Decorating with Wall Shelves

Beth Asaff
Kitchen shelves

Wall shelves are a great accessory that can enhance specific areas of your home. They can also clutter up the wrong wall or area if used incorrectly. If you have items you want to display, or you just have a wall that needs something more than typical wall art, there are definitely times when a wall shelf is the right fit.

Kitchens

The kitchen is a perfect room for shelving, but how you decorate the kitchen shelves depends on both form and function.

Country, Rustic and Farmhouse Kitchens

Wall shelves are crucial to finishing the décor in a Country-style kitchen. Open wall shelves with multiple tiers let you keep important cooking items nearby, while letting you decorate the room.

Consider using rustic or "antiqued" shelves painted white or off-white. Hang them just outside of the kitchen cabinets so any items on them can be easily reached when needed. Use them to display things like spices, cookie jars, fresh herbs and small plants, as well as any small decorative items like vintage cookware or colorful knickknacks.

Modern Kitchens

Under cabinet shelf

Modern kitchens don't make use of shelves the same way that rustic, farmhouse and country kitchens do. The right shelving can help to complement the right décor. Consider investing in some stainless or hardwood shelves that are very sleek with no decorative elements about the shelves themselves. Hang them away from the cabinets on an open wall, and use them strictly for adding a few whimsical touches to the kitchen, such as holding block letters that spell out "Eat." This incongruous touch helps to strengthen the rest of the kitchen's design.

Another idea in more transitional and modern kitchens it to hang a long shelf just below the kitchen cabinets, above the counter. Display items like silver, china or pottery there.

Bedrooms

Bedroom design is usually appropriate for a variety of shelving; choose the best accessories to accompany your design.

Children's Bedrooms

Kids bedroom with shelving

Wall shelves are a fantastic addition to any child's bedroom. In this case, they're used primarily for displaying items that aren't meant to be handled or played with on a daily basis. Consider displaying a long wall shelf above a child's bed if it's pushed against a wall, and keep a selection of photos and items that show your child's personality, such as vintage cars for the car lover or a collection of ponies for the horse lover.

To really make the design pop, separate out two or three items and display them each on their own small shelf, grouped at varying heights around the larger one. Keep the style and color of the shelves consistent for a cohesive design.

Adult's Bedrooms

Wall shelves in adult bedrooms can become a mixture of functional and decorative. They make great places to display personal photos and mementos from vacations or big events. They can also be used to hold items like jewelry boxes, candles and other small items you don't have counter or dresser space for.

Position wall shelves above pieces of furniture, such as a small decorative shelf above a lingerie chest, or a larger, more substantial shelf holding a few books above an armchair.

Living Rooms

Wall shelves are a fun way of getting more display areas in a living room without cluttering up the floor space. Using shelves in a living room can be done in a variety of different ways, depending upon your needs, and how much wall space you have.

Create a Focal Point

Living room large wall shelf

If you don't have a fireplace and mantel in your living room, positioning a large, substantial wall shelf at one end of the room can give the room a focal point. Arranging a pair of chairs in front of it gives you a nice conversation area. Hanging a large piece of artwork or a flat screen TV above the shelf helps to bring more of a focus to the area. Use this shelf to display a mixture of pottery - place tall items on the ends - and family photographs and items you would ordinarily place on a mantel.

Accent Wall Shelves

If you have a mantel already in place in the room, small accent wall shelves are a great way to bring in some small pops of color and interest. Look for small wooden corbels or wooden box shelves and paint them in a color that complements the rest of the room. Hang them near doorways or in pairs on either end of a larger piece of artwork. Balance a single item on each one, such as a piece of artwork or a seasonal decoration. Change out the items on these small shelves frequently to update the décor in the room quickly.

Family Rooms

Family Room Wall Shelves

Family rooms and game rooms can make good use of large, multi-tier shelving units. These big shelves are bolted to the wall above a couch or armchair, and are used to store a variety of different items from books to videos and gaming systems. To really make these shelves decorative, mix up the items; including some fun family snapshots and vacation souvenirs amid the books and more functional items.

If you don't need that much storage in the family room, consider adding two or three medium-sized floating shelves in a staggered pattern on one wall. Use them to hold pictures, candles, decorative books and small pieces of artwork.

Wall Shelves Make Decorating Simple

Wall shelves can add a lot of interest and additional storage space to any room of the house. Place one, or place many to add some color, accents and depth to your home.

Decorating with Wall Shelves