How to Style a White Cube Storage Unit in a Study

January 10, 2022

Anderson Cube Storage Unit - Oak Effect With Grey Cupboards

You’re on a journey to a brand new study. One that's cosy, welcoming and smells like paperback.

The first thing you bought was a white cube unit to arrange those books that have been under your bed for months.

Now it’s sitting in your study, staring at you like a blinking cursor. You have no idea where to begin.

How do they do it? Those gorgeous rooms on Instagram. How does everyone else make their shelves so cute that one wants to pull out a blanket and live between those books?

Styling cube furniture starts like any other new venture—challenging. However, it's not impossible, and you don't need a home stylist to get it done.

So take a deep breath. Clean your shelves. Gather your favourite reads and get ready for that dream transformation.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Establish a theme for Your Storage Solution

Personalised Cubes
Storage Boxes
The Natural Habitat

Step 2: Shelving with Rhythm

Colour and Height Patterns
Creating Rhythm in Line with Your Chosen Theme

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Storage Cubes Different From Bookshelves?
What Are the Types of Cube Furniture?
How Should I Position my Cube Storage Unit?

Got Other Dreams? Let’s Bring Them to Life

Step 1: Establish a Theme for Your Storage Solution

Establish a Theme for Your Storage Solution

Take your mind off the books for a minute. Imagine this piece of furniture is a canvas and you’re the artist. Before you pick a brush, you’d know what you want to paint, right? That’s how styling a shelf works too.

Before loading books into the cubes, pause. Think of a few different themes, then decide on one or two. What sort of magic do you want to create in this space? Which story do you want to tell? What ambience do you want it to have?

There are an endless number of themes you could choose, but let's name a few:

Personalised Cubes

A house on its own is just a house; it's up to us to make it homely. What better way to achieve this than with personal effects?

Dig out memoirs, photo albums or family heirlooms; items that bring warmth to your heart no matter how bored or down you feel.

Here are some tips on styling your shelves with personal effects:

  • Use Polaroid photos instead of regular tags to label each shelf (for example, a plant photo for books on horticulture).
  • Frame quotes from your favourite books and authors to keep you inspired. Short poems and motivations also work.
  • Place family pictures (with decorative frames) in a cube or two.

Storage Boxes

For those books that don't follow a colour pattern. The magazines that never seem to look tidy no matter how hard you try.

We understand how annoying this can be, so we came up with a solution—storage boxes. They’re an ideal way to maintain super-duper organisation in your cube shelving.

Even if you have nothing to store inside, you can still use storage boxes to fill empty spaces and prevent a bare look.

Some of our cube units are sold with box drawers, but they’re also sold independently.

Testimonial from Alicia Simpson

“I love that you can buy extra storage boxes for the cube units. Well made."

Lynne King, Laura James customer.

Pink is a great colour to complement a white unit.
Shop our white 9-cube storage unit and pink box drawers set.

Cara fabric box Shades:

The Natural Habitat

Plants. Don't they always breathe life into the spaces they occupy?

But it can become a bore when they're simply sitting in flower pots all over the house.

How about shaking things up a little? You know that messy-in-an-attractive-way look? Like a tousled ponytail or an intentional splash on a painting? You can replicate that concept using your plants and cube furniture:

  • Collect hanging flowers like the Pothos ivy, English ivy or Artificial tradescantia.
  • Place them on upper shelves, but not in a uniform pattern. Allow them to sort of “drip” to lower shelves. Kind of messy, but still organised and attractive.
  • Alternatively, wrap them around the edges of the whole furniture.

Step 2: Shelving with Rhythm

Now you know what you want to “paint” on this supposed canvas. You’ve bought the products. The next question is, how will you pull off your concept in a way that isn't visually chaotic?

This is the most technical part of styling. Homeowners often execute their ideas without paying attention to form or rhythm. In the end, the design looks cluttered and unappealing.

When you arrange your books strategically, there’s harmony. Even at times when your cube unit isn't its tidiest, it remains visually appealing.

Our Anderson Oak 6-Cube Unit with a neutral coloured pattern

Colour and Height Patterns

The first step to establishing a rhythm is to organise your books into colour groups.

Each group of colours may have different shades, so further arrange each shade into a sub-group.

Pink, for instance, may include deep pink, soft pink and baby pink. Stack like shades together. If you have more than one soft pink book, stack them side by side before introducing the next shade.

Expert Tip: When grouping into colours, consider only the colours of one part of your books—the spine. This is the part that will be visible in cube shelving.

We understand that you may have books with differing colours, so here's a hack—the 60-30-10 rule. This is an interior styling principle where one colour is dominant (60%). The second colour is 30% and the last is 10%.

If your biggest colour group is red, that will be your 60%.

Place 2–3 of the prominent coloured books in each cube. Then, to make a statement, place a big red item in the centre cube of the middle column. Like a lamp, storage box or coffee maker.

This way, the whole unit screams red, while the 30 and 10 percent colours act as tones/highlights.

After shelving your books in colour groups, arrange them by height. You can combine horizontal and vertical layouts. Position some in the middle, some to the left and others to the right.

Creating Rhythm in Line with Your Chosen Theme

Sometimes height and colour placement will depend on what theme you're working with. While the above are general rules that apply to almost all themes, some themes need a little more detail.

With the coffee and box drawer themes, you can create a striped effect when grouping colours:

  • Arrange all coffee items/boxes in the middle cubes.
  • Stack neutral book colours in the left columns.
  • Stack brighter book colours in the right columns.

Going with the personalized furniture theme? Place tall photo frames and artwork toward the back of the cube to balance out their height. Don’t fill out all the backspace, though! A little bare space maintains lighter composition and less visual clutter.

Other ideas:

  • Display a small decorative item, like a trinket box, on horizontally stacked books.
  • Candles, fragrances and short frames can also be placed in front of vertically stacked books.
  • If your cube unit has height, place a large decorative mirror on the top shelving.
  • Using decorative trays for your tea items? Gold and silver-plated trays look magnificent against white shelves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Storage Cubes Different From Bookshelves?

Yes. A bookshelf is strictly used for stacking books, but a cube unit is a multifunctional piece of home furniture. Homeowners may use them to organise other items like dishware, shoes and clothes.

What Are the Types of Cube Furniture?

Cube units can either be open back or closed back. They also vary in terms of size and number of cubes.

How Should I Position my Cube Storage Unit?

Open back storage cubes are better placed against a wall. This way, the “wrong” side isn't visible, and you can decorate the walls behind.

But if you’re keen on accessing the content of your cube furniture from both sides, ensure that your front styling is mirrored nicely from behind.

Got Other Dreams? Let’s Bring Them to Life

We told you we were going to make your study space come alive. Are you ready to start living the dream?

But wait a minute. What about chairs, study desks and other furniture that all make up an ideal home office? Wouldn't you want to equip your study with those too?

Laura James office furniture is stylish, lightweight, and long-lasting; just what you need.

“Needed a desk for working at home. Great price and excellent quality desk easy to put together. Large enough for my needs looks great and a very competitive price. Great delivery times."

Mrs SM Graham Laura James customer.

We’re glad to keep dishing out tips on how to style your new furniture—and not just in your study. We can help throughout your entire home.

Modern home office with white corner computer desk

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