Shea McGee says this hanging art hack 'sounds crazy', but the final look exudes bookshelf wealth

Here's how to bring the art hanging hack home

Shea McGee in her kitchen
(Image credit: Studio McGee)

If 2024's collected and characterful 'bookshelf wealth' trend taught us anything, it's that bookshelves and artwork are the perfect pairing. Loading bookshelves up with your favorite volumes makes for a lived-in look that designers love, but it's the decorative accents and accessories that truly elevate any library-inspired room.

Working with clients who have a penchant for quality artwork, star designer Shea McGee was recently tasked with integrating pieces of art throughout an entire home – needless to say, she got creative. And luckily, Shea took to social media to share the results. Though she admits it 'sounds crazy,' this is the hack for decorating with art that has quickly become one of Shea's favorites, plus how to get the look at home.

'Our clients love collecting artwork, and we worked together to find artists that really spoke with them and commissioned quite a few pieces in the home. And there is art everywhere – we have gallery walls and individual pieces,' says Shea, in a video showing off her clients' finished living room design.

On the room's sleek, off-white, built-in cabinets, you can find all the usual living space accessories. From stacks of coffee table books to sculptural vases, each shelf is considered and curated – a skill Shea has down without question. But the feature Shea spotlights here is a bit unexpected: artwork hanging on the shelves themselves.

'One of my favorite things to do when displaying art is actually to hang a piece of art over a bookcase. I know it sounds crazy, but the end result is absolutely stunning. It feels more designer because it feels like you broke a rule, but it totally works,' says Shea.

Shea McGee
Shea McGee

Interior designer, Shea McGee founded her iconic design firm, Studio McGee, with her husband Syd in 2014. They later launched their e-commerce brand, McGee & Co, and starred in their very own Netflix show, Dream Home Makeover.

This unique method of giving artwork the attention it deserves took the design world by storm early this year when bookshelf wealth-inspired interiors were all the rage. And though the library excitement has lessened in recent months, this is one feature of the trend that's sure to stand the test of time. It lends sophistication and personality to any room of the house, and makes bookshelves stand out for more than just their contents.

In this living room, the art's understated neutral tones beautifully accompany Shea's signature 'modern charm' style. Though the foundation is pared-back and minimalistic, warm colors and textures bring a homey, cozy atmosphere that's hard to beat. The picture frame brings its own subtle pop of color while sticking with the room's defining color scheme.

Bookshelf ideas for living rooms with armchair

(Image credit: Oka)

The best part about this literary-inspired method is that it's so easily personalized, fitting easily into any home's overall aesthetic. Customize the frame, shelving, design accessories, or artwork itself to make the look match your personality and design style. In this cozy living space, pictured above, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are given an added touch of luxury, donning an ornate gold picture frame. A comfortable armchair and warm table lamp complete the look.

Shea proves time and time again that her transitional, organic modern design style is built to last, and this clever, unexpected trick is no exception. If you're after an enduring bookshelf wealth interior that exudes charm and sophistication, this simple hack will take you such a long way.

Abby Wilson
News Writer

I am a News Writer at Homes & Gardens, with a focus on interior design. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.