Good shelving can make a world of difference in how you feel in and interact with your home. It might seem simple in concept, but once you dive into the world of shelving, you’ll find your head swimming with all kinds of options related to material, style, customization, portability, and any number of detailed options that innovative manufacturers come up with.
Choosing Material & Type Of Shelving
There’s good news and bad news about shelving units — we’ll help you make sure the good news applies to you, though, so don’t worry. The great news is that they’re as customizable and personal as you are unique. A downside to all of that freedom is that you have many options. It can be a little overwhelming at times, so we’re going to take you through the most common materials that you’ll hear of when you start delving into the world of shelving.
First things first, you’ll notice that the price goes up vary significantly based on the type of material you choose. Well, that’s not to say that all wooden shelving is less expensive and haul metal shelving is more costly. However, it does mean that you’ll need to make some decisions early on in the process regarding whether you’ll be going with a composite material, like MDF, and spending a little bit less or getting something that’s solid wood and looking at a higher price point.
One of the other essential factors to consider when choosing the best shelving option for your space is how portable you need those shelves. By that, it means you need to think about how soon you’ll be wanting to move out of that space and take that shelving with you. If you’re thinking about staying long-term, it might make sense for you to keep a higher price point in mind with a more customized and built-in style design. Typically, built-in shelving will be slightly more costly, depending on the style you choose, of course. However, as the name suggests, it will be more flexible in the sense that it will be able to capitalize on your particular space and create the most efficient use of that space for your storage needs.
On the flip side, portable or modular shelving is more easily removed (this can be room to room or location to location, something to keep in mind). Many modular shelving options come in MDF, wood, metal, or a combination of materials. The selling feature of this modular style of shelving is that it lets you re-combine your modular units for what your current use is and easily reorganize them. That way, you can decide in the future to use them in a different room for another purpose or in a completely different location.
DIY Shelves (selecting the type of material, painting, placing brackets or not, installing them) The wide world of DIY shelving is an exciting place to look into. In some ways, you get the best of both worlds — custom and cost-effective shelving. DIY shelving lets you pick what option best fits your space, whether you’d like modular shelving or the permanency of your design.
There are many options for finding online DIY tutorials, whether you turn to YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, or good old Google. Another benefit of DIY shelving options is that you can also choose the style that suits you best. While some design aspects may be limited by access to specific power tools or other necessary equipment, you can primarily design the best solution for you based on your style, materials, and skill level.
Let your fingers do the walking online and research the style and material you want in your space, the level of DIY skill you have, and what your options are based on your parameters. Don’t forget your crafty and talented friends that can be co-opted to help you with a great project like this!
Shelf Supports & Brackets
What type of supports you choose to use for your shelving can vastly alter how your storage solution looks and how it functions in the end.
Floating shelves, for example, have a spotless, minimalist, and uncluttered look. In contrast, a built-in wood shelving unit intended can make a practical book case and display items can look much more like a classic library. Adding thin vertical supports between your shelves can give you the look of a classic modern Danish style of shelving, which is extremely popular in a more minimalist architectural world.
Other types of shelving supports can add an ornamental value, giving you an art deco feel, for example, farmhouse chic, industrial modern, or almost any other style, or a blend of styles that your imagination can create.
Something else to consider with brackets for your shelving is color and texture. This is someplace where you can show some personality in your shelving. If you choose to go for something more minimal, you can jazz things up in the brackets, or potentially in some, but not all, of your brackets to add some variety to your design. If you’re storing heavier items on your shelves, floating shelves may not provide enough support. In this case, you may choose to go with a bracket for mounting, but you may also want to consider sourcing supports that more closely match your wall color or complement it. This way, you get the support of an external bracket and something that works with your interior design colors.
Style Your Perfect Shelves
Once you decide which basic shelving design you’ll use, the next thing you’ll be thinking about is how to maximize the space you’ve given yourself with your new storage solution. This means decorating your shelves. What goes on your shelves largely depends on what the function of your shelves is intended to be. For example, if you’re looking solely for storage for different items in your home, likely, what goes on them is more a function of necessity than the decor.
Even if your shelf design is intended for functionality over decoration, there are some steps that you can take to make your shelves look organized and pleasing to the eye instead of cluttered and hectic. Try to coordinate your boxes and labels to match — this will not only be more attractive to look at, but it will also take away that feeling of dread that you get when you think about having to dive into a cluttered, disorganized storage room to find one item.
Storage bins that match your decor for children’s rooms are crucial to ensuring enough places to showcase more design-forward items and toys while still having usable space to hide away less visually pleasant things.
Overall, suppose your goal is to make your storage shelves functional and visually appealing. In that case, you’ll want to add some personal touches into the mix, like framed prints, decorative bowls, or candles, to help create visual variety. Furthermore, consider color coordinating, provide baskets or boxes to conceal items that don’t match with your chosen esthetic, and balance your textures. Heavier textures, like knit blankets, larger woven bins, etc., should go towards the bottom of your shelves to provide an anchor for the eye and avoid having your shelves look top-heavy.
Maintenance & Safety
Once your carefully chosen new shelves are installed, decorated, and filled up, you’ll want to make sure that they’re safe for your guests and family and they stay in good shape.
When you’re planning the organization of your shelves, consider placing heavier items on the bottom shelves. Shelves serve a twofold purpose — heavier items up high put more stress on your shelves’ joints and materials, as well as potentially being a hazard should they fall.
One of the most important ways to keep your shelving units from causing injuries in your home is to ensure that they are secured to the wall, floor, or surface that can provide stability. Once you carefully choose all of the decor and practical items you want on your new shelves, they get pretty heavy, and you’ll need to ensure they aren’t likely to topple over and cause an injury. If you’re purchasing a commercial shelving unit, it will likely come with a solution for this that you can install. If you’re opting for DIY shelves, you’ll need to make sure that you include stability brackets in your design.