New Darlings: Built-in Bookcase Reveal

Earlier this year we had the pleasure of working with Robert and Christina, husband and wife, photo takers and adventurers, living in Phoenix, Arizona. The following first appeared in their lifestyle journal, New Darlings.

by New Darlings

How to Style a Bookcase

How to Style a Bookcase

So excited to finally share our bookcase reveal with you guys. You may remember this bookcase styling post from a few months back, when we planned the initial design with Affinity Kitchens. They’re a local company here in Arizona who does beautiful custom work for your kitchen, closet, bathroom and more. We went through them to order our kitchen cabinetry, and one day as we were walking out of a design appointment, I just decided to ask our designer Tim, if he could help us come up with a bookcase for our living room. We don’t have a real entry way, and in the past we’ve created one with furniture arrangement and different decor pieces, blocking off different areas of the room, but this wall always felt so large and we wanted to do something super intentional and practical with it. So we started sketching together and I was so excited to see the design come to life.


How to Style a Bookcase

How to Make a Custom Bookcase

^^ Here’s a look at some progress shots of the bookcase during install.

New Darlings Custom Bookcase

^^ A look at the plans drawn up by Affinity and our construction team, Loyal Construction Co.

Bookcase Styling

Adding Plants to Your Bookcase


Tim was amazing, considering every nook and cranny. Our house was built in 1930 and not a single wall in this place is a perfect right angle. We also have coved ceilings which are so pretty but definitely made things more difficult. Tim and the install team from Affinity found a way to make every curve and shelf fit perfectly into our home, making it feel like the bookcase has been here all along and was an original piece. I really don’t think I’ve loved working with anyone more. Every design meeting was so fun and inspiring and now I’m just thinking about what else we could dream up together.

Brass Cabinet Hardwarre


We went with the same type of shaker cabinets with an ogee detail to keep with the time of the home. We opted for a fresh white and brass hardware from CB2 that made things feel a little modern while keeping a nod to the original charm of the home. If you need some more ideas on brass hardware choices, check out our hardware round up here.

Desert Inspired Decor


Styling was so fun! We wanted to fill the shelves with all of our favorite decor pieces, pottery, and art work, with a nod to Arizona and our life here in the desert. The little desert print above we picked up on our first roadtrip to Nashville, during the early days of our blog so it was nice to finally take it out of a box. The fun candlesticks to the left are by a ceramic artist we found on instagram by the name of Juno Pottery. She makes such beautiful pieces.

Baskets as Decor


When styling a bookshelf we always like to start with the larger anchor pieces. For us, those are typically books. We’ve collected a ton over the years, as well as have some special ones from older relatives, so it’s nice to display them and keep them in eye’s view for easy reach. Play around with displaying them horizontally and in vertical clusters.

Nest Camera at Home

Bookcase with Record Player


So we obviously wanted the bookcase to be a statement piece in our home, but we also wanted it to be practical. The shelves below are home to Rob’s record collection and more of our books. We made sure to have outlets installed in various shelves and below in the cabinets so that we could hide wires for our record player and Sonos speakers. We also keep a Nest cam on the shelving unit too, so that when we’re out and about we can keep an eye on things.

Handmade Pottery


Add in your personal pieces: decorative objects, artwork, and photographs. All the shelves are adjustable so we can move things around and have a place for taller vases, plants, etc. The vases on the right are by a local ceramic artist named Bettina Chow from Camelback Flowershop. They always have the prettiest things. The terracotta colored face art work above is by an artist I found on instagram named Maiko Nagao. She is incredibly sweet and talented.

How to Style a Wall to Wall Bookcase

Desert Inspired Decor


Trays and bowls serve as a good anchor piece and are also useful catchalls for keys, notepads, and mail. Stack them on top of your books or add in a larger one on a singe shelf.

Bookcase Styling at Home

Desert decor Bookcase


Lastly it wouldn’t be a space of ours without some plants. We made sure to sprinkle around various plants in different shapes and sizes for textures and bit of life! Loved these planters grouped together on a shelf.

Thanks for taking a look at this fun project. We’re so happy with how it turned out and now the living room/entry way really feels complete. If you’re local, definitely check out Affinity Kitchens. For more home projects and home inspiration posts, click here.