Shelving Ideas

You can never have too many shelves!

Your shelving can look elegant with everything spaciously arranged, or with all the shelves full you can look like a serious collector and impress your friends. Whether you use shelves for books, CD's or DVD's, displaying china, knickknacks, family photos, jigsaw puzzles, boxed games or cards, you will be surprised just how much room all your stuff takes up. So when you are redecorating or buying furniture, always get more shelves than you think you will possibly need.

Built In Shelves

If you have a lot of books, it's worth talking to a carpenter to discuss having custom made bookshelves. Although this is usually a more expensive option, you can make sure you can have your shelves built from floor to ceiling so that no space is wasted. Standard modular shelves can buckle over time as books are very heavy. By having purpose built shelves, you can make sure that the shelves are thick enough and strong enough to take the weight of all those books.

Freestanding Shelves

Apart from buying new freestanding shelves from IKEA and similar outlets, you may be lucky and be able to pick up something used. Second hand shops, thrift shops and garage sales often have strong freestanding shelves for sale that just need to be repainted to fit in with your living room décor. You may even find a shelving unit thrown out on the street or put in a dumpster that can be yours for the taking. Just check your local by-laws as in some places 'dumpster diving' is considered 'theft by finding' and you can be arrested.

Modular Systems

There are various types of modular systems where you can add shelving units as your collections grow. With these types of do-it-yourself units, you can change the layout as your requirements change. Smart shelves from Smart Furniture, for example, are made from MDF or wood and you can put them together without using any tools. The shelves are cleverly designed to slot into each other and dowels hold the shelves in place. Because of this flexibility, you can have as many layouts as your imagination can think up. These types of shelves will even fit in those awkward places under the stairs, prices start from $530 for 6' of shelves.
If you prefer cube style shelving, cube systems can also be built up a bit at a time. The lack of a solid back is one of the disadvantages of some modular shelving. Cube systems, however, often do come with backs so you won't have things falling out if you need to move the cubes around. You can put anything in them from a carefully chosen vase, to a stack of books or CD's. You can also use shelves like this in the bedroom or guest room for clothes. You can find cubes from around $25 per cube in wood, or if you want a more hi-tec look, you can get a set of four wire cubes for around the same money.

Office Shelves

Office Depot or other office supply stores can also be a great place to find excellent shelves at reasonable prices-around $170 for a 5-shelf adjustable wood veneer bookcase. Metal shelving can be cheaper and stronger and just needs a coat of paint to look stylish.

Look around at the various options available to fit your pocket book and decide if you want to buy individual pieces or whether you prefer a modular system to get a more coordinated look.

Remember you can always buy more shelves!