VICE may receive a commission if you buy products through the links on our site. Read more here.

I Found $20 Dupes for Those Sexy 70s Scandi Floating Shelves

People keep mistaking my Wayfair floating shelves for the absurdly expensive, mid-century modern shelving company, Vitsœ.
vitsoe floating shelves dupes on wayfair
Composite by VICE Staff

I’m addicted to zhuzhing. Every morning, I peep Etsy and Facebook Marketplace for vintage furniture, scope out Instagram hashtags such as #1970shouse, and continue my insatiable hunt for sexy decor that I like to call Best New Treat. I regularly swap out my side tables, sniff out Kartell Componibili drawers on Amazon, and end the day by walking around the house à la Frasier Crane, setting my tchotchkes slightly ajar, and smiling at them by my faux-Noguchi lamp light. Therein lies the thrill of le zhuz: You don't just buy new home decor—you perfect your vision, and then find the best dupes and deals on designer pieces to save a little dough. I’ve found subs and steals for everything from designer Japanese lamps to Moroccan rugs, but for years, my white whale has been finding a look-alike for the painfully chic—and absurdly expensive—Vitsœ floating shelves:

Advertisement

Vitsœ (pronounced vit-sue) is an iconic Danish furniture and design company that was founded by the über-chic, often-turtlenecked Niels Vitsœ in 1959. The futuristic brand soared to popularity thanks to its trademark modular bookshelves, which Vitsœ calls “the bookshelf that will outlive you.” (How bold—how Scandi noir!) In the words of one reviewer, “They are the utility equivalent of the kind of wine you drink on special occasions.” They just look so effortlessly cool with every kind of decor, and seemed perfect for my fantasy of covering an entire wall in books. 

The genius of Vitsœ is in its spartan, utilitarian design. “I love my Vitsœ,” said another customer, “[because] even when it’s a mess, it looks tidy.” That’s the magic of the floating bookshelf look in general: It cuts a clean visual because there’s absolutely no bulk other than your beautiful books. That being said, not all floating shelves are made equal; even the most minimal of floating shelves can give me first-apartment IKEA whiplash. Not Vitsœ, though—its hard-ass, mid-century design shines through. Unfortunately, just as I resolved to smash that order button on my Scandi babies, I realized the price tag: Over $100 per shelf [balloon deflates]. So I did a bit of sneaking and sleuthing—and that’s where Wayfair came in, as it always does, with some promising metal look-alikes. I found that the brand Latitude Run made shelves that looked very similar, in both black and white colorways, priced at a little more than $20 per shelf:

Advertisement

$189.99 at Wayfair

$189.99 at Wayfair

$109.99$99.99 at Wayfair

$109.99$99.99 at Wayfair

Would they light up my life as much as I hoped? Could they zhuzh my living room with ease, despite the fact that I’m not that handy with a drill? I was about to find out. Here’s my breakdown on the set, from love-at-first-click to how well the shelves are holding up four months after installation.

Shipping and assembly

First, a moment of appreciation for Wayfair in general. This home decor, appliance, and furniture site is a serious contender for Amazon’s crown, because not only does it offer free and fast shipping—sans membership fee—but the company is constantly releasing new collections such as Steelside (think industrialism meets mid-century modern) and Japandi aesthetic pieces. If there’s a design dupe you’re looking for, odds are Wayfair has it, along with loads of customer-uploaded photos. I’ve ordered mirrors and stools from the site before, and they always arrived within a week. 

On to the task at hand. I ordered a bundle of eight shelves, and while they all arrived together, each one was packaged with clear instructions and a miniature level. Luckily, my roommate also ordered this handy, cordless drill for about $20 on Amazon, which I am happy to confirm is also idiot-proof and perfect for all your mild home-installation needs.

Advertisement

$23.99 at Amazon

$23.99 at Amazon

Now, I cannot stress enough how much of a cretin I am when it comes to home improvement; I can barely draw a straight line with a ruler, and I used mime face paint to patch up nail holes when moving out of my last apartment. That being said, these shelves have but 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 install with the help of a friend, and they sure look good basking in the light of my sunset lamp.

IMG-8251.jpg

Photo by the Author

One of the things I love about the Vitsœ look is that it’s so customizable, and this set was just as gratifying to map out on our wall as I imagined it would be. My roommate and I decided to install the shelves in relatively tight rows of two-by-two, and filled them up with all of our folios, CDs, wumbo anthologies, and more with ease—knowing that it would be NBD to move them around should we change our mind or bring new art into the apartment. 

TL; DR

Living in a small space in New York City, you have to be careful not to clutter your apartment. That being said, my ideal home is a blend of 1977 pleasure palace, hobbit hole, Carl Sagan’s “spaceship” from Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, and the mid-century Scandinavian home of a sociology professor who just hit tenure. What that means is: shag rugs, teak, amber ashtrays, and an entire wall filled with books, and these Vitsœ shelf doppelgangers definitely exceeded my expectations for the latter; they were a dream in terms of design and installation experience. They’re almost addicting—like LEGOs for adults, because they’re totally fool-proof, and have not moved an inch since we installed them four months ago. But the real triumph? Hearing a house guest say, “Damn, nice Vitsœs” and leaving them none the wiser. 


The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.