I am addicted to zhuzhing. Every morning I look on Etsy and Facebook Marketplace for vintage furniture, I search for Instagram hashtags such as #1970house, and continue my insatiable hunt for the sexy decor I like to call Best New Treat. I regularly swap my side tables, smell the Kartell Componibili drawers on Amazonand end the day walking around the house to the Fraier Crane, opening my tchotchkes slightly and smiling at them in the light of my fake Noguchi lamp. Therein lies the thrill of the zhuz: You’re not just buying new home decor, you’re perfecting your vision, then finding the best dupes and deals on designer pieces to save some cash. I found subs and flights for all of designer japanese lamps for Moroccan rugsbut for years my white whale has found a doppelganger for the painfully chic and absurdly expensive Vitsœ floating shelves:
Vitsoe (pronounced vit-sue) is an iconic Danish furniture and design company that was founded by the über-chic, often turtleneck Niels Vitsoe in 1959. The futuristic brand gained popularity with its iconic modular shelving, which Vitsœ calls “the shelf that will outlive you”. (What audacity, what black Scandi!) In the words of a critic, “They’re the utilitarian equivalent of the type of wine you drink on special occasions.” They look so effortlessly cool with all types of decor and seemed perfect for my fantasy of covering an entire wall in books.
The genius of Vitsœ lies in its spartan and utilitarian design. “Love my Vitsœ,” said another customer, “[because] even when it’s messy, it looks tidy. That’s the magic of the floating bookshelf look in general: it creates a clean visual because there’s absolutely no bulk other than your beautiful books. That being said, not all floating shelves are created equal; same the most minimal floating shelves can give me the IKEA boost of the first apartment. Not Vitsoe, though – its tough mid-century design shines through. Unfortunately, just when I decided to smash that order button on my Scandi babies, I realized the price: over $100 per shelf. [balloon deflates]. So I did a bit of stealth and detective – and that’s where Wayfair stepped in, as it always does, with promising metal lookalikes. I found that the Latitude Run brand made shelves that looked very similar, in black and white colorways, priced at just over $20 per shelf:
Would they light up my life as much as I hoped? Could they easily zhuzh my living room, despite the fact that I am not very skilled with a drill? I was about to find out. Here’s my breakdown on the shelf, from love at first click to holding the shelves four months after installation.
Shipping and Assembly
First, a moment of appreciation for Wayfair in general. This home décor, appliances, and furniture site is a strong contender for Amazon’s crown because not only does it offer fast, free shipping — with no membership fees — but the company is constantly releasing new collections like steel side (think industrialism meets mid-century modern) and Japanese aesthetic rooms. If you’re looking for a design dupe, chances are Wayfair has it, along with plenty of customer-uploaded photos. I’ve ordered mirrors and stools from the site before, and they’ve always arrived within a week.
Let’s get to the task at hand. I ordered a set of eight shelves, and although they all arrived together, each was packaged with clear instructions and a miniature level. Luckily my roommate also ordered this handy cordless drill for around $20 off Amazon, which I’m happy to confirm is also idiot proof and perfect for all your light home installation needs.
Now, I can’t stress enough that I’m a home improvement moron; I can barely draw a straight line with a ruler, and I used mime face paint fix nail holes when moving out of my last apartment. That being said, these shelves only have two holes each…easy!—for drilling, and come with everything you need (minus the drill). All in all, it took me about an hour to set it up with the help of a friend, and they look great basking in my lamplight at sunset.
One of the things I love about the Vitsœ look is that it’s so customizable, and this set was just as rewarding to plot on our wall as I imagined. My roommate and I decided to set up the shelves in relatively tight rows of two-by-twos, and fill them with all of our folios, CDs, wumbo anthologies, and more easily, knowing it would be NBD to move them. should we change our minds or bring some new art into the apartment.
Living in a small space in New York, you have to be careful not to clutter up your apartment. That being said, my ideal home is a mix of 1977 pleasure palace, hobbit hole, Carl Sagan’s “spaceship” from Cosmos: a personal journey, and the mid-century Scandinavian home of a newly tenured sociology professor. What that means is: shag carpets, teak, amber ashtrays and an entire wall full of books, and these Vitsœ shelf lookalikes definitely exceeded my expectations for the latter; they were a dream in terms of design and installation experience. They’re almost addictive, like LEGOs for adults, because they’re completely foolproof and haven’t moved an inch since we installed them four months ago. But the real triumph? Hearing a house guest say, “Shit, nice Vitsœs” and not leaving them any the wiser.
Rec Room staff independently curated all items featured in this story.