A review of some unique shelves & shelving solutions to provide ideas and inspiration on attractive ways you can store and display your precious possessions.
Let’s face it, we all have stuff. Stuff that we can’t get rid of, no matter how much we try to declutter our lives. The question is, what to do with that stuff? And where do you put it all without letting your home become a messy, disorganized collection of stuff.
That’s where shelves come in handy. For as long as there have been homes, there have been shelves that have been used to store items for regular use or display items that are precious to you. As time has passed and our interior design tastes have grown, the unique ways you can create these shelves and shelving solutions have increased dramatically.
Here are some of the best and brightest ideas on how to feature shelves in your home, from simple DIY installations to complete wall-units that provide ample storage and a dramatic display.
Unique Floating Shelves
Floating Shelves provide a streamlined way to install some storage on the wall without taking up floor space. Typically, floating shelves are installed in such a way that the hanging hardware is minimized or completely hidden, meaning that all you see are the shelves floating on the wall – hence the name.
These types of unique shelves are fairly easy DIY projects (if you’re at all handy) or you can pick up Floating Shelf Kits at most major retailers (if you are not).
Here are some cool examples of Floating Shelves.
Unique Wall Shelves
Like Floating Shelves, wall shelves are mounted on the wall so that they don’t use up much-needed floor space. However, typical wall shelves tend to be less concerned with the minimalist look of floating shelves, so they rarely bother trying to hide the hanging hardware, and often embrace this hardware as an opportunity to provide a unique visual look, such as with Industrial Style Pipe Shelves or rustic wooden crates that are converted into shelving units.
It is important with any wall mounted shelving system, that it be installed correctly to handle the weight of what you want to keep on those shelves. Wall anchors, stud finders, and such can come in very handy when you are trying to install wall shelves. After all, you don’t want to find your precious cargo in a big heap on the floor because the shelf could not handle the weight.
Here are some cool examples of Unique Wall Shelves.
Free Standing Shelving Units
Free standing shelves are pieces of furniture that are created primarily to provide shelves, the most common of these being your classic bookcase. The shelves themselves can be fixed or adjustable. You can also upcycle other pieces of furniture to create a unique shelf system and provide a visual focal point in your home.
As a fan of classic movies, I am one of the few people I know who still has a collection of old DVDs and Blu-Rays disks. Even though it is a far smaller collection that the pre-Netflix era, there are certain movies that I could not bring myself to part with. Needing a new (and better) way to store these, I recently picked up an old China Cabinet from the local classifies. With a little bit of work, I was able to convert it into a glass display case that perfectly fits my “quickly-becoming-vintage” movie collection.
I also love how free standing shelving units can be used as room dividers to create distinct spaces inside a large, open space.
Here are some cool examples of Shelving Units
Built in Shelves & Bookcases
As an architectural feature, built in shelves & bookcases can provide an attractive feature in a room, and do a great job of utilizing otherwise wasted space in the home.
I love built in bookcases or shelving systems under the stairs or in little nooks in the home that would otherwise just gather dust and fingerprints. A couple of years ago, when I was having the pantry redesigned, I asked them to install a little nook shelf on the end wall of the pantry. It’s not a lot of shelving, but it turned out to be the perfect place to house a few key items, like the landline home phone that I almost never use, a vase, and my Bluetooth speaker that gets turned on every time it’s time to clean the kitchen.
Here are some amazing examples of built in shelves & bookcases
Ladder Shelves & Bookcases
The term Ladder Shelves can either be taken literally – in that these shelves are created from old ladders, or they can be taken from the visual concept of a tiered ladder – where the visual of the shelf is inspired by the standard ladder.
I like literal Ladder Shelves because they are a unique and rustic way to turn old ladders into new shelving systems. Simply lean an old wooden ladder (with or without additional treatment) and you can use it to house a large assortment of household items.
I’ve seen ladder shelves being used frequently around Christmas, and even as unique Christmas Tree alternatives. However, you can use ladder shelves year-round to store nick-knacks, books, blankets, and so much more.
But the sleeker designs seem to come from ladder-inspired shelves. These are also better for the less DIY inclined because you can purchase ladder shelves that have been specifically designed as unique shelving options, but don’t try to use these ones to reach things in high places!
Here are some great examples of using ladder shelves in your home
Unique Cube Shelves
Cube Shelves (sometimes referred to as Box Shelves) can either be wall mounted or free standing, but they deserve a category of their own because of the unique structure.
Known to most school children and many adults as “Cubbies” these are great little places to display items in the home such as your unique collection of Chinese vases, or you can use baskets to tuck things out of sight until they are needed next.
Here are some wonderful examples of cube shelves
Unique Pegboard Shelving
Pegboard Shelving used to be considered a purely utilitarian storage method but have gained popularity recently because of their versatility and the unique ways that they can be designed to add an aesthetic appeal to a storage solution.
I installed pegboard shelving in the basement to help store tools and painting supplies, but I never thought about using Pegboard shelving as a decor feature in the house until I saw some brilliant people using it in brilliant ways.
Here are some fantastic examples of unique pegboard shelf systems
Novelty shelves can include almost every type of shelving system, but the key difference here is that the shelves themselves are created from something unique. Canoe shelves or rowboat shelves were a popular trend a few years ago, and still have a place in your well-appointed country or coastal home.
Here are some unique examples of Novelty Shelves
Whatever style of shelving you chose, make sure that it provides enough storage space to handle everything that you want to store or display, and is attractive enough that you won’t mind looking at it every day.