Shelving Ideas for Your Home

After a while, the same old wooden and metal shelves just get boring. Fortunately, there are more creative ways to supply further storage space in your home while maintaining an attractive atmosphere. Shelves and storage cabinets are two things that many homes do not have enough of, which is why there are hundreds of do-it-yourself options for just that problem.

The important thing to remember when building or installing shelves is that the sky really is the limit. There are scores of nooks and crannies in your home where shelves would make an attractive display; identifying them is the hard part. This article will help you start thinking about shelves and where to put them, and will hopefully inspire ideas for your own home or office.

Corner Shelves

No one ever said that shelves had to sit against a flat surface, which is why corner shelves are so unique. Very few people think to use corners for shelves because it doesn’t make any sense until we examine the way to construct them.

Most homes – no matter how big or how small – are full of unusable corners. Corners are hard because if a piece of furniture doesn’t fit just right, then it can’t be used. We use corners for end tables and potted plants, but rarely shelves.

The trick to using corners for shelves is in the construction. You will have to measure the entire area and determine how tall you want the shelf to be. The back of the shelf will have to be constructed to fit perfecty into the corner, then extend out as far as you’d like. In the front, create rounded wood slots for each individual shelf, and voila! You have a corner shelf.

These are great for storing books and knickknacks. They make great display shelves for a particular theme – such as favorite animal statues or decorative plates. Also, if you place a small lamp in one of the shelves, it makes a wonderful spotlight for a favorite piece.

Built-In Shelves

If you have no room to build out, why not build in! Most walls can be converted into shelves for storage, and this is an excellent space-saver for an already cluttered room. They especially work well in living rooms and home offices because those are the two places where you will be storing the most items. Books, movies, DVD’s, CD’s, and decorations can be placed in the shelves. And if you want to store things that aren’t for company to see, just attach doors to the fronts of the shelves and make instant cabinets! Bonus: For added depth, paint the backs of the shelves a lighter color than your walls to create a three-dimensional effect.

Horizontal Shelves

When I moved a few years ago, I couldn’t decide what to do with one of my bookcases, which was about seven feet tall and only one foot wide. It was so narrow that I didn’t want to use it to shelve books, so I decided to get a little creative. I hunt it on the wall in my bedroom so that it was seven feet long and only one foot tall – horizontally. I displayed various knick-knacks on the shelves, and put floor lamps on either side. It was a great addition to my bedroom, and it saved me a lot of space. Last year, I bought two more exactly like it, and hung them underneath the first.

Fabric-Covered Shelves

This is a great way to store linens, towels and toiletries in your bedroom or bath. Take an ordinary bookshelf that stands between four and seven feet tall, with a depth of less than a foot. Cover the sides and top with a fabric of your choice, and then fashion curtains for the front. The curtains can just be two or three layers of fabric sewn together on the sides and separated in the middle. Attatch two lengths of ribbon to the inner edges so that the curtains can be tied shut.

This way, you can have shelves for your more personal items, and shut the curtains when you are through using it. It is attractive, and kept private from guests and vistitors.

Photo Ledges

These are great shelves to make if you have extra lumber sitting in your garage, or if you have slabs of wood that aren’t being used. Prime, stain or paint the wood to the desired color, then cut it into a long, straight shelf. It can be as long or as short as you’d like, and should be at least two inches thick.

In your home, mount the ledges on walls in your living room or bedroom to create shelves for photos. They are very simple, but are elegant for the displaying of pictures or knick knacks. They aren’t expensive, and they can be rearranged whenever you want.

Printers’ Trays

You can find printers’ trays in antique shops for less than five dollars, or you can make them yourself. A printers’ tray is a square shelf with twenty or thirty divisions in the center. You can display small knick knacks in the little compartments, or you can paint the tray to make a decorative piece. Either way, printers’ trays are extremely elegant, and can serve many uses.

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