Shelving is probably the most useful of all storage solutions – it can hold pretty much anything you want it to, it can be put up almost anywhere in the house and it is also usually cheaper to buy (and easier to install) than any other form of storage such as wardrobes or drawer units. However, it does have one disadvantage – its contents are clearly visible.
You can fill a cupboard to the brim with junk but once the door is closed you can trick house guests into thinking you’re one of those mythical creatures whose home is always spotless and tidy. With shelves, if the bits and bobs you put on them are not perfectly arranged, stored in stylish boxes or at least colour coordinated (and let’s face it, who really has the time to do that?) then the mess is in plain view for all to see.
Luckily, there are some ways you can make shelving more attractive. It’s all about making a feature out of the shelves themselves, so that people notice those first and the items on them second (or, hopefully, never). Here are 5 unusual shelving ideas for a stylish and unique look:
1. Slanted Shelves
Whoever said shelves had to be straight, or parallel to each other? Of course, angled shelves might not be the best idea for those precious vases that are going to slip right off, but for books they’re perfect. You can either opt for custom-made shelves with an ‘L’ shape, or buy standard shelves and screw a decorative book-end securely at one end.
Then pop them on the wall at crazy angles and pop a row of books on top – the book-end or ‘L’ will stop them from falling right off the end and your friends are certain to comment on this unusual, modern shelving idea next time they pop round for a cup of tea (or espresso if you’re trying to appear as modern and sophisticated as your new shelves).
2. Floating Wardrobe
If you’re anything like me (i.e. a girl) you probably have hundreds of pretty dresses that you’d love to sit and stare at all day, except that they’re all hidden away in your wardrobe. So, why not combine the features of a wardrobe with the idea behind shelving systems, and put up a floating wardrobe?
All you need to do is install some matching shelves, drawer units and a rail together on one wall, then add your clothes (and yes, this is one where I do have time to colour coordinate them all) and you’ll not only have an eye-catching wall piece, it will also be ten times easier to find what you’re looking for in the morning!
Standard, long, straight shelves are so passé. The new shelf takes inspiration from the traditional storage box – or rather, it is the traditional storage box, just screwed to the wall. For a minimalist finish, pick out some simple boxes and fix them to the wall in a row or grid, with the open bit facing the front rather than the top, or for a more eclectic look pick out a selection of randomly sized and patterned boxes and position them also randomly up the wall
4. Stacked Tables
Thanks to their flat surfaces, table tops also make perfect shelves. If you have some old tables you’re thinking of throwing away, why not saw them in half, paint them a bright colour and pop them on the wall. Take a look at this amazing desk-and-shelves combination made from recycled tables for a bit of inspiration! Alternatively, buy a set of matching tables (or at least ones the same size) and stack them up, then screw together securely. You’ll be left with a unique shelving unit that also features some handy drawers, assuming the tables you used had built-in drawers of course.
5. Custom Shapes
For those with a higher budget, the only limit to what you can achieve is your imagination. Find a local carpenter or metal-worker who is able to make you a bespoke metal shelving unit or wooden wall feature, and you can be certain that no one else in the world will have quite the same shelves as you. You could opt for a stand-alone unit in any one of a variety of shapes – love heart shelving anyone? – or even have shelves shaped like letters, which is perfect for children’s rooms as they’ll love to see their name spelled out on the wall!
These are 5 of the many, many unique shelving ideas there are. From faux-stairs up a wall to bookshelf-armchair combinations, there are plenty more chic and stylish ideas to discover and try out in your home. Can you think of any really cool decorative shelf ideas?