My Living Room Makeover + Bookshelf Styling Tips with Fresh Twist Studio
I moved into my place almost 2.5 years ago and it’s been on my list since then to style my bookshelves with intention. How does time get away from us so easily!? I knew I wanted my beautiful etagere to be the focal point of my living room. It was my Bubbys and lived for over 40 years in her home, so the unit itself is super important to me. But, when I unpacked after moving in, I just set everything on my shelves without much thought. A few years back, I met Betty, the owner of a gorgeous design company and store in Elmhurst called Fresh Twist Studio. We got along right away and started talking about my bookshelves and how I would love to have her help re-styling them! Well, fast forward 1.5 years and we FINALLY did it and I am SO EXCITED to show you what we did! The girls from Fresh Twist Studio and I spoked a lot before the day of so they could get a great idea of who I am, what I like, and what I wanted for my space. They came prepped and ready to rock! It was such a fun process re-styling these shelves. I can not believe how much they transformed. They still feel so personal to me, but look and feel so much more intentional and cohesive! I want to walk you through our process and share with you the advice they shared with me incase you too, have been wanting to revamp your shelves. My number one piece of advice? Hire Fresh Twist… you’ll love them and will have a blast, it will take all the stress off of your shoulders and they will make sure you get exactly what you wanted. All the info about their design services is at the bottom of this post! Without further ado… here is the before and after of my living room!!!!
When the fabulous Fresh Twist gals first arrived, we talked about what was important for me to keep, and if there was any family heirloom that was a non-negotiable and needed to stay on the shelf or in my living room. I went in with an excited and open mind, so I didn’t really have too many requirements! There were a select few pieces that were important for me to keep on the shelves, like a photograph of my Bubby when she was young and ideally, I wanted to keep personal items on there as well. My photographs and favorite books were important to me because it made the living room still feel like me! But besides that, I was ready for a change! I think being open to change is part of the artistic process! I told her that right now I would describe my living room as a hodge-podge (but with good intention, as I’ve made my best attempt through the years)! Fun fact: my hide rug in my living room was my first interiors purchase, and I was 19-years old and I made my Dad pull off of a highway in Colorado because I saw a vintage store! That’s where I bought my living room rug, Abigail (yes, she has a name). I described my ideal style to the designers as homey, but clean, modern and elegant. Betty, the owner of Fresh Twist Studio, explained that they like to bring a bunch of pieces that they think would work to try - in this case ivory, black and neutral items - as opposed to bringing specific items for specific spaces. This was a major tip of theirs… trying and retrying!
We started by taking everything off of the shelves, as Betty pointed out that this was an art process, and we wanted to start with a clean slate. The girls said they wanted to start with the room as a whole, beginning in the forefront and moving backwards toward the bookshelf. We switched the chairs around for more balance, which was a really cool change that I know I never would have thought of on my own (I seriously admire the mind of an interior designer)! We then moved to the coffee table, putting the prettiest designer books on display, with my favorite piece, a chunk of quartz that lived most of its life in Bubby’s home, crowning the pile. I loved keeping that piece front and center. I finally purchased the Tom Ford coffee table book, and on top, the Chanel: Collections and Creations book with Chanel’s famous Camellia flower on the cover. The black cover tied in beautifully with a black dough bowl and a black and ivory pillow on the couch that Fresh Twist brought along. To keep things lighter, we added an ivory wool blanket beneath the pillow and a faux xerographica air plant in the dough bowl to add greenery. I love my Interior Define Sloan couch, and it has served me well the past 5 years, but I am hoping to get an ivory sectional in the near future, which would fill my space better and also brighten it up! My current couch was purchased for my first apartment after college, so it wasn’t meant for this space, although I think it works quite nicely! Let’s be real, I just want an “L” so I can lay down! HA!
Once we felt the sitting area looked to our liking, we tackled the bookshelf! I inherited this bookshelf from my Bubby, so not only does it have a central place in my living room, but a central place in my heart. We first gathered all of the books with black and white tones and started layering. This kept our slate “clean”, and it was easier to add color from there. It was fun to watch the girls at work! They were looking all around my house for preexisting art (from my hallway gallery) and objects, and added it to the shelves. I really loved the idea of repurposing items around my condo. I told them they could move anything they wanted! My only request was that items that were more important to me were kept at eye level. This shelving unit is tall, so I feel items at eye-level are more “on display”, and I did want a little say in that! I kept hearing them use the term “off center”, which I loved because it reminded me that messy can be intentional. This was a lot more than putting random objects on a shelf; it was an art form where we wanted to balance proportions and take into account symmetry, height, complimentary colors and intention. It took a lot of patience for sure.
As we finished up, I asked the girls if they had advice for any of you gals wanting to style your own bookshelf or space. They shared that the best place to start is with your dimensions. Measure everything so that when you’re shopping around, you know what will fit and work (it seems obvious, but pointing out the obvious may make things less overwhelming). Betty said the best place to start, in terms of a piece, is with something you love - a piece of art, a mirror or any other point of inspiration. From there, you can pull colors, but try and stick to just two, as this will keep your space from looking less “hodge-podge” as I say! Also, the girls said to bring in something natural and organic, whether that be driftwood, dried lavender or fresh flowers that you change out weekly. But most importantly, the girls said to be patient and have fun! Like any art process, this is an expression of you, so there isn’t a right or wrong! But if you still feel that this is something you need professional assistance with, then I know who you can call! ;) Check out the Fresh Twist Instagram page here or visit their store in Elmhurst! The whole process took only 2 hours, so don’t be intimidated to hire help thinking you have to pay for a whole day of work, because that’s not the case! Fresh Twist Studio styling services start with a free consultation to gain a better sense of the homeowner's interest and discuss existing pieces to incorporate in the final look. Styling services are free of charge with a minimum purchase of accessories through Fresh Twist of $2,000. If the minimum is below the said amount, an hourly fee of $150.00 will be applied in addition to the cost of accessories purchased through the studio!
If you have any questions about our process or where we found things, feel free to reach out to myself or Fresh Twist Studio! Also, make sure to check out my IGTV tour of the space where I go into more detail about each piece! EEEK! I’m still so excited!!!!