7 Surprising Shelving Ideas For the Creative Organizer

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By Kate Reggev
These unusual examples of unique shelving treatments prove that you can successfully marry functional storage with artful design.

While most people see furniture as the strongest way to express style, interests, and aesthetics in a space, it's often what you put on the walls—shelving and the objects placed on them—that equally convey a sense of home and style. Let’s take a look at some interesting and modern types of shelving storage that you may not have considered before.

Under-Stair Open Shelving in Southwest England

7 Surprising Shelving Ideas For the Creative Organizer - Photo 1 of 7 - In interior designer Kathryn Tyler's home, this custom-built shelving is located under the run of a staircase, providing additional storage space to the adjacent kitchen. The wood of the shelves is seamlessly aligned with the treads of the stairs, and the back of the shelves is painted white to match the walls for a crisp look.

In interior designer Kathryn Tyler's home, this custom-built shelving is located under the run of a staircase, providing additional storage space to the adjacent kitchen. The wood of the shelves is seamlessly aligned with the treads of the stairs, and the back of the shelves is painted white to match the walls for a crisp look.

7 Surprising Shelving Ideas For the Creative Organizer - Photo 2 of 7 - Made for easy reaching, these open pull-out shelves are in an ADA-compliant kitchen in a guesthouse designed by architecture firm Best & Associates. Although the shelves were designed without doors, they were painted inside and out with a turquoise paint for a uniform, finished look, and the sliding shelves mean that every inch can be accessed, even the very back of the shelves. 

Made for easy reaching, these open pull-out shelves are in an ADA-compliant kitchen in a guesthouse designed by architecture firm Best & Associates. Although the shelves were designed without doors, they were painted inside and out with a turquoise paint for a uniform, finished look, and the sliding shelves mean that every inch can be accessed, even the very back of the shelves. 

7 Surprising Shelving Ideas For the Creative Organizer - Photo 3 of 7 - The solid walnut open shelves by furniture designer Matt Eastvold have a dual function: they act as a bannister around the second-floor stairwell and as a means for displaying personal items at this house by Knock Architecture + Design. Backed by glass, the shelf maintains visibility and lets in light while providing a safety barrier around the stair.  

The solid walnut open shelves by furniture designer Matt Eastvold have a dual function: they act as a bannister around the second-floor stairwell and as a means for displaying personal items at this house by Knock Architecture + Design. Backed by glass, the shelf maintains visibility and lets in light while providing a safety barrier around the stair.  

7 Surprising Shelving Ideas For the Creative Organizer - Photo 4 of 7 - In an easy-going home in Los Angeles, a set of differently shaped wood shelves float on the walls, defying gravity and keeping the floor clean and open. The rustic wood means that they pop off the all-white walls with white window shades, and their distinct proportions give them an artful appearance.

In an easy-going home in Los Angeles, a set of differently shaped wood shelves float on the walls, defying gravity and keeping the floor clean and open. The rustic wood means that they pop off the all-white walls with white window shades, and their distinct proportions give them an artful appearance.

7 Surprising Shelving Ideas For the Creative Organizer - Photo 5 of 7 - This multifunctional shelving unit designed by Omer Arbel works well for an avid record collector, who uses the unit's many shelves to host a variety of objects, ranging from plants to speakers and vinyls. The desk component follows the same geometric logic as the rest of the piece, and the regular angles of the unit are in contrast to the home's unusual angular shape.

This multifunctional shelving unit designed by Omer Arbel works well for an avid record collector, who uses the unit's many shelves to host a variety of objects, ranging from plants to speakers and vinyls. The desk component follows the same geometric logic as the rest of the piece, and the regular angles of the unit are in contrast to the home's unusual angular shape.

7 Surprising Shelving Ideas For the Creative Organizer - Photo 6 of 7 - Designed by architect Lidija Dragisic, this home in Slovenia is filled with unusual shelving—and the master bedroom proved to be no different. A maze-like set of cabinets and shelves rests above the head of the bed, providing closed and open shelving. Set against the white walls and curtains, the wood provides a contrast while the shape of the shelves is almost sculptural.

Designed by architect Lidija Dragisic, this home in Slovenia is filled with unusual shelving—and the master bedroom proved to be no different. A maze-like set of cabinets and shelves rests above the head of the bed, providing closed and open shelving. Set against the white walls and curtains, the wood provides a contrast while the shape of the shelves is almost sculptural.

7 Surprising Shelving Ideas For the Creative Organizer - Photo 7 of 7 - Even though shelves tend to be stationary, Madrid-based PKMN Architectures reenvisioned the possibilities of shelving by creating chipboard units that slide along a track to expose various types of shelving that support a fold-out bed, a work space, and other practical uses when separated. When compacted together, the three units act as a more traditional set of shelves, displaying books and other items.

Even though shelves tend to be stationary, Madrid-based PKMN Architectures reenvisioned the possibilities of shelving by creating chipboard units that slide along a track to expose various types of shelving that support a fold-out bed, a work space, and other practical uses when separated. When compacted together, the three units act as a more traditional set of shelves, displaying books and other items.

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