Welcome to our guide for living room and family room shelves!
Shelves solve a lot of problems; mostly the common problem of “where do I put stuff?” But they also provide nice places for you to put accessories and add an extra design element that can really make your living room design go the extra mile.
While it seems that the kinds of shelves to choose from are endless, there are 6 basic types that all shelves fall into. There are fixed bracket, built in, floating, corner, top hung, and free standing.
Fixed bracket shelves, or suspension shelving, attach to the wall with visible individual brackets that can be wooden, metal, or plastic. These shelves are typically simple to install and get the job done well. They can be moved or changed with a bit of work when you feel like you need a change. These shelves can work wherever you have free wall space, and come in a very large variety of styles and materials. With a bit of research, you can certainly find a model that will suit your needs perfectly.
Built in shelving is units of shelving that are fitted right into the structure of your walls. A piece of wood, or another surface of your choice, placed over an opening in a wall makes for the simplest built in shelf. Built in shelving is a good way of maximizing the use of walls and otherwise unused awkward nooks and crannies. Built in shelves are great for giving lots of shelf space without cutting into livable space. However, once you have built in shelving in place, it can be considerable work to move or remove them.
Floating shelves have a great visual appeal. Floating shelves are built so that, unlike the bracket shelves, their attachment cannot be seen. They seem to simply float in against the wall. This option is a good option if you have a lot of blank wall space, and can use a way to create some visual interest on them. They may be a bit more involved as far as installation than a bracket system, but not by much. They also have a great deal of styles, colors, and materials.
Corner shelves utilize wall junctions to create shelving opportunities without taking up much of your space. They are great for space economy, and using otherwise difficult access spaces in fun and stylish ways. Corner shelves can be either a freestanding piece or installed onto the wall. There are a large variety of shapes, materials, and designs of corner units to choose from.
Top hung shelves typically consist of metal sections that are attached to the wall, in which shelves and droppers can be hung. Walls should be heavy if they are to support these kinds of shelves. Top hung shelves are usually associated with schools and businesses, but can be very good for design with some creativity.
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Freestanding bookcases and shelving are a great way to add shelf space. They can be pressed against walls, or used to divide larger spaces. When used to divide a space, the items you place on the shelf can be used to tie the two sides together in a design sense. They can been seen from both sides, so you are decorating two places for the price of one.
Freestanding bookcases are also another opportunity to add warmth to a space. If you are lacking in a specific tone of wooden features, you can use the shelves themselves to really bring out those hues of wood and natural textures. It also adds an architectural element, depending on the complexity of the shelves you choose. (Source: DoItYourself)
When looking to build shelves, you can expect to spend $20-$25 per linear foot on basic wood materials. If you can manage the labor yourself, you can save quite a bit of money, as the labor of a skilled builder could be between $30 to $60 per hour of their work. (Source: Homewyse)
These are some simple floating shelves that sit above the sofas here. They serve to hold decorative items that bring a lot to the rooms design.
These shelves are built into the area around the fireplace and television area. There is also a long built in self above this area, with a mirror back, that reflects the light, bringing a brightness to the area.
These built in shelves are used to hold a variety of books and busts. These selves have a clean and simple look.
One long built in self sits above the television. This is good sleek and interesting choice for this minimalist and modern space.
These black floating shelves match the furniture and hearth, tying the room together and proving much space for a variety books. The messy book look gives a lived in, and well read look.
This room used a combination of floating and built in shelves make good use of these spaces between the extended fireplace.
These shelves hold a number of design pieces, and the colored wall behind them really ties the room together with the shelves.
Source: Zillow Digs™
These shelves have a nice wood color, giving a natural look. On the top shelf there is a projector, which is a great idea for an alternative to a television.
These built in shelves are colored red to make them pop against the rest of the monochromatic decor in this interesting and modern living room.
These built in shelves are wide open, and roomy, leaving plenty of space for design elements and storage. When built into the wall like these shelves, the room can feel open, and clutter free.
This shelving unit is designed to lean against the wall. This kind of unit is good if you don’t want to install anything on your walls.
This built in shelving helps keep this unique space clutter free and open. It is minimalist living room, that uses space and shelving to stay as simple and sleek as possible.
These floating shelves are doing an amazing job making use of these nooks and crannies between the stone fireplace and the hallway.
This living room has a number of long horizontal simple built in shelves that even go over the doorway. These are a good way to make use of otherwise unused space above doors.
Source: Zillow Digs™
While not freestanding, these installed shelves cut into the space, and dividing this room well.
These floating shelves and counter tops are fun and functional, and a add a great bit of layers to this living room.
Simple, dark shelves develops and adds more rich tones to the room. There is plenty of self space here for all sorts of space, although they are still look good when left bare.
These floating selves have a fun and modern design, with interesting features. The long sides give the selves a unique and appealing look.
This free standing bookshelf is sleek and simple, and can fit in almost any living space. This is a nice pre-constructed, mobile, and clean bookshelf.
This living room has extensive shelving. So much so, there is a sliding ladder element. This gives the room a library stacks feel, that is unique and very visually interesting.
These built in shelves have lighting elements to bring a lot of life to the shelves. Built in shelves can sometimes be laden in shadows, and this creative idea can light up the elements that you want displayed.
Source: Zillow Digs™
A small white built in shelving area, tucked between an art piece and the stairs. It is out of the way, and a good use of otherwise unused space.
Two shelving areas on wither side of a stone fireplace. They serve to bookend the mantle, which also serves as additional shelving. There are decorative candles, and other design pieces that help fill the otherwise empty space with interesting design.
A free standing table can make a good self. This worn wood table has an antique look that could fit with a variety of design styles.
A very simple and beautiful shelving unit is tall, leaving plenty of space for items. The color and construction of the shelves extends the wooden design further into this family room.
Source: Zillow Digs™
These interesting square selves build space for storage and design elements, while making a very visually appealing feature to this wall.