Serena Williams masters this stylish shelving trend – interior designers explain how

Open-concept shelving can be difficult, but Serena Williams isn't one to back down from a challenge

serena williams in black outfit
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After welcoming her second child into the world, Adira River Ohanian, Serena Williams is likely ready for some downtime at home with her husband Alexis Ohanian. Luckily, the tennis player's absolutely gorgeous Miami home provides the perfect oasis for relaxation. The beauty of the home is owed to many clever design choices, the least of which is her stylish and beautifully decorated shelves.

Serena's modern wooden shelves are stained in a dark espresso color. Diagonal beams break up the shelves for a stylish, asymmetrical look. Across the shelves, books have been laid both vertically and horizontally, organized by color. The layout leaves the space minimal and highlights the beauty of the sleek shelves. Interior designers love this living room shelving idea.

First, experts are a fan of the fact that Serena has chosen open-concept shelving for her home. Camie Anderson, interior designer at ARDEN + SIENA, says, ' A benefit of open shelving in a living room is it adds both visual interest and functional storage while keeping a light and open feeling.' She continues, 'Traditional case good pieces tend to create a visual weight or heaviness, employing open shelving is a great alternative to create an open and light feeling.'

camie and bryan anderson interior designers at Arden and siena
Camie Anderson

Camie founded ARDEN + SIENA in 2014 with her contractor husband in Seattle, WA. Together, they run a full-service interior design firm run that brings a hands-on approach merging old world and new world rooted in our studies of the history of design and furniture to the incorporation of modern technology.

Lindsay Tan, an NCIDQ-qualified interior designer with almost 20 years of experience, adds 'Open concept shelves can feel less heavy, making them great for smaller spaces. Styled right, they place the visual emphasis on your books and treasured objects rather than the shelves.'

lindsay tan design
Lindsay Tan

Lindsay Tan is an NCIDQ-qualified interior designer with almost 20 years of experience. She gives people an immersive look at the extraordinary power of design in everyday life, in the headlines, and at the heart of our most pressing global challenges.

Designers also love the way that Serena Williams has styled her books in a minimalist and intentional way. Designer Camie Anderson states, 'When styling open shelving, we like to take cues from the design style of the space. One way we like to arrange books is by color - organizing books to flow in a rainbow order adds visual interest.' She continues, 'Storing large coffee table books horizontally creates a nice place to feature a decor piece.

Lindsay Tan endorses the alternating placement of Serena's books stating, 'You can create a dynamic rhythm by mixing groups of books in vertical and horizontal orientations. Then intersperse some décor, but leave plenty of negative space to maintain a curated look.' The negative space is essential in Serena's space, where the absence of too many books allows the gorgeous shelves to shine.


Now that your head is full of bookshelf ideas it's time to get started on bringing your dream shelving to life. We even found a lookalike for Serena's modern bookshelves at Home Depot, below, if you want to emulate the greatest tennis player of all time herself. 

Sophie Edwards
News Editor

Sophie is a London-based News Editor at Homes & Gardens, where she works on the Celebrity Style team. She is fascinated by the intersection of design and popular culture and is particularly excited when researching trends or interior history. Sophie is an avid pop culture fan. As an H&G editor, she has interviewed the likes of Martha Stewart, Hilary Duff, and the casts of Queer Eye and Selling Sunset.

Before joining Future Publishing, Sophie worked as the Head of Content and Communications at Fig Linens and Home, a boutique luxury linens and furniture brand. She has also written features on exciting developments in the design world for Westport Magazine. Sophie has an MSc from the Oxford University Department of Anthropology and a BA in Creative Writing and Sociology from Sarah Lawrence College.