Create the storage you need with inspiration from these shelves for kitchen, living room, hall, garden, mudroom, bathroom, and more
Typical store-bought floating shelves are suitable only for displaying objects, as they have a weight capacity of 10 or so
pounds. That's why California architect Stephen Atikinson created what might be called built-in floaters of pine and red oak,
with seriously strong support.
The total cost of the project was $500. Wood trim hides the brackets supporting the shelves, creating an elegant appearance reinforced by the larger display shelf at the bottom.
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The beverage center of our reader-voted dream entertaining kitchen keeps glasses, wine and cocktail fixings within easy reach. The custom shelves ensure that all the drinkware fits perfectly
in place. Open shelves and mirrored backs add interest.
Two under-counter GE Monogram wine refrigerators each keep up to 57 bottles at preferred temperatures.
Pegs, buckets, and colored bins (from $11; www.tubtrugs.us) help keep this mud room organized. The shelves were an easy DIY using salvaged bleachers.
Having a storage space just off the kitchen of this home helps prevent stuff from piling up on the dining table.
A single shelf in an unexpected place can expand your storage right where you need it most.
This one in front of a kitchen window frees counter space and keeps cooking ingredients handy.
A freestanding cabinet provides open and closed storage while serving as the principal divider between the open living-dining and kitchen areas in this remodeled ranch house.
Thrifty choices in the kitchen of this northern Washington cabin include a mix of open shelves, plywood walls, and laminate
More: Inspired cabin escape
With storage and display shelves resembling large egg crates, the simple wall system shown here defines the kitchen, dining,
and living areas of this California cabin, and keeps everything in plain sight.
The ladder leads to a loft, and the inside of the box actually houses a bathroom.
Books find a home alongside art and other treasures on these lightweight suspension shelves. The airy unit serves double duty
as storage and display case.
Tip: Leave books off the top shelf. Reserve that space for unusual objects so they don’t have to compete with a row of titles.
A two-story bookcase of wood and glass acts as a room divider and light chimney, bringing sunlight into the parlor of a remodeled San Francisco Victorian.
18 horizontal inches of wall may have more possibilties than you think. Designer Lotta Jansdotter put a Benno CD tower on its end and used it as shelving for books and curios.
Rather than filling her shelves with books, L.A. designer Kelly LaPlante left room for shapely objects and empty space to
create a pretty display.
"I first visually balance the case as a whole," she says. "Then I arrange the contents of each shelf." See more of her place here.
Shelves shaped like skateboards (from Pottery Barn Kids) add fun to a wall of concrete wall tiles mimicking masonry. Bright towels pick up their color for another accent.
Three built-in shelves serve the bedroom wall and the entry on the opposite side. Lumicor resin panels containing recycled
materials let in natural light.
The wall art is a digital image transferred onto fabric then stretched into place with a tiny metal frame. Wall covering by Planet Profile.
More great ways with shelves
Galvanized steel planters provide just the right amount of rugged storage ― and a fun metallic glint ― above coat hooks in a mudroom.
Nursery pots and planting paraphernalia stay put in these cleverly constructed garden shelves. The upslanted edges of the shelves were inspired by nesting boxes in chicken coops.
All you need for an outdoor shower can be tucked into little shelves made from scrap wood.
A single storage wall makes this compact Seattle kitchen feel roomy.
More small-space solutions
Open shelves are all about easy access, but they force you to edit. “When it’s in plain sight, you know what you’ve got,”
says designer Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls. “You forget about things behind cupboard doors.” Oaktown cubby unit ($399) was from
The light and airy solution for space in this master bath was to contrast icy blue glass mosaic tiles with warm wood.
See-through shelving made from high-grade plywood defines a shower area without walling it off. Unobstructed light fills the space.
More: Bathroom solutions
Cubbies are ideal for storage and display ― and are easy to stack and rearrange. Cubes $60 and $80 from Stumasa. Office Basics
accordion-style organizer $36; seejanework.com.
Adjustable Plexiglas shelves keep everything in this workspace handy but out of the way.
Create a colorful focal point in a small space by painting your shelves (including the back) a bright color. Here, pumpkin-colored
shelves (Kelly-Moore's Deep Spice wall paint, KM3608-5) act as a backdrop to deep brown and burnt orange accessories.
Open shelves can look cluttered. Unite unruly stacks by showcasing a collection of objects of similar shape and color. Even
the most haphazard piles will seem intentional.
Keep horizontal stacks on lower shelves to prevent them from looking precarious.
Extend built-ins to create a frame for the door or adjoining room. Take advantage of all that space by displaying photos,
art, and some well-chosen trinkets among the books.
White paint keeps a book-filled wall from feeling heavy.
Open shelves in this Oregon beach house are painted the colors of the shoreline. "We tell visitors to turn left at the green wall for the media room or left at the blue wall for the bathroom," says Homeowner Jo Landefel.
Her small San Francisco home didn't have space for a home office, so Sara Menuck converted her living room closet into a chic,
For $1,000, including materials and labor, her designer removed the closet pole and added an upper covered storage area, a floating middle shelf, and a work surface with an almost-hidden drawer. Says Menuck, "I hardly ever close the doors."
Design Paris Renfroe Design (651/233-0063).
More 20 fun DIY projects
Open shelves feel hospitable―guests can just grab wineglasses off the shelf―and force you to edit.
Try following this homeowner's rule of thumb: “If you use it more than once a week, have it out. If you use it a few times a month, stick it in a cabinet. Once or twice a year? It belongs in the basement.”
More ideas from a playful house
Paint things white and edit down your display. It's a kind of magic trick that makes anything look more pulled together.
"The typical kitchen cabinet has a lot of wasted space," says Lea Schneider, author of Growing up Organized. "You can't see or get to what's in the back, so things get forgotten and food items can get outdated, especially in lower
A pantry kit like this allows you to see and access everything. These solid wood units allow you to customize the height of shelves and glide each unit out of the way on piano hinges.
From ThisOldHouse.com: Pantry kits and 13 more storage accessories