...because home doesn't happen overnight.
08.01.13 / Library Day

lr shelf 1

Today was library day. As I was relishing the quiet that comes with a sleeping babygirl and two boys engrossed in books, I pulled out my camera to capture the moment. That’s my oldest, Layne. Each of my kids loves books but Layne breathes books. When he’s really into a book, Layne will get up extra early before anyone else and just sit in that chair and read and read and READ. {He’s currently loving the Smells Like Dog series and refusing to get a hair cut. Those things have nothing in common – just thought I would mention them. Layne starts third grade in two weeks. Third grade, people! That is huge. How am I the mom to a third grader?! I clearly remember third grade. That’s when important things like crushes and fixing my own hair began. How did this happen?!}

That chair is this chair. I’m still loving it. Loving it so hard. As comfortable as our sofa is, this chair gets all the action in the house. It’s holding up really well to our rowdy family. Once, Everett got black face paint {BLACK FACE PAINT!} on the arm but I got it out easily with a little dish soap, water and elbow grease. Like it never even happened. The seat cushion is showing some imperfection but that is just a sign of life in my opinion. Our bums are all over that chair!

lr shelf 2

So as I’m sitting there watching my boys read and listening to my thoughts for the first time all day {normally it’s way too loud for me to hear my own thoughts}, I hear myself thinking, “Those shelves are coming along. I really like them. I should share them on the blog. But they aren’t 100% done so maybe I should wait? I want to add more stuff and I’ll probably tweak them on a regular basis until the end of my days so I should wait until…until the end of my days? Wait, Dana. That makes no sense. Just share them. You’ve got to stop waiting until everything is d-o-n-e. Just share what’s going on right now.”

Yeah, I’m crazy. But I’m sharing!

lr shelf 3

{Layne realized I was taking his picture and moved to the sofa. Also, that curled corner of the sisal rug drives HH bonkers. He’s tried all sorts of as-seen-on-TV rug pads and nothing has worked. It doesn’t bother me. Just another sign of life. I find the HH vs. curled corner battle very entertaining.}

What speakers? I first mentioned the DIY shelves here. We bought the shelving bracket system at Lowe’s and added premium grade pine boards. Did y’all know that 1 x 12’s aren’t actually 1″ x 12″? Where have I been? The 1 x 12 boards are actually 3/4″ thick and 11 1/4″ deep. Whatever. We stained them with my favorite Minwax stain – special walnut – but we only did one coat. I wanted the shelves to look more natural and tie into the wood of The Chair and the reclaimed wood shelves across the way in the kitchen. We brushed on 2-3 coats of satin poly to seal them. I’m really happy with how they turned out. I know someone will ask…the shelves are spaced 16 1/2″ apart and are ~72″ long with the exception of the highest shelf which extends all the way to the front door. We need to add another support in the corner above the door and I think the negative space behind the door {when open} is begging for a full-length mirror.

lr shelf 4

Styling-wise the shelves aren’t done but they’re getting there. The majority of the items you see came from our attic: magazines, books, wood sculptures, some baskets/bins, A to Z bookends {spray painted gold – someone stop me}, pictures frames. I thought we had a ton of books but the large wall shelving installation really dwarfs our collection. We’ll just have to buy more books!

lr shelf 5

The bottom shelves are kid-friendly. Little hands are curious in this house. I found the four woven baskets at HomeGoods for $15-$17 each. I would have liked all of them in the larger size but they only had two in stock. We’ve started using them for library books since we have a hard time keeping them separate from our own. The next shelf holds our favorite books and magazines. The picture frame {with the red clearance sticker still on it} was also a HomeGoods find – $4.

lr shelf 6

The higher shelves are out of kid range and hold mostly decorative items. The black and white jug was a HomeGoods find – $14. This is sounding very much like a plug for HomeGoods but it’s not. Promise.

I’ve got to talk about the Buddha head for a minute. I was thinking the top shelf would be a good place to display a collection. One problem. We don’t really have any collections. Then I saw the ginormous Buddha head {at HomeGoods – $32} and now we are collecting Buddha heads. I know. I’m weird. The boys are totally into my weirdness. They are on the prowl for Buddha heads. Mabrey keeps pointing at the Buddha head saying, “BAY-bee. BAY-bee.” Pretty much everything is a baby to her at this stage. See the mini Buddha figurine just to the left of the Buddha head? Funny story. In college, that little Buddha was on HH’s desk in his room and became the object of a very fun game of hide-and-seek between HH’s friends and my friends. I found him in the attic. I can’t believe we still have him. Even though we aren’t practicing Buddhists, our budding Buddha collection is nostalgic. Strange, yes, but nostalgic. And you better believe we borrowed a book on Buddhism from the library today.

lr shelf 7

The two picture frames hold Layne and Everett’s infant foot imprints. The boys asked me which was which. The way I remember is that Everett’s footprint is bigger because he was our second baby. Layne was our first child and like the first-time mom I was, I captured his footprint right away because I had nothing better to do. I think Everett was close to six months old before I got around to doing his. Mabrey? Um, sixteen months and counting. I’m guessing we’ll need a bigger picture frame for hers.

lr shelf 9

lr shelf 8

When I started putting stuff up on the shelves, I searched online for inspiration. It turns out I like less stuff in real life than I do online. Or maybe more stuff feels cluttered to me because I’m used to nothing being there. Perhaps, over time, I will grow to like more stuff?

lr shelf 10

{Can you spot the long lost paper airplane on the top shelf?}

For now, I think this is a good start.

lr shelf 11

I especially like that it gives this view of the family room a library-ish feel. I love library days.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



I’m so glad you posted this now. We just bought a new house that needs some love and it has a wall in the kitchen that seems absolutely useless to me. You know, besides holding up the whole house and stuff. It’s going to come partially down someday. We’re thinking a beautiful wood beam and maybe some wood-wrapped posts since it’s load-bearing. But for now, some shelves like that would be perfect for pretty dishes and cookbooks.
Also, third grade is pretty great. I’m an elementary teacher and you’re entering into the golden years of 3rd-5th grade. Just watch out for 6th grade!


Where did you get your floor lamp? I love it!


Saw an interesting way to handle the curled carpet situation that my in-laws designer used when they had the same problem. Duct taped a paint stir stick to the underside. Might work for you.


Target but…wait for it…I spray painted it just recently. More on that coming soon!


You know HH is all over that as I type.


I haven’t tried it but for making rugs non-slip without a rug pad; I believe Martha Stewart advises using long strips of caulk for the underside then once dry, the rug should stay put. Hope this helps!


Not sure that I’ve commented here before, but I just had to say that I love how these shelves are shaping up. I’m not fond of the “styled shelving” look because to me it usually looks like an overcrowded group of items that have to be placed perfectly in their spot… not something I can be bothered with! But I’m LOVING your less is more, casual, real life ethos to decorating. It seems like you make this house work for you, rather than you working to fit with your house – the way it should be!


Your home looks totally organized. You have done a great job. I found your post very inspiring. You know I also used shelves to put my stuff as they store more and also helps in utilizing space. Because I have a small house, so storage is the main problem. But thanks to you, I have got some new tips form your post to decorate my home in an effective way.


Those shelves look AMAZING! As does your entire space. Really really amazing. And I love how engrossed Layne is in his book. I remember those days so fondly. I would come out of the library dragging my bag of books on the ground because it was too heavy to lift. Stay literate, Layne ;)


Not only are the shelves cute, that chair is delicious!


I had a rug that curled too. I folded it under and stepped it down to sort of crease it and then set heavy cans on it for a few days. Eventually it laid flat and now is fine.


I have very similar shelves and constantly struggle between wanting them styled, wanting them useful and feeling as though everything on them is entirely too much clutter. I like yours though, I feel a rearranging coming on.


looking so lovely – such a warm, stylish room. I prefer a bit of space to styled shelves rather than too cluttered. Except if they’re just books. I quite like a totally jammed library with books casually flung on top of each other randomly. So I think yours are perfect! I’m also still spraypainting everything gold – can’t help myself. I’ve got a pendant cord and lamp to do tomorrow! LOVE your wooden sculptures x


I love the wooden garden stool next to the chair!


Jennifer, you are officially my favorite reader. If this actually works, you are sooo getting a Christmas card this year.

I was reading this on my phone, but I had to jump on my computer just so I could comment (easier). This is so fresh and beautiful! Beautiful, but not like flowers and glam beautiful. Beautiful, like nature and casual and easy-going. Effortless. Chris and I have talked a lot about how we want our new house to feel and we both are excited to create a classic and casual (and, fingers crossed, beautiful) place. One that doesn’t feel stuffy or overdone. And you are whom I am gaining mounds of inspiration from. You’ve perfected it.


Love the shelves! And I have another suggestion for the curled rug corner, we had the same problem and I was worried about using tape on our hardwood floors. So on a whim I tried the sticky tab for a command hook (I thought if it doesn’t leave marks on the wall, it should work the same way on the floor). It doesn’t matter which side you stick to the floor, just put the tab as far into the corner of the rug as you can get it (straight part on the rug edge, round part going inward) it works like a charm and left no marks on the floor beneath. I’ve had to replace it once or twice when spills on the rug required pulling it up, but each time I stick it back down with a new tab and it stays, day in and day out. And its the rug under our dining room table so that corner gets a lot of action. The sticky tabs come in all sizes (since the hooks now come in all sizes) so I’m sure you can find one that will work. Good luck!


HH vs curled corner cracks me up … keep us updated on how the paint stick tip from Jennifer works out for you. The shelves are looking great – I wish I had an eye for styling and vignettes but I usually get stuck before I even get started.

I love your livingroom – those shelves are coming along beautifully. I love how you’ve mixed the useful and the pretty together.


Great idea! I’m sure HH will be happy to test it out.


Aw, thanks Julia! Coming from you, that’s a huge compliment. I’ve always thought we have similar taste when it comes to decor. Your comment is timely. I’ve been poring over my pinterest boards for inspiration but when it comes down to perfecting {imperfecting?} our house, I find that I like things a bit more cozy, casual and inviting. I was getting so hung up on my pinterest boards instead of just looking at my house for what it is and doing what I like.

Your new house is going to be awesome. So much potential! Hope moving day wasn’t too excruciating.


Can I just duplicate everything in your whole house, please?! I love the shelves and aspire to decorate with a look as effortless as yours. Love it all! And I want that chair!


The shelves look so great. I love all of the wood tones! I’m going through a love affair with wood right now. Can’t get enough :)


We have the same rug and had the same problem. This worked like a charm and it has been great for three months, plus you don’t have to use tape or sticky stuff!


I love how your shelves are coming together! I always enjoy your posts because your style is so comfortable and unfussy and not too girly or cutesy but still beautiful. And so practical! That’s what really wins me over. :)

I hate asking since I think you mentioned it before; did you say where the wood sculpture pieces are from? They’re amazing! Simple, but all together they pack a great visual punch.


I love the library feel that the shelves give and I TOTALLY was thinking big mirror when I saw the first photo with the blank space. great minds….

the place is looking awesome and I agree with many other commenters in that I get tons of inspiration from your space. And to think I first found your blog from the nursery post and I don’t even have any kids. HA!


I have been waiting for a post on your shelves! I swear you are my style twin. We have so many of the same items, and I always find great inspiration from your home. The shelves look amazing! And the Thrive chair…I just need to start saving my pennies for one.


Yet one more suggestion about the curled corner on your rug – I’ve done this and it does work:


I couldnt find cork backed rulers, so i glued some thick felt to them…


Love the shelves!! did you ever consider painting the bars to match the wall paint?


I absolutely adore the shelves! I just moved into a new place and I was thinking about putting shelves in our living room. I’m so going to do it now! Thanks for the inspiration. :)


My favorite time in the car with the kids is the ride home from the library. It is super quiet and everyone is absorbed in their new books. They quietly file into the house and find a spot to continue reading- it is the best feeling in the world to me to watch my kids read books!


Everyone’s comments on the curled corner are so much classier than my trick which is to just staple the corner of the rug into the floor (works best on a woven edge so you don’t see the staple and two small nail holes in a wood floor are so worth the no-curl).

And seeing Layne cozied up on that chair with a book makes me want to come over and do the same. Lucky for you, I live far away.


We did and I’ve seen some painted to match the wall color in person but, personally, I like the metal finish better. Not that there’s anything wrong with it though!


I found them at a local Ballard Designs outlet. I think they are Suzanne Kasler pieces. I bought ’em when we were still living in our temporary apartment and had no idea where they would go then but knew I had to have them. So glad I snatched them up!


I know, me too! I’ve found myself using more wood tones {versus painting everything white} in this house. Not sure if it’s the house’s age {1950’s} speaking to me or if I’m just getting older. Haha.


Yes, duplicate! That’s flattery in my book.


So glad to see you experimenting with plants in the new house!


The shelves look great. Personally I’m really struggling to get nice, not-cluttered, yet not sad and empty shelf styling for my first set of built-ins that abut our fireplace.

I am going to be a bit nit-picky, because I’m really hoping for clarification. You say your shelves are plywood but then say they are 1x12s. I’ve only seen plywood sold as sheet goods not nominal lumber. Additionally the edges of your shelves make me think are nice 1x12s and not plywood at all. Which is it? Does a special plywood sold in lengths like nominal lumber exist?


Total oops! on my part. They are pine lumber. Off to fix that…


LOVE this room.

Question- Did you attach the wood shelves to the brackets? Or are they just sitting on top?


Love it! I know those shelves were blank for a while, and it must feel good to have them done (even if you’re not 100% satisfied). I would love to do this in my current home but I’m in a rental– so I pinned it to my “someday” home ideas board.

That picture of Layne is priceless– my daughter is 6 and just started reading on her own like this. It’s great to find her curled up with that same intense expression (only to be interrupted by that look of irritation if I try to catch it on camera!)


I love your shelves! My entire living room has an open wall just like this for our media center. I hate my media center and I have been mean mugging that wall! I can totally envision something like this there! I’m going to see what my hubby says about building open shelving for our wall so it can also house our TV! Also, I am loving the two pillows on the chair…any specific etsy source?


I just put shelves like these up in my bathroom and I love how you styled yours! What kind of plant is shown on the left? It’s the perfect size and shape!

Thank you!


The pillows are from Crate & Barrel.


Yes, the wood boards are screwed into the brackets.


Hi Dana! I’ve been following your blog for a while now but I think this is the first time I’ve commented… Love your blog. You have terrific ideas and solutions but its all very “real-life” and I appreciate that.

I have a wall in my dining room/ entryway/ central room of my SoCal home that I have been having such a difficult time with but I think these shelves might be the answer. I love that they take up the entire wall- from top to bottom. My question- is there any way to make these a little less DIY but still have it look finished? I really want to avoid staining shelves if at all possible. Also- do you think I could do theses at about an 8 inch depth? My husband is convinced tht 12 inches is too deep but I’m concerned that it won’t hold anything if it’s only 8inches- FYI, I don’t have much to put on the shelves yet :)

Thanks so much! Keep up the great work!


there aren’t many houses on the interwebs that i think i could happily move straight into, but yours is one of them (there are many beautiful houses, but so many are either overly fussy, or far too minimalist for my aesthetic sensibilities). i’ve been tossing around ideas for a bench? hall table? something else? in our (very small, but needs *something*) entryway, and i think i shall have to add shelves to my serious contender list.

and gosh, yes! to the mirror! (and i’m so glad you’re keeping the front door. :D )


Hmmmm…I guess you could make the shelves a little less DIY by skipping the staining step if you like the lighter wood tone. I would still suggest sealing the wood though. We only did one coat of stain for a more natural wood tone so the staining step wasn’t too time consuming. I believe most home improvement stores offer 1×8’s {although they aren’t true 1″ x 8″} off-the-shelf so an ~8″ depth should be easy to achieve with minimal work. We considered many different depths. We didn’t want to go too deep because the shelves are right inside the front door. We didn’t want to go too shallow because then we would have a hard time filling them with anything useful {mainly baskets}. The ~12″ depth is perfect for us! At ~8″ depth you could do decorative boxes, leaning/hung art, sculptures, etc.


The textures in this room are the epitome of perfection. You nailed it here :)


Looking good, as always! Regarding the rug, I don’t know how into creative/ghetto solutions you all are, but you can fasten that corner to a piece of flat lying heavy duty plastic runnner (via velcro or a few well placed upholstery thread stitches) and I bet it would lie flat. Worked like a charm for me with my flat weave runner just inside our french doors. The cats can play on it all night long and it doesn’t ruck up – ever. Here’s what I did: http://figtreesundays.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/how-to-make-a-washable-runner-stay-flat-on-a-slippery-floor/ Hope it helps.


Such a beautiful living room! I love the shelving with all the decorations on it! I want to put more color in my room!


You know those sticky velcro squares? They work great on keeping unruly carpet corners down.
Also, there is this thing called carpet tape. We got some on Amazon.

[…] Floating Industrial Shelves @ House Tweaking  […]

[…] House Tweaking for Dana’s DIY shelves tutorial and check out our Home Makeover Heroes board on Pinterest to discover even more DIY […]


[…] you might, too. Our kitchen is on the left; our living room is on the right. Can you see how the DIY shelves balance out the desk area on this […]


[…] To create the feeling of an entry, I placed an oversized chair perpendicular to the door and hung DIY wood shelves on one wall. This setup hugs the front door so when you enter the house there’s a […]


Hi can you provide me with the exact shelving system you used? I am having a hard time finding it on lowes.com. Thanks


[…] – DIY tripod floor lamp – Target, spray painted gold wall shelves – Lowe’s, DIY sisal rug in entry – NaturalAreaRugs gold clip-on lamp – Land of Nod wood sculptures […]


I saw these (http://www.dotandbo.com/collections/bohemian-sanctuary/2-pc-set-of-buddha-bookends) on Dot & Bo today and they made me think of your budding Buddha collection. :)


Ah, so cute!!