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Shelf those décor ideas

Uncomplicated solutions are often the best answer to decorating dilemmas. Something as simple as an inexpensive shelf can provide solutions for storage and display, as shown in the photo.

A decorative shelf in any room provides easy access to items that are used on a daily basis — an alarm clock in the bedroom, toiletries in the bathroom and in the kitchen, utensils and dishes.

It also offers colourful display opportunities. In your own home you can include decorative items amongst the daily use items to keep the display both pretty and functional.

The addition of a shelf can also help to break up what could have been a plain or boring backdrop. If you’re faced with a similar situation, consider installing a decorative shelf or two.

There are thousands of style possibilities available on the market today, from highly decorative, that makes a statement on its own, to more nondescript, that allows the display to be the focus. So, the first thing you need to do is determine the function of the shelving you need.

Solely for display

If you’re looking to create a focal point then the sky is the limit. If you do a web search for images of decorative shelving you will see the scope of options and ideas available. Determine if the items you want to show are to be the focus or whether the shelving plays a part. For example, floating shelves are sleek and visually minimalist, allowing the item on display to be the main focus. Other shelving can be highly decorative with scrollwork brackets and would be more a part of the overall vignette. Be sure the shelving you choose is large enough and strong enough for the items being held.

Function and display

Shelving for a bathroom or kitchen is going to need to withstand splashes and spills so opt for something that is easy to clean and can withstand the daily use. Glass shelves are visually less obtrusive but do need regular cleaning and can break.

Wooden shelving doesn’t tend to withstand lots of water and moisture, so if used in the kitchen or bathroom, line it with washable, self-adhesive liner to prolong the shelf’s life and to make cleanup easier. Painting the shelf with a bathroom or kitchen paint will also help.

Wire shelving is a popular choice and has an industrial look so it’s a fun choice for the kitchen or bath, but it does tend to collect dust and dirt between the wiring so it’s a little more difficult to keep clean.

In any other room the choices are vast for the type of shelving you can use.

Great ideas for every room

In a cluttered entryway, install a shelf that includes coat hooks. Try to find one that also contains a mirror to brighten up a dark space.

In the bedroom, use floating shelves on each side of the bed to hold bedside lamps and so on. Install a decorative shelf at the head of the bed on which you can display a large painting or accessories.

In your living room, put up a set of shelves over the sofa and create a focal wall. Display paintings, accessories and other visually appealing items.

Create a faux fireplace by installing a mantel-like shelf on the wall at an appropriate height. Place a fireplace screen-styled tea light holder below. When lit, you’ll have the semblance of a soft fire. If you can’t find the right tea light holder, use a tray of chunky pillar candles in the same manner. Safety first! Be sure the candles are not near anything flammable, like draperies. As well, be careful around pets and children when lit. Use battery-operated, flameless candles if you have concerns.

If you’re a book hound, proper bookshelves are a must. They don’t need to be terribly deep so they won’t be too obtrusive if floor space is limited. A floor-to-ceiling library can be a fabulous addition to the home. I recommend having these shelves professionally installed to ensure safety and longevity of the unit.

Shelves are wonderful for displaying collections. Wrap a 1×6-inch shelf around a room a foot or so from the ceiling and display items like decoys, china or vintage hats. Having the display up and out of the way protects the items but still allows you to showcase them, working best in homes with higher-than-average ceilings.

Check out what’s available to see how you can update your décor today.

About the author


Connie Oliver is an interior designer from Gimli, Manitoba.

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