“Here’s a color that’s fun but still a neutral. It’s spa-like when paired with white accents, but you could easily dial it up by adding poppy coral accessories.” — Marika Meyer, Marika Meyer Interiors, Bethesda, MD
Not sure what to showcase on shelves? First, consider what you love. Your interests and hobbies should come through in your accessory choices, says Debbie Wiener, an interior designer in Silver Spring, Md., who helps homeowners create spaces reflective of their everyday lives. "Kids' framed artwork, books, decorative plates, baseball cards or boomerang collections. Your home should look like you," Debbie says. Take stock of vacation mementos, crafts and items you're drawn to time and again when assembling accessories for a shelf arrangement. Design by Emily Henderson.
Waste not, want not: Instead of heading to the lumber yard, more and more furniture designers are looking to the past for their materials. This Reclaimed Wood Kitchen Island, $475, from Herb’s Furnishings is one great example. Handcrafted of 100% reclaimed wood from Baltimore, Md., the island’s frame is crafted from old beams, and its shelves are reclaimed pine paneling. The butcher's block top is made of reclaimed hardwood flooring, which is sealed with food-safe mineral oil and beeswax. The island sits on leveling stems to ensure a flat cutting surface, and it includes a steel bar with S hooks for hanging pots and other utensils.