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Ideas & Inspiration

Shelving Ideas

Wall Shelf Ideas: Unique Shelf Supports
Wall-mounted shelves holding small storage boxes and decor.

The familiar wall-mounted shelves can take on new life when you rethink the makeup of the shelf brackets. Rather than the typical L-shaped resting spot, fashion shelf supports out of pipe or rope to add interest and open up your decor options. 

Wall Shelf Ideas: Painted Brackets
Wood wall shelf with a brushed metal triangle bracket.

Add visual interest to even a standard shelf bracket. A plain steel shelf support can be painted to blend in or stand out against your decor. More highly designed versions also exist, such as the popular scrollwork and oil-rubbed bronze finishes.

Wall Shelf Ideas: Wooden Brackets
A wood shelf with carved wood shelf brackets holding white candlesticks and small decor items.

There are also plain and carved wood versions of shelf brackets if you lean toward more natural elements in your decor. These can be stained to highlight the beauty of the wood grain.

Wall Shelf Ideas: Floating Shelves
A white floating shelf with a vase and several small personal items on it.

Floating shelves make a striking addition to decor. Attached by hidden shelf supports, they appear to float artistically over the walls, and display without any visual interference. They are great for showing off art and small collections, and extra-reinforced styles of the shelf can be used as bookshelves. 

Safety: Pay careful attention to the manufacturer's instructions regarding weight limits. Going over the limit could result in the shelf failing, causing all of the items on it to crash to the ground.

Corner Shelf Ideas: Basic Radial Shelf
A brown wood corner shelf containing a small statue and a photo frame.

Corner shelves turn the meetings of walls from wasted space into practical and decorative extra space. From bedrooms to bathrooms, the corner shelf can help clear up clutter as well as blend in easily with established design schemes. 

While the most common design is the standard radial corner shelf, which looks like a quarter of a pizza and neatly bridges the gap between the two wall planes, there are other configurations that fit into that space.

Corner Shelf Ideas: Glass Shelves
A brown wood corner shelf containing a small statue and a photo frame.

Glass corner shelves, whether floating or in a standing unit, seem to disappear against the background. The airy look of the shelves puts the focus on the display items on the shelf and the more prominent design elements in the room.

Corner Shelf Ideas: L-Shaped Shelves
An L-shaped floating shelf holding two magazine storage boxes and small decor items.

L-shaped open shelving is great in a kitchen. The ability to store vertically is useful for keeping kitchen tools and ingredients close at hand. 

To avoid a cluttered look, items on the shelves should be carefully considered. A collection of matching airtight storage jars for spices and dried goods is essential, as is a container for kitchen tools large enough to store everything you use regularly in one place.

Corner Shelf Ideas: Floating Box Shelves
Two box floating shelves holding decor items are mounted to a wall decorated with star wallpaper.

A 90-degree angle box-shape is an interesting twist on the traditional design and incorporates a natural element into the room's look. Changing the style of wood and thickness of the frame lets this shape adapt to match decor from farmhouse to Scandinavian.

Storage Shelving Ideas: Slotted Shelving Systems
A closet shelving system with integrated drawers and hanger bars.

Slotted shelving systems have the advantage of being highly functional and adjustable, but the visible track often derails a design scheme. These work best in closets or behind cabinet doors. 

Tip: Painting the wall behind in a matching color can help diminish the visual impact of the track. Choose an elegant wood system or paint shelves in a color that pops.

Storage Shelving Ideas: Built-In Shelving
Two white built-in shelves surrounding a fireplace in a living room.

Built-in shelving is not only elegant looking, but also useful, turning any existing alcove or recess into storage space. Space that would have been wasted is now flexible storage space, allowing for different depths of shelves to be employed within the same space and leaving both floor and wall space available for other decor pieces.

Storage Shelving Ideas: Free-Standing Shelves
A free-standing shelf unit holding books, art and various small decor items against a green wall.

Free-standing shelves easily work into any decor because of the wide variety of designs, colors and sizes in which they are available. They are easily moved to different areas around the home and don’t require dismantling as a wall shelf might, and they can easily be relocated if you move. 

In homes where space is at a premium, however, more than one or two of these units might start to feel cramped. From a strictly storage aspect, a unit with doors as part of its makeup can be a lifesaver to hide clutter and maintain a sleek look. If you intend to devote some space to display, some open shelves in the unit are desirable. 

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