Delve into Shelves


We’ve all got ‘em. Bookshelves are essential to storage and organization, but you do not have to settle for the run-of-the-mill shelving. Think outside of the proverbial—and literal—box.

To make an instant style statement, consider corner shelves, circular shelving, or “le spirale” shelves. You can also install a shelf above your window for a slick storage solution that doubles as a curtain rod holder. Simple, clean, and of course, it is an idea straight from Martha Stewart.

If you are crafty like me, try making your current shelving a little snazzier. One fantastic idea is to paint or line the back of a bookshelf with your favorite color or fabric. Not sure if you will love the color or pattern next month? Use cardboard for a temporary alternative. Simply cover the cardboard with contact paper, wrapping paper, or fabric. I recommend using two different options, one per side, to maximize variety. When you get weary of one side, just flip the decorated cardboard to the other side.

Love the ombre look? Update that tired tall bookshelf with an ombre pallet. Pick a paint chip with multiple shades of the same color. Buy a sample can of each. Paint the back of the shelves with each color from top to bottom. For a finished look, I recommend painting the frame and the individual shelves as well. White, cream, or a complementary color will give your ombre pallet an extra pop.

Take shelf artistry to a new level with wall-mounted decorative shelving and stencils. You can design a mural around your shelving! One of my favorite ideas is sketching a tree with shelves as branches. After painting the trunk, a few branches and leaves, add the shelves in for books, collectibles, and photos. Another artistic option struck my fancy. Imagine the look of a decorative table without the bulk. Mount a decorative shelf; then paint table legs in the same color on the wall underneath. Perhaps use a stencil to ensure it will turn out just how you want. Viola! Your very own optical illusion!

Perhaps you are less interested in flashy storage, or you do not want your stuff in plain sight. If so, opt for shelving hidden behind artwork. Small wall-mount cabinets from your favorite home-improvement or craft store can prove to be a delightful solution. Try decoupage fabric or paint a design on the cabinet door like these folks did. Or if you are really handy, you can also achieve this look by installing some small shelves on your wall, then mounting a painting with a deep canvas and a couple hinges to cover them. Now you have got secret storage!

Whether you are crafty or a savvy shopper, shelving does not have to be boring and walls need not to be bare. Now maybe at the next yard sale you will give those old bookshelves a second look.


By Meridian Herman Lupu

Photo by Juhan Sonin