18 Beautiful Shelf Ideas That Add Style and Storage to Any Room

shelves ideas

Kari Arendsen, Intimate Living Interiors

 

No matter what type of home you inhabit, there's a good chance that storage is one of your top concerns. And unfortunately, closet space tends to be at a premium these days. The solution? Shelving. But it's a slippery slope between staying organized and waking up to find that your house has transformed into a Sam's Club overnight. That's why we're always looking for unique shelving solutions that combine practical space for all our collections with a chic way of showcasing the things we love (and hiding the things we just need to live with).

Whether you're a master shelfie-styler or not, these fresh and modern shelving ideas will help you strike the right balance in your own home and get organized once and for all. Click through to get some shelf inspo, from open kitchen shelving to key living room setups, then head into the weekend with a project or two on your list—we know the end result will make your living space shine.

Here are our picks for the best shelving ideas to add style and substance to your place.

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Think About The Little Things

Sure, laundry rooms need a ton of storage for larger items such as laundry baskets, drying racks, and detergent bottles, but let's be honest—how many times have you found yourself cursing because a lint roller fell behind the washing machine? A minuscule shelf for notions and small accessories is a genius addition to this sleek washroom.

ledge shelf
The Heartland Wood Co Rustic Ledge Shelf $24
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02 of 18

Grow House

Plant shelves are nothing new, but this dense curtain of trailing leaves takes it to a whole new level. We love the dramatic effect of continuous vines cascading down over a vintage art piece.

For plant ideas, try a pothos (which does well in low-light) or a philodendron (which thrives in medium light with weekly waterings).

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Bold Backdrops

We've said it before and we'll say it again—the coolest way to make built-ins really stand out is to add a contrasting paint color (or wallpaper option) behind the shelves. Suddenly, all your knickknacks look totally gallery-worthy.

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Blank To Beautifull

Dead space can be a total drag—but it's the perfect opportunity to add some stylish shelving. Take this spot by the arm of a couch, for instance, which is too small to add a side table but too large to be overlooked. A simple three-shelf arrangement (and a serious flair for shelf styling) transformed the wall into a major design "moment".

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Work-From-Home Chic

Having your office at home—and especially in your bedroom—can be a recipe for never-ending work headaches. But this airy shelving system, fitted with clean and cohesive white boxes for filing, is nothing but serene. It seems easy to say organized and focused with a setup like this.

wall shelf ideas
Kage Design Studio Custom Geometric Floating Shelves $250
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06 of 18

Heads Up

Putting a piece of art over the head of your bed is so last year. We're loving the trend of installing a small shelf instead, which lets you constantly refresh the look with infinite styling opportunities.

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Window Treatment

A wall of windows in the kitchen can be a total blessing...until you start to think about all the storage that's suddenly not an option. Don't despair. We've noticed an uptick in clever over-the-window shelving ideas that let you keep the classic architectural charm of the windows without sacrificing all your storage space. (Plus, light streaming in over your favorite ceramics = priceless.)

cast iron shelf bracket
Cast Iron Hooks Shelving Brackets $13
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Nooks & Crannies

This off-the-wall idea isn't for the faint of heart, but in the right home, it would be an undeniably cool conversation starter. Design studio haddou / dufourcq unveiled this unique design that uses a lightweight concrete mixture hollowed out into various nooks and crannies for specific objects.

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Today's Paper

Look closely—a playful botanical print wallpaper behind each shelf adds a touch of whimsy to this hardworking shelving unit.

forest wallpaper
Wallpaper Warehouse Anahi Neutral Forest Fauna Wallpaper $80 $60
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10 of 18

Wine O'Clock

Wine closets are a fast-growing trend among homeowners, and as oenophiles ourselves, it's easy to see why. This simple and rustic x-shaped shelf is nothing short of genius—it provides ample storage for all your favorite vintages, plus a sizable surface at the bottom for mixing cocktails for guests.

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Free & Clear

There's so much to love about this sleek yet eclectic kitchen. Streamlined shelves drop down from the ceiling, dropping low enough to just barely touch the beautiful tiled backsplash. The effect is open, airy, and downright dreamy.

ceiling mounted shelves
Iron Abode Custom Minimalist Ceiling Glass Unit $648
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Mantel Piece

Architectural detail-obsessed, much? Even if your home doesn't have much in the way of vintage charm, you can DIY it with a trip to an architectural selvedge yard. Old mantels are easy to come by, and they're so much more striking than those typical IKEA shelves.

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Suspense Test

We can't be the only ones who are head-over-heels in love with suspended shelving, right? This modern art-inspired piece is more like a bar than a true shelf, but looks like something you'd see in a gallery (when it's not draped with tomorrow's outfit).

floating shelf
Dua Shop Pe $435
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Hall Of Mirrors

A long hallway (if wide enough) is just crying out to be decked out in shelving. This sleek design makes use of high-up shelves and lower storage cabinets to maximize space for both pretty things (like artworks and objets) and more practical items (like boots).

Mirrors reflect light and installing a few keeps a narrow space from feeling claustrophobic even when square footage is at a minimum.

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The Hook-Up

It's not just about what you can fit on your shelves—it's about what you can fit underneath, too. This brilliant pan rack adds a hint of high-style shine to this rustic kitchen while also serving a very practical purpose.

under shelf storage
Yamazaki Home Under Shelf Storage Rack $33
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The Skinny

A long, skinny shelf is perfect for the bathroom, where most items are small in size (and, if our beauty cabinets are any indication, quite pretty to look at). A continuous piece going the length of the wall strikes such a glamorous tone.

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Hang Loose

The perfect mix of modern and rustic, these shelves suspended by hook-and-eye hardware from the ceiling feels edgy yet old-school in the best way.

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Soaking Tub Storage

If most days only allow for a quick shower, it's understandable that installing storage by your soaking tub wouldn't exactly be a top priority. But nothing's worse than having to pop out of your cozy bath to run across the room and grab that loofah. A low, wall-mounted shelving unit can be a chic and practical option, so you can truly be stress-free in the bath.

wall shelf
World Market Thomas Wall Storage $130 $104
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