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The fashion designer’s home is an amalgamation of influences and cherished treasures.

Andrew Livingston’s New York Loft

01 04 22

Andrew Livingston got his start in fashion at a young age. His journey into fashion design is an interesting one and eventually led to creating the menswear line Knickerbocker. We visited Andrew in his New York apartment to chat more about his journey and learn more about his unique eye for design — both in fashion and interiors.


Tell us a little about yourself!

I've spent the past decade in New York. I live in a city with one of the best metro systems, yet I generally take my bicycle or drive to get around. I prefer early mornings and the daytime to the night. However, on occasion, I find myself in my most creative space at night and try to take advantage of that when it comes.

My work has been the instrument responsible for most parts of my being — outside of how I identify with it and how it identifies me, work has brought me around the world, my closest friends, and has generally pushed me to live with purpose. While work plays this integral role in my daily life, I am trying to be more cognizant of the fact that it's not everything — finding balance and specifically doing a better job of being present to issues and people that are not directly a part of my work orbit. Furthermore, I would like to continue learning, surf more, cook more, get back to writing, music and generally put more effort into finding alternative sources of fulfillment outside of work.

When you were younger, you were an athlete — a snowboarder — and you competed on a national level. Can you explain what led you to design menswear? Did you always have an interest in design or fashion?

Those years were very formative for me. I had a few sponsors, one of which was Billabong. They used to send boxes of gear, and sometimes I would go by the warehouse to pick things up. Don't get me wrong, I was always happy and knew even at that age how fortunate I was, but I was never a fan of the product. Being inundated with clothing led me to crave things that were more focused on simplicity and quality. In one of those warehouse trips as a kid, I saw some designers in the offices working. There were various prototype samples and CAD's lying around. I never really thought much about the process up until that point. But my interest was piqued, and I have been going down that rabbit hole ever since.

Were there any lessons/practices from your days as an athlete that you find you apply to your work today?

There are two that stick out to me. The first would be allowing myself to be a child. Not the tantrums, but the curiosity. Each year it gets a bit harder. We form habits, and they're tough to break, but to get back to square one is an opportunity to think limitlessly and with an open mind. Using this example sounds corny, but when Gelfand did the first ollie on a skateboard, he blew minds and broke boundaries. One small idea can forever change our perception of a sport, company, or industry.

The second would be to leave nothing on the table. I hated to lose, but there was no worse feeling than knowing that you didn't prepare enough for an opportunity or that you had a chance and didn't take it.



How did Knickerbocker get its start? Where did your interest in heritage wear/American workwear come from?

Before Knickerbocker, I had a small label. We had an account in Japan that started to place some big orders. One of the items they were specifically looking for from us was ball caps, and they needed to be made in the U.S. At that time, there weren't any online databases for finding factories; it was still good ole print and paper. You had to find a broker who would sell you a directory, and I didn't have money to spare on a directory then. But I had a phone camera, and I cheekily took a few photos of some factories in a broker's directory. This led me to a factory named Watman Headwear Corp. based on the border of Brooklyn and Queens in Ridgewood. We ended up working on hats for about a year together, at which point the owner offered up the factory to me. I was 20 years old and filled with grand ideas but hardly a clue what to do with them or how to make them happen. As a designer at that time, I knew how difficult it was to sample, meet factory minimums and really produce anything other than a simple screen-printed t-shirt.

I wanted to do more, and I thought that if this takeover could somehow happen, I would own the ability to produce for myself and on my terms. So I contacted my friends Daniel McRorie and Kyle Mosholder about the opportunity to turn this into reality. I respected both of them massively for their own work — one a shoemaker and a bagmaker with his own brand.

Together we put up a Kickstarter to buy out Watman, and from there, Knickerbocker was born. Knickerbocker was two businesses - the first being the manufacturing company and factory space, which was operated with Dan and Kyle. The second was the brand label, which was my own venture. Ultimately the manufacturing business shut down after five years as we all had different visions for that part of the business. But in the end, those years in the factory were incredibly inspiring. I worked alongside some incredibly talented individuals and had the best of times. They were foundational years for shaping how we look at community, responsibility, and intent as a company today.

Much of menswear is derived from workwear. Workwear is a form of utilitarian wear, which has form, function, and durability at its heart. Clothes are meant to be lived in, and they should be a reliable companion. This category of menswear is where some of the best stories live, and those stories are what we often fall in love with within a garment. Take Burberry, for example. Now a luxury brand, but their formative years were spent in the mud, outfitting the backs of the British military with their now-iconic trench coats in WWI. In designing any collection, we undoubtedly look to certain aspects of history as a guiding influence for cultural significance and what it has taught us about the importance of garment construction from the cloth to the sewing.



You were pretty young when you started Knickerbocker. What was that experience like for you? 

Youth was my greatest asset. I had the rare luxury of time, which afforded me the ability to fail and fail again. Everything was new, stimulating, and just a very exciting time.

Based on that experience, do you have advice for others who are also young and working on a business? Or any advice in general to those starting out?

Always bet on yourself and be true. That means making sure that your business aligns with your values as a person. Undoubtedly, you will need this to justify the amount of work and lack of sleep in your pursuit. But equally important is to enjoy every bit of it and not let fear of failure keep you away. Failed ventures lead to successful ones all the time.

The first flagship store for Knickerbocker opened earlier this year. It also includes The Knickerbocker Bookstore. So how did the concept for the store come about? And why add a bookstore?

It's really been a dream for some time to create a space that allows people to interact with Knickerbocker in a much more meaningful way. The store was designed by myself and Sean Davidson. The brand has matured over the past few years, and we wanted to make sure the store reflected that. The overall design was highly inspired by architect Jean Prouvé and his "Better Days" house. The palette was kept minimal to not overpower the merchandise. Smooth long curves were met with hard corners to create unique shapes. We brought in a range of materials to texturally divide the space using lacquered wood, stainless steel, carpet, caning, and white oak.

The Knickerbocker Bookstore is really about sharing the brand's muses with our customers. We feature a selection of rare books sourced for us by Press SF along with several other new & vintage books.



Not only is the Knickerbocker store well designed, but so is your home! Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind the color scheme you’ve chosen?

Well, I am in an open loft with the bedroom and bathroom having the only walls of separation. So, I tried to pair materials and colors with their functions to separate the kitchen from the living room and so on. It still feels a bit random but has come together with time.

Are you drawn to any particular era for inspiration or artists/designers? How do you make sure your personality is reflected in your space?

The decor is really an amalgamation of influences. I enjoy modern design for its simplicity and openness, but you still need a home to feel like home. If I had to pick an era as a favorite, it would be the late 40s into the 50s. Post-WWII ushered in a lot of great designers with manufacturing's changing landscape. I'm mostly drawn to the simple and industrious designs from this period.

I think personality is best reflected in the small objects around your home. The little cherished treasures that somehow make it through each move — small sculptures, little notes, sketches, and travel souvenirs make up the majority of these items for me. The things that are often meaningless to some but live on a pedestal in your home.



What are some of your favorite pieces in your home?

The pieces with the most personal value will always be the works done by friends — books and artworks in particular. Not saying this because this is a Floyd interview, but The Sectional has been one of the greatest additions to the home. No more losing out on space to my dog and girlfriend.

I'd also add some of the lighting pieces I've acquired over the years to the list of favorites: industrial gooseneck lamps, mid-century MCM sconces that I repurposed, my Noguchi shade, and a few other sconces.

Other pieces I value are a vintage hand-loomed natural indigo rug I found in the middle of Montana that I brought back by plane; a vintage sashiko blanket from Japan; and a cubist wooden rhino sculpture from the early 1900s, which always reminds me of my grandpa who kept a similar-sized rocket ship I made in woodshop that sat on his desk.

You have some interesting framed prints/posters up around the apartment. Do any of them have a story?

Rumor has it that my father found these in a flat-file cabinet while helping someone with a move. I believe they were to be in an estate sale, but he snagged up a stack of these posters before the sale. They are all originals ranging from the 1910s to the '50s. I have a few on the walls at home with a couple more down at the Knickerbocker store. Very lucky to have my hands on these.



For more about Andrew please check out:


Andrew Livingston 


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Inside the home that this California architect calls rustic, relaxing, and evolving.

Emily Jagoda’s Wooded Retreat

12 17 21

California-based architect Emily Jagoda takes pride in designing projects that don't easily identify with a particular decade. Her design is rooted in modernist traditions but influenced by vernacular and charm, creating timeless architecture focusing on space and light. Emily's approach to design is intriguing. We chatted with her to learn more about what inspires her, what defines her style, and how she channels her architectural designs into her own home.

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Emily Jagoda. I was born in New York, grew up in Nebraska, and spent summers in New York and occasionally in a teepee outside Breckenridge, Colorado. I came to California for graduate school at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI_Arc) and loved the light so much, I never left! It's also a pretty great place to be an architect.

What about architecture interests you? How did you get your start in this field?

One of the fascinating things about architecture is how interconnected it all is. Everything from the shapes of interior spaces to the structural system, glass, access to the site, the relationship of the interior spaces to the exterior spaces, and the materials and textures. It all works together to create an almost infinite set of combinations. It's also just such a rich discipline. While it can sometimes be frustrating that the learning never stops (haha), it provides so much to explore and experiment with.

Were you always interested in architecture/designing homes?

I do think I was interested in architecture from a pretty young age. I used to measure all of the furniture in my bedroom growing up, and I would rearrange everything at scale on construction paper. Though maybe that counts more as interior design? I haven't done very much work outside of the residential realm yet, but I would certainly like to investigate more non-residential projects at some point. I would especially like to design a gallery or museum — a contemplative space that provides a place to focus. That said, residential is pretty fertile ground.


TREEHOUSE3000. Photo: Ye Rin Mok

Do you find your work trickles into your personal life?

My work definitely trickles into my personal life. Architecture, to me, has a kind of philosophical underpinning, so in that sense, it feels natural to let them intermix. I feel many architects approach life in general as a kind of design problem. I certainly do. There's this idea of the "gesamtkunstwerk" or "total work of art" in which architecture is designed in conjunction with other elements such as lighting, wallpaper, hardware, furnishings — everything is up for grabs to become a design element.

One curious aspect about architecture is that we think it is fairly permanent, but that really depends. Houses often evolve over their lifetimes, and that temporal quality is intriguing.

What elements, colors, and materials do you love to work with?

Somehow I'm magnetically drawn to bright primaries and hot pinks. I don't tend to use a lot of color on walls to allow the colors and textures to have a quiet foil to read them against. There is definitely a huge overlap between the colors and materials that I use in client work as in my own home. I really like to use natural wood and prefer to keep the natural hue and grain movement visible. And for furniture, I really love mohair, velvet, wool, and other soft textures.

What are the intentions behind the designs of the homes you've worked on? They seem fresh and airy, and very relaxing.

I feel like playfulness and charm tend to be underrated qualities in architecture, so I am always trying to sprinkle some of that around. And I feel like, on some level, I want to live in a greenhouse, so I often design spaces that have a great deal of natural light. Also, I like the sense of volumetric space. So I guess that's how you get to the light and airy!



What do you do on the side to keep the inspiration flowing?

Gosh, for inspiration … there are so many sources. I try to go for runs or walks out in nature, which can be pretty fruitful. But, incredibly, inspiration is just everywhere you look. I look at many paintings, both new and old. But, often, the particular design problem itself can be inspiring.

The thing about nature as a source of inspiration is that it's ever-evolving and changing. I think buildings are also not static or, at least, my house is an ever-evolving project! But 'feeding the energy' can come from almost anywhere, so I'm always on the lookout.

Who in your field has inspired or influenced you in your career?

I'm certainly influenced by the so-called Santa Monica school of architects. Ray Kappe, who founded SCI_Arc, has been one of my biggest influences. Not necessarily aesthetically (although I love his work), but it was the way he approached the profession and created his own opportunities. His was a great example of designing one's own career.

In general, though, I'm most curious about innovation and experimentation, which sometimes reinforces a more temporal sort of building. One of the best is Alvar Aalto's Muuratsalo Experimental House, in which he tested materials and building technologies. It's like house-as-laboratory, and I love it. Rudolph Schindler is also a big influence in many respects; his conviction — building as much as you can makes you a better builder — is something that I have tried to live by. And Frank Gehry is another great influence as well. I especially appreciate that he was doing what he termed 'cheapskate architecture' in his early work. I love the idea that great design can be on a smaller scale budget.



Let's talk about your current home. It's in the woods, right?

Yes, our house is in the woods. It has been great living in the woods, although the light has been a challenge. I've taken up painting, and I paint in the sunroom. It has windows on three sides and a skylight that takes up about half of the room, and still, I find myself leaving tinfoil and silver stuff all over the place to get the light to bounce around! I'm on the verge of doing the Andy Warhol thing and covering the walls in silver foil!  

Is it a big change from where you lived before?

It is! Our last house in Los Angeles was very urban. I designed that house to fit on the rear half of the lot, and it ended up becoming a very vertical building because the footprint was around 650 square feet or so. Our current house has a more traditional layout. There is no end of design challenges to solve at this house, especially compared to building from scratch.



Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the design, style, and decor of your home? 

The existing house was a strong starting point as a remodel and addition. But the house didn't relate to the site all that well and had some bizarre additions. So making it relate to the view, perforating for light, and creating better access to the yard was the first priority. I also tweaked the shingled envelope with the entry awning and the bay window. These geometric elements are playful ways to connect inside to out: the awning bringing light onto the front porch and the bay window bringing daylight into the kitchen/dining. That bay also acts as our 'take-out window' serving the outdoor eating area. I hope that tweaking the envelope makes the building form a little more abstract.

What does home mean to you?

Home is refuge. Although everything is temporary, to some extent, and creating coziness and respite is ongoing, ever-evolving, that sense of shelter is the essence of it.



For more about Emily please check out:


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Three cider drink ideas to celebrate fall.

Apple Cider Is
a Host’s Best Friend

11 19 21
Jonathan Bender

Fall is apple cider season. Sweet and a little tart. New beginnings and the end of summer.

Fall is when you go apple picking, take a hayride, or maybe just sit out on your porch and think about doing those things one day. Fall is for sipping drinks in the late afternoon sun.  

Apple cider, like fall, offers possibilities. It can be crisp and brisk or bright and warm. It’s the mood ring of drinks, letting you create the vibe you want. We’ve picked three apple cider sippers — apple cider slushies, apple cider sangria, and a mulled cider hot toddy — to set the mood.

Whether with alcohol or not, these drinks are made in batches ahead of time; you might want to host, but you don’t need more stress. We’ve also got suggestions for the snacks to pair with each beverage - something to nibble while you linger with friends. Read on. Find your fall.


You’ve got two hands for a reason. Apple cider slushies & cider donuts.

If you’ve never had an apple cider slushie, get thee to a blender. Imagine a snow cone that’s not too sweet and has this tart little pop of flavor. When the sun is shining, wrap yourself in a blanket and discover a drink that’s your new fall tradition. If you can find local cider, go for it, because the full-bodied beverage will hold up better in the freezer.

How To Make Slushies (6 servings):

Juice a lemon and add it to 4 cups of cider. Stir in ½ teaspoon cinnamon, if you like. Pour that into a loaf pan and freeze it for five to six hours. Scrape it with a fork every hour to keep the mix from freezing into a giant block.

Pulse the frozen cider in a blender until you’ve got a drink you can sip (like a snow cone that’s just started to melt).

Want a boozy slushie? Add ½ cup of bourbon and an equal amount of ginger ale or ginger beer before you blend.

Recommended Pairing: The tart slushie is great with a fall treat like apple cider donuts, cinnamon sugar donuts, or a snickerdoodle cookie. Find something dusted with cinnamon and sprinkled with sugar and you’re all set.


Have a lazy Sunday with apple cider sangria and a graze board.

A big pitcher turns a conversation into a gathering. A big pitcher of apple cider sangria will open your eyes to how a tart bit of apples and dry white wine (or ginger beer) are magic. A little work with lots of payoff.

How To Make Sangria (6 servings):

Chop up two apples and one pear. Squeeze half a lemon on top to keep your chopped fruit from browning. Add your fruit to a pitcher and pour in a bottle of dry white wine (pinot grigio works), two cups of apple cider, ¼ cup of apple brandy, and ¼ cup of Triple sec (thank you, Smitten Kitchen for this idea). Stir and let chill for at least 1 hour.

Set out the pitcher with a few cans of cold plain seltzer. Fill a wine glass with your sangria but leave a little room to float some seltzer on top. Then sip.

Want a non-alcoholic sangria? Make this drink glass-by-glass. Use equal parts cider and ginger beer. Add a squeeze of fresh orange juice. Stir gently. Top with a small scoop of chopped fruit.

Recommended Pairing: Load up a wooden board with meats, nuts, and all the dried fruit it can hold. Skip the olives and pickles, the brine will clash with your sangria.


Mulled Cider Hot Toddy loves a cheese plate.

This mulled cider hot toddy will warm you up. It’s the punch that should be served at holiday gatherings and Thursdays that feel hard. A little spicy, a little sweet, with a depth that makes you forget everything else for a moment.

Recommended Pairing: The rich, buttery toddy can stand up to sharp cheeses and is a beautiful compliment to soft, creamy cheeses. Grab a loaf of crusty bread or a box of rice crackers too.


Make a Mulled Cider Hot Toddy
6 servings

We prefer a cider toddy that’s full of spice. If you want a simpler drink or don’t have something in your pantry, stick with cinnamon and honey. Feel free to swap the juice of one lemon for the orange slices and skip the bourbon.


6 cups cider
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise pods
2 teaspoons honey
1 orange, sliced thinly
8 pieces candied ginger (or a two-inch pieces of fresh ginger)
1 large navel orange, thinly sliced
1/2 cup bourbon (optional)

Add the cider, spices, ginger, and honey, to a slow cooker set on high. After 30 minutes, turn the heat to low. Add the bourbon and gently stir with a wooden spoon. Place the orange slices on top. Let it go for at least two hours. Grab a mug and enjoy.

Don’t have a slow cooker? Bring the ingredients (hold back the bourbon and orange slices) to a boil on high heat in a large pot. As soon as your toddy is boiling, turn the heat to low. Stir in the bourbon (or don’t) and add the orange slices. Wait at least an hour before serving. Ladle up some joy.

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The artist and designer’s home is not just living space, it’s inspiration.

At Home With
Hassan Rahim

11 11 21

Inside Hassan Rahim's Brooklyn apartment, you'll find a zen space filled with collections and unique pieces that keep him working, inspired, and relaxed. The artist and designer channels childhood interests in his work, which are distinctive and strong, contextual and reflective of his own nature. Rahim spoke with us about his self-made journey into design, inspirations, and work within the music industry.

Tell us about yourself and your work.

My name is Hassan Rahim. I'm an artist, but I don't like to just stick with one title. I find I'm sometimes an artist and graphic designer or art director and designer. I grew up in Santa Ana, California, lived in L.A., and moved to Brooklyn, New York, six years ago. I like to focus my work on versatility. I'm drawn to projects based on concepts and ideas from a range of mediums — directing videos, designing logos, and my own personal work of printmaking and collage. I kind of freestyle it, and I've been doing that since I was 15 years old when I first downloaded Photoshop.



You are self-taught. So what was your journey into design, being self-taught?

My design journey started with skateboarding. I was a skateboarder, but I really was obsessed with graphics, skateboard art and ads, and magazines. These are what caught my eye, and I wanted to make those things. I had a desire to make stickers and shirts and was curious about how to make them. I'd ask myself, "Oh, how did they do that?" and then try to recreate some things. From there, I figured out different techniques and developed tools to start using my own imagination.

You got your start in t-shirts. Tell us more about that.

I was posting some of my own t-shirt work on Myspace when I was 15. People came across my work and asked me to make shirts for their brand. Then, through skateboarding, I met people who worked for brands like Obey and Diamond Supply Co., and they asked me to make shirts for them as well.



You do a lot of collage in your work. What inspired you to get into that?

That was the way my brain put pieces together. I'm made up of all the little bits and pieces of inspiration from everyone else, you know? All the little snippets, memorable quotes, and things people told me ... All of those things combined are me. Also, the way somebody like Madlib or J Dilla makes beats was a big inspiration; it's like sampling, cutting, pasting, and chopping. I was inspired by watching beat-making, and I saw that my work felt that way visually, that my brain assembled pieces like that.

When you think of breaking down these aspects of music and transcribing it, if you will, to art, are you often using music to inspire your work?

My process has evolved. I used to play a lot of music, but now I usually try to get into an internal meditative state. At one time, I could work until 4 am with high-energy club music. As I grew in my work, the process changed. I feel zen just staring at the screen and getting the work done, and it's a different type of focus.

I've also been playing slow focus on NTS radio; it's like ambient zen music. So I wake up to that. That's my alarm, actually.

So it's pretty safe to say that music has been a strong inspiration for your work. 

Yeah, 100 percent!



What is your workspace like?

I work from home and have been doing so since before the pandemic. I used to have a studio, but I just realized that my work is so personal. It comes from such a personal place that I get my inspiration from being in my house with my books and records and stuff. It's a small New York apartment, so there isn't a lot of space. My desk is in the middle of the room. But it's really nice working from home.

You do have an extensive book and record collection. How did these collections come into your life?

The collections do come into your life. But very slowly. It's an accumulation. There are things that I'm really passionate about and the things that I am no longer passionate about, I make sure to get rid of. As far as records go, I have a few different collections. I have some that are records that I like to listen to, some are just rare, and then some are just for visual inspiration. I shop the dollar bin for cool records. I used to do it when I was younger. It got me interested in design — seeing really rad records from the '70s with crazy cover art, and it was always conceptual. It made you think. I still buy records in a dollar bin based on the cover because I want my record collection to resemble my book collection.



How has your work been shaped by the places you’ve lived or the spaces that you're in?

My work was shaped by my time in Orange County just because it was around this time I developed an interest in design. I was trying to find inspiration, and in that search, I became an online person; it's where I found the coolest stuff.

All my friends were into skateboarding, and they'd be interested in skaters because of their abilities. But the skaters I liked were those I thought were cool and stylish. I wanted to know what they were wearing, and I'd look them up.



What keeps you interested in the work you do?

Range and variety. Taking new challenges and experiences and not saying I'm just a specific type of designer or just an artist. I direct films, make books, and consult and do exhibitions. I'm just having a good time with what I'm doing and making sure to try new things and not worry about being boxed in. That's what's most exciting to me.

You've designed for the music industry. What did you learn working with musicians and people in the music industry?

I think that the music industry is interesting. You're creating a little 12x12 piece of art. I feel like you have to start with emotion when designing for music. I think back to when I was 15, and I cracked open those first C.D.s, and how those songs were really special to me, and I try to recreate that feeling. I want to make sure I give kids a similar experience. This approach, I feel, has pushed me to be better about iconography. I think iconography is important in music, at least in packaging.

Besides iconography, another way to keep music alive is through t-shirts. That's why there's such a huge vintage graphic tee secondary market; band tees are very rare and expensive.



Do you have any advice for emerging artists or young designers that are coming up in this space?

This is so cliche, but be yourself, don't be the designers you think are cool. Genuinely be you, and it's going to actually make you different. Of course, it's OK if you're still trying to find who you are. That's totally valid too, but I think being yourself is what will set you apart despite what you think.




For more about Hassan please check out:



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Follow these simple steps to curate and decorate your shelves.

How To: A Guide To Effortless Shelf Styling

11 05 21

Styling a shelf may seem like an art form. But really, anyone can style a set of shelves.

Large built-ins, bookcases, floating shelves, or your new Shelving System. Don't let them overwhelm you. Whether you're a minimalist or maximalist — more is more! — you can create perfectly styled shelves that match your aesthetic, personality, and style.

First Things First. Choose a Color Theme.


Beginning with a base color concept for your shelving will act as a starting place for determining the items that stay on display vs. get hidden away. Base your color selection on your style, theme of the room, or what makes you happy. If you prefer neutrals and natural tones, choose white, cream, and beige. If you love vibrant and bold colors, opt for primary colors, jewel tones, or add pops of gold and brass. Or blend bold & neutral by grouping items together to create an interesting color block effect. Whatever you prefer, play around with your color choices until you find what speaks to you.

Picking Items Is Easier Than You Think.


First things first, pull everything off. Take a look at what you have. Pick out the pieces that really speak to you, must be on display, or need to be stored on these shelves.

If you feel like you don't have enough pieces to make you happy. That's OK. Curating items to decorate your home can take time. Visit your favorite shops, local flea markets, and thrift stores to find interesting items to decorate your shelves with. Over time, you'll have all the things you need — and love — to add to your shelving.



To make your shelves interesting and tie your room together, try selecting a few pieces from these categories:

Framed art or photos: Choose a few photos that make you smile or artwork you've collected, created, or made by your kids. The art can be bold and bright or minimal and neutral. Whatever speaks to you.

Pottery, stoneware, vases, bowls: Pick these pieces in different textures, shapes, and sizes to add interest.

Books, comics, magazines: Coffee table books, favorites from your collection, comics, magazine editions you can't part with (like every edition of Architectural Digest). If you don't own any books, buy a few from a thrift store or garage sale. Look for books with attractive covers or simply turn them around so that the book's pages show instead of the spine. You can even cover your books with similar paper or fabric for a more cohesive look.

Baskets and storage boxes: Try picking these in different materials and textures — metal, jute, cloth, wire. And secretly stash away other items, too.

Plants, flowers, succulents: These can be real or artificial. No judgment.

Collections: Your collection of little cat statues, McDonald's Happy Meal toys, '80s memorabilia, model cars, vintage signs, or records deserve to be on display. Your shelves are a great place to showcase these pieces.

Other items: Lights, lamps, candles, sculptures, figurines, mirrors, posters … Endless possibilities.


Now, the Fun Part. Putting It All Together.


Don't sweat this step! This is where you get to have fun with what you have. There are no real rules, just guidelines.

Start with your biggest items and place them staggered throughout your shelving system. These items will act as focal points when paired in groups with smaller items.

Find symmetry or pattern. It doesn't have to be perfect, but you want to draw the eye to different parts of each shelf as you look up and down. Place one of your larger items in the upper right corner of the shelving unit, and then on the shelf below, place another one in the center and then one in the left corner below that.

Create groups with smaller items placed around your focal point pieces. Aim to create pairs or vignettes of three for a cohesive, balanced look. Each shelf should have items that are different in size, height, texture, and color.



Leave space. Vary the amount you have on each shelf. If you like a minimalistic look, add more space in between items. If you prefer to add more to your shelves, reduce the distance between objects and add a few more pieces.

Build height where needed by stacking books and placing short items like a candle or plant, ontop.

Step back, adjust, admire. Nothing has to be perfect the first time. Style your shelves. Restyle. Take a week to just stare at it. Restyle it again if you want. Add more. Take away pieces. It's all up to you.



Additional tips:

  • With shorter shelves, hang a poster or two above. Even a T.V. works!
  • If you're storing tableware and cookware, use the height rule, vary the colors, and create visual gaps to balance out the heavier pieces.
  • For bookcases, vary how you stack the books, group different colored books together, or add bold bookends.


Remember, styling shelves is a reflection of you. And there really isn't a wrong or right way to go about it. Follow your instinct and display what you love.

It's all about what brings you joy.

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