Styling a Bookshelf

I love to decorate. I love having a place to display a little personality in my home, but I have kids soo…. Does this sentence even need to be finished?

We live here. I mean LIVE here. They aren’t in school yet, we don’t have a play room. All the living and playing that a 5, 3, and 1 year old do happens right in my living room and dining room.

A beautifully staged coffee table isn’t going to happen. The living room floor is meant for wrestling matches, Legos, block towers, cooking and pretending to be Tim Howard.


We have an Ikea Hemnes bookshelf, the bottom two shelves hold kid toys, the boxes hold papers/keepsakes that are waiting to be properly dealt with and the other three shelves are mine to play with.

The bookshelf toy bins were canvas bins (as pictured below), and they were barely standing up after all the love the kids had given them.


That coupled with a little rearranging elsewhere (we will get to that later), left me with 6 baskets I could use for the kid’s toys. This toy basket transfer meant going through toys and I was able to get rid of quite a bit. I always like a good mini-purge.



These baskets are a little bit more shallow, but that works better. The kids can actually see in them and reach into them without taking them off the shelf. We cannot store as much, but that is okay–We do not need all the things.

The new baskets, meant a fresh start. Money is tight and new things and big projects just aren’t in the budget. Sometimes you just have to work with what you have. That is the fun part of styling a bookshelf–it is all about working with what you have.

I emptied the whole thing out. Sometimes, you just have to start fresh.


And then I loaded it back up. Rearranging, shifting, stacking, leaning….until it looked right.


I collect globes. I have five–so that constitutes a collection, right?


I made two of the boxes. You can find the gold foil flower one here and the gold jeweled one here. The woven coaster basket is from our honeymoon. The awesome classics with cool fabric covers were a gift from the husband for my birthday. Our family in cross stitch is from my SIL, Julie. It was an awesome Christmas present. The wooden crate was something Quinn got at the farmer’s market with his grandparents. Mancala stays out, because I taught Quinn to play and we love to sneak in games when we can.




My other secret to adding personality to your home when you have children is pillows! They can’t hurt themselves on them or break them and they are useful and easy enough to switch out. I even made this pillow in honor of them. Do you have a space to style or decorate? How do you bring some of YOU into your home?


  • Sarah Parker

    I just love your style of decor! It’s classy, a bit trendy, but still fun and LIVEable. I didn’t catch where you found your baskets… Could you recommend any great places for baskets in general? I have the hardest time finding the “perfect” sized baskets (that look great too, of course) for my needs. Also… that awesome rug! I’d love to know where it came from. I have tons more questions, but I’ll stop prying now, lol.

    Thanks for sharing & congrats on buying that swimsuit! 😉

    • Megan Bray

      Thank you. The baskets are from Target– they call them a “small milk crate”. I talked about the rug in another post, it is from Rugs USA. Hope that helps!