jarlath mellett's living room fireplace suround by a wood mantel, built in bookshelves filled with books, a grey sofa, neutral cushioned bench and dark wood floors.

Have a reader's design dilemma that I want you to help solve.

Just a few weeks ago, I got an email from reader Melissa Malleck (MM).  MM and her hubby completed the build of their custom home in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.  They've been living there about 2 years and love it but MM has a decorating issue she still hasn't resolved.

Below are a few photos of MM's new great room...

Here's MM's decorating stumbling block.  Flanking the fireplace in her great room (living room) are two built in cabinets in dark wood.  MM knows that she wants to style these cabinets right but needs ideas.

Here's an excerpt from MM's email to me from a few weeks ago:

"I have these large built-in cabinets in my home (the ceiling is 11ft and the cabinets are 9' high by 4-5ft wide - each is about 14" high). I just don't know what kind of accessories to put on them... Is less more? Should i use larger pieces, but less of them? Or fill the shelves? Only light-coloured pieces against the dark wood?"

So I ask you dear readers to take a look at MM's living room shelves and please give her some ideas!

close up of COCOZY reader's great room with almost empty built in bookshelf, fireplace with molded mantel, neutral sofa with three accent pillows one blue, red and patterned and two arm chairs
The almost empty shelves in the great room in COCOCOZY reader  Melissa Malleck's (MM) Ontario, Canada home (above and below)

COCOZY reader's great room with built in bookshelf, fireplace with molded mantel, neutral sofa with three accent pillows one blue, red and patterned and two arm chairs

elle decor's nantucket retreat with a white living room, built in book shelves, striped ottomans and glass coffeetable
Built in shelves are painted white to blend with the adjacent fireplace.  Shelves are filled with books stacked in vertically and horizontally. (above)

m design's living room with white built in book shelves with the back wall of the shef painted green
The back of this shelf is painted a contrasting avocado green...shelves feature books, framed art, and small decorative items. (above)

close up of anthony cochran's built in book shelf cabinet painted black with gloss paint holding books and small trinkets

richard mishaan's cartagena, colombia living room with built in book shelf, high ceilings with exposed beams, patterson flynn martin carpet rug, donghia side table, white sofas with pink accent pillows and matching side chairs
Large pieces of matching blue and white pottery and important black framed mirror make a huge statement on this designer built in book shelf. (above)

melanie acevedo's library with blue loveseat sofa with a built in bookshelf full of books
Shelves in these two cases are filled with books, decorative accessories, keepsakes and also small  bars. (above and below)

house beautiful's built in bookshelves stuffed full of books, larger shelves hold items like flower arrangements, a small bar and other trinkets

What design ideas can you share with MM so she can style her built in bookshelves? Any decor tips you can give her? Please comment below!

Thank you MM (Melissa) for sharing your design dilemma with me and COCOCOZY readers.  Hopefully everyone comments and this helps you and a few others!

Happy Friday!


P.S.  So I am getting my first samples for a new line in the COCOCOZY collection I am working on in conjunction with a new partner.  This new COCOCOZY offering will debut in January 2013!  I have to review the samples and give notes right away so we can begin production.  I am so excited.  I can't take it!  Still waiting for the package to come in!

Photos: Jarlath Mellett; Elle Decor; M Design; Anthony Cochran Design; Architectural Digest; Melanie Acevedo; House Beautiful


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