If you've always swooned over fabulously styled shelves but haven't gotten around to addressing your own built-ins yet, you've come to the right place. The following shelf setups are equal parts aesthetic and functional, and they prove that shelfies are not limited to the living room—a well-decorated built-in can totally make your kitchen, office, or child's room, too.
Read on for 20 shelf decorating ideas that are easy to recreate in your own home.
Choose a Color Scheme to Stick With
If you like to keep your color scheme more paired down, arrange your shelves with only items that fit the palette at hand. Here, natural tones result in a calming, earthy living space.
Add Playfulness to a Child's Room
In a kid's room, shelves should be cheerful and whimsical. Display a few of your little one's favorite toys and trinkets to add an extra touch of playfulness to their space.
Let Your Records Do the Talking
Thin floating shelves like these are often used for displaying photos, but if you feel like thinking outside the box, by all means, showcase something else entirely. Here, vibrant records double as art and add plenty of character to this living room.
Bust Out a Favorite Collection
If you have a collection of items just begging to be admired, why not display them on your build ins? Here, vases and vessels of all kinds are the star of the show.
Camouflage Unsightly Spines
Not every book spine that you own is in top-notch shape, but that's ok—inverting your books can result in a simpler look and help maintain a neutral color scheme. Complement your reads with stylish accessories such as vases, candle holders, and small trinket dishes.
Go Color Coordinated in the Closet
Fashion lovers, this one is for you. If you have space for a fabulous dressing room or walk-in closet in your home, you'll want to decorate it to the nines. If you're a shoe collector, maybe this means displaying your favorite heels or sneaks on open shelves (these pairs are sorted neatly by color) or grouping all of your handbags by designer.
Cut Out the Clutter
Open shelving is a popular storage idea in the kitchen, but the key to making it shine is not to clutter your shelves with unnecessary objects. Instead, select functional yet aesthetically pleasing pieces that you will use often but won't mind seeing on a daily basis—think chic cutting boards, serving ware, and festive cocktail glasses.
Keep Shelves Nice and Airy
Simple gold shelves flank either side of the sofa in this relaxing living room. If you prefer a more airy look, abstain from filling your shelves to the tippity top and leave a little breathing room.
Use Baskets as Needed
If you have a doorless closet, keeping your belongings nice and organized will be extra key. Opt for woven storage bins to display on your closet shelves and use these to hide small accessories or clothing items that you do not want to see day in and day out.
Create a Personalized Bar Station
Cheers, everyone! Open shelving that doubles as a bar is a great addition to a kitchen or dining room. Incorporating personal touches like framed photos or small collectible pieces will add flair to your drink-making station.
Arrange Reads in Rainbow Order
Arranging books in rainbow order will never go out of style (even if some people have strong views on the practice!). In this office space, a color-coordinated shelf looks nice and organized.
Let Your Child's Books Stand Out
In a child's room, it can be fun to incorporate picture books into the décor. Arrange titles facing frontward so that your child can easily locate the story he or she wants to read with you. You can easily rotate books out as needed and change the display seasonally, too.
Add Sweet Touches to the Kitchen
Don't underestimate the impact of placing framed art on your kitchen shelves. You spend so much time in this space, after all, it may as well suit your aesthetic preferences.
Other little touches like potted herbs, cookbooks, fancy teacups, or wine glasses will make you smile even as you tackle a mountain of dishes.
Make Your Dining Room Walls Talk
These dining room shelves couldn't be more luxe-looking thanks to this beautiful arrangement of pottery and other collectible pieces on display. Plus, when it comes time to entertain, you'll know where to locate each and every one of your special pieces.
Lean Your Plates
Many people will hang an assortment of plates on the wall, but there's no reason you can't choose to display yours on shelves instead. This is a stylish solution that is also renter friendly—no need for nail holes galore.
Go Big or Go Home
If you're a maximalist, your shelves should be, too. These bold blue built-ins contain a mix of everything: coffee table books, trinkets, artwork, novels, and more. There's no need to be shy about showcasing what you love.
Or Pare Down Your Space a Bit
If you're more of a minimalist, you may wish to design a more pared down room and then make your shelves the star of the show. While these shelves are heavily styled, the room is otherwise super simple.
Let the Backsplash Sing
Allow objects a bit of breathing room when you set them out on your shelves. Here, drinking glasses are spaced evenly apart and therefore do not distract from the stunning backsplash.
Adhere Wallpaper to Your Shelves
For some extra pizzazz, wallpaper the backs of your shelves and then leave some open space to enjoy the design while still storing some of your favorite books and décor.
Tackle the Space Above the Counters
If you have open space above your kitchen countertops, consider installing shelves and use them to display anything from liquor bottles to spices to coffee supplies. The space will appear more complete, and best of all, you'll have clear countertops!