When my husband and I bought our Craftsman house, we knew we’d have to get comfortable with all the rich, brown woodwork, which is deliciously historic…and also quite heavy and dark. Short of covering everything in a few coats of white paint (which, trust, I tried to pitch to old husbo), we knew we had to find ways to brighten up the space while also playing to the home’s old, quirky charms.
The living room and dining room were easy, thanks to ample light and bright furniture, but the toughest space by far was the middle “parlor,” which we use as a TV and media room. Without any windows, it’s short on light and it didn’t help that most of our furniture was made from brown particle board.
I wanted a sleek, modular design that paid homage to the midcentury furniture we have throughout the house. My first thought was the Vitsoe shelving system (designed by Dieter Rams in the 1960s, swoon). But after doing some research and quick calculator work, I realized my dream shelving unit would cost upwards of $20,000. So yeah, it was clear that I had to think more creatively.
Enter The Container Store’s absolutely ingenious shelving systems, which are designed for closets, but work just as well in living rooms, laundry rooms, garages, kitchens or really, anywhere where you want to store things on a wall. The Container Store has four different lines at four different price points (and all closet organization systems are 25 percent off through October 11), but I went with the Elfa Decor line. These storage solutions have an elegant, finished look that are just as design-y as my beloved Vitsoe, for a sliver of the price—they start at just $500.
Although you can use The Container Store’s installation services, we decided to DIY and, honestly, it was pretty easy. Not to mention, the end result is gorgeous. Here’s how it all came together.
The cool thing about the Elfa system is that it only drills into the wall in one place: the horizontal support rail at the top. Everything else hangs off that rail and is totally adjustable and modular. We had some trouble finding the studs at first, but after that, it was smooth sailing.
The brackets snap right into place, and you set the shelves and drawers right into them. (Don’t mind my super-intense expression!)
Here we are, mid-install. The sliding baskets will eventually get snazzy fronts placed on top them. And they’re so much simpler to put together than all the IKEA drawers I’ve built in my lifetime.
I was initially worried that a modular system designed for closets would never look polished enough for a living room, but what takes Efla Decor to the next level are all the cap pieces. They easily fit over the metal brackets and rails, to hide the holes and provide a matte finish. I also love the subtle plexiglass bookends, which keep everything in place.
The drawer fronts screw on in about a minute. Bonus points for these darling leather pulls.
Styling the shelves is definitely my favorite part.
Voilà! The finished unit with floating cabinets and wall-to-wall shelving looks custom built. And I still can’t get over that it’s all supported by that one horizontal bar.
Look at that. She even plays nice with all the brown moldings.
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