This angle also provides a perfect view from both the study table as well as a perfect view when someone walks in the door (which wouldn’t be possible if it was leaning against either of the walls). 

I have already switched around/swapped out stuff on the bookshelf in the last few days. That’s just how I operate, always trying to improvise and keep things interesting. Who knows what will catch my eye the next time I am at a store and make it’s way to the bookshelf ;) 

We might finally buy an office chair this weekend/week and I can finally do a full Home Office reveal as most of the set up is now complete. So stay tuned for the next #OneRoomChallenge blog post… 

Anyway, its 5am as I write this post, it’s already bright and shiny outside and I haven’t slept a wink in 23hrs, have to catch some zzzs before the baby wakes up. Alritie, GTG, bbye now! 














“Behind every writer is a very large bookshelf.”

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