Expert Tips for Designing with Recessed Shelves

recessed shelves

Recessed shelves can be wonderful resources for adding display or storage space to your home. However, it can be a challenge to work with these areas if you are not the person who planned the original layout of the room.

Kimberly M. Stone, owner of the interior design firm Adore Your Décor and author of the FabJob Guide to Become a Home Stager or Redesigner, has helped her clients overcome a number of design challenges, including how to decorate rooms that feature recessed shelves. She has generously offered to share some of her tips with the readers of LoveToKnow Interior Design.

Displaying Special Collections

recessed shelves

One easy way to get more use out of unused nooks is to add additional shelving for displaying smaller items. "This simple addition will greatly increase the usefulness of the area," Ms. Stone said. "If the nooks vary in width, then custom made shelving will be the main option. Try finding a local cabinet maker or recruit a handy friend to trim down stock retail shelves. Also, most hardware stores will trim boards and shelves to size if you bring in your measurements. Make the wall behind the shelves more interesting with paint or wallpaper."

Once shelving is in place inside the nooks, the accessorizing can begin. Ms. Stone recommends that you begin by assessing your collections to find items you'd like to display. Do you have a wonderful collection of plates hidden away? How many attractive, hardcover books do you have around the house? "Group objects in odd numbers and stack books both vertically and horizontally for an eclectic look," she said. "Mix in family photos, ceramics, glass art, or statuettes."

Using Nooks for Hidden Storage

While nooks can be lovely places for displaying special collections, sometimes a homeowner prefers hidden storage. "If you install draperies from floor to ceiling, covering up the nooks, the space behind the drapes can be used for storage," Ms Stone said. "Custom cabinetry made to fit into the nooks can be stained to match existing wood floors or furniture pieces, or painted to match the wall color in the room for a cohesive look. Another option is to have closed storage on the bottom half and open storage on the top half for displaying accessories."

A Harmonious Design

Whether you choose to use recessed shelves for display or to provide additional storage space, the key to a successful room design is to make sure all elements of the area are working together. For ideas and inspiration, please review LoveToKnow's extensive collection of interior design slideshows.

Expert Tips for Designing with Recessed Shelves