'These are the custom living room finishes you didn't know you wanted', according to designer Shea McGee

We're all-in for these stunning features, ranging from fireplace fluting to stealthy speakers

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

Shea McGee knows how to assemble a minimalistic yet characterful space like the back of her hand – and she's built a successful interior design business and stylish homeware brand that champion her signature look. And while there's no shortage of spaces to take inspiration from on Shea's social media feed, a recent deep dive into living room finishing touches has us paying extra attention.

The interior designer just took to Instagram to share the three 'custom living room finishes you didn't know you needed – until now,' and all three contribute to a timeless 'modern charm' aesthetic we can't get enough of. These are the custom finishes Shea says you'll be itching to introduce in your own space.

Shea speaks to the camera in a warm and inviting living room surrounded by a patterned area rug and tall, vaulted ceilings. And while you'd never guess after a quick glance, the first custom finish Shea points out is hidden between the ceiling's timber beams. Upon closer examination, you'll find 'custom, hand-painted speaker panels that blend in perfectly with the stained wood ceiling,' she says.

Custom speaker systems have become a go-to luxury addition in elegant homes, but the equipment can be quite bulky – and speaker panels take away from otherwise sleek finishes. But in this clever design, the speaker panels blend in stealthily with the natural wood ceiling, making for a functional and aesthetically pleasing final look. Customize this look to fit within your own space – whether your ceiling's painted white or carries a more intricate pattern, a disguised speaker panel goes quite a long way.

The second show-stopping custom finish Shea points out in this space is the fireplace – a feature that caught our eye from the very beginning of the video. The white fireplace has a prominent place in the living room, and the detailing doesn't let the rest of the space down. The fixture is plastered, 'with a fluting detail that curves inward,' says Shea. 

Providing a bit of an optical illusion, the curved fluting effortlessly draws the eye. And while a fireplace already adds character to a space, this detailing provides an extra dose of character and charm. Get creative with your custom fireplace detailing, and tailor this design detail to match with your personal design style.

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.

For the third custom feature, Shea got creative with the living room's built-in cabinets, lining each individual shelf with Calcutta marble to replace than the original wood surface. This simple yet intricate touch takes the shelving to a whole new level without much change to the overall design scheme.

This trick from Shea opens up so many design possibilities for other areas of the home, from bathroom shelving to bookshelves. For example, in this living room, pictured above, green built-in bookshelves benefit from the occasional natural wood finish on the shelves themselves. By playing with expectations and serving as an unexpected design element, this custom finish elevates any living space.

It's safe to say Shea's prediction was correct – we're all in on all three of these custom living room finishes. Whether you're looking for a quick shelving upgrade or a sleek solution for hiding away a speaker system, Shea's supplied a lovely selection of finishing touches fit for any living room.

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.