America Ferrera's living room shelving is a designer-favorite – here's how to recreate the look with ease

The Barbie actress's living room shelves are a major inspiration

america ferrera
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With the rise of more personalized interior design, open-concept shelves have become a go-to. America Ferrera is an early adopter of the tasteful, maximalist trend. Photos of the actress's living room reveal a wall of built-in shelves, artfully lined with framed pictures, shell boxes, books, and vases.

Interior designers are obsessed with America Ferrera's living room decor. Home expert David Lindley states: 'Open-concept shelves can add more visual interest to a room by breaking up the large expanses of a wall and allowing curated displays of objects, books, and other bits of decor. The objects inside the shelf are easily accessible, making it easier to change the display or use the objects. These open-concept shelves optimize vertical space, making them a great addition to smaller living rooms where floor space is limited. 

david lindley at By Design
David Lindley

Design home expert David Lindley has over 13 years in the property sector. He is a specialist in the marketing and sale of luxury residential property with a keen eye for detail and interior design. With By Design, David has created a network of the UK’s leading, independent estate agents, specialising in curating beautiful premium homes across the nation, helping luxury homes find their perfect buyers.

He continues, 'The open living room shelves also create an open and airy feel that can make a room seem larger. This style of shelving is easy to personalize by showcasing your interests, style, and personality by what you choose to display.'

Furthermore, according to Ksenya Malina, New York-based interior designer and founder of Time & Place Interiors, built-in shelves are a great way to turn your objects into art when you have limited storage space. She states: 'If tucking away all your belongings isn’t possible, fear not: you can display belongings in artful tableaux. Books, toys, kitchen utensils, and other mundane household items can be gathered into groups, interspersed with decorative objects, on open shelves, or even stacked neatly on the floor. This is designed for real life.'

Ksenya Malina
Ksenya Malina

Ksenya Malina is the founder of Time & Place Interiors, a New York-based interior design studio focusing on mixing vintage + modern for homeowners seeking to elevate their space.

For those hoping to decorate their shelves, interior designers caution to pay attention to negative space. David says, 'You don't want to ruin the elegance of the open shelf by making it crowded and cluttered - you should strive for a calm and balanced appearance. I'd also mix vertically and horizontally stacked books for a bit of visual variety - you can add a similar effect by varying the heights of the books and surrounding decor items. Consider interspersing these stacks with decorative items to break up the uniformity of the books.'

Ksenya Malina adds: ' Things tend to look good in pairs or groups. Experiment with ensembles formed with decorative and functional objects, even if they’re unrelated: vases, pitchers, jars, seashells – whatever you have around the house. Put them into clusters that share a color or tone, a shape, or a material.' She continues, 'To make the vignette intentional, display objects in a confined space like in a shelf niche or on a tray. A natural boundary is easier on the eye than tchotchkes strewn around the room.'

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Whether you want to create a mini-museum, figure out how to display your books, or just make your space feel larger and brighter, built-in living room shelves are a great idea.

Sophie Edwards
News Writer

I am a London-based News Writer at Homes & Gardens. My interests lie at the intersection of design and popular culture with a particular focus on trends and celebrity homes. Before joining Future, I worked as a Content Writer and Communications Lead for Fig Linens and Home, a luxury linens and home interiors brand based in Fairfield County, CT. I have a BA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and an MSc from the Oxford University Department of Anthropology.