What are the Different Options for Home Shelving?

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  • Written By: S. McNesby
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Images By: Paul Vinten, Kadmy, Wicker Paradise
  • Last Modified Date: 09 February 2019
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Home shelving systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used to store many different types of items. Shelves can be freestanding like a piece of furniture or hang on a wall. Different material options for home shelving include wood, glass, metal, and pressboard. Home shelving should be selected based on the type of items that need to be stored and the area where the shelves will be used. Closets and garages can have more utilitarian shelves, while living areas require more decorative shelving options.

Bookshelves and large home shelving systems are designed to stand on the floor of a room. Items can be sorted onto shelves for easy retrieval. Bookshelves and other furniture-like pieces can have doors or glass on the front. A shelving unit with doors allows the items to be stored away from dust and makes the unit look tidy even if the inside is messy. Glass-fronted shelves or shelves without doors show everything stored there, so more effort is required to keep them looking organized.

Wall shelves need to be mounted correctly to ensure that they stay on the wall. Unless the shelves will be displaying very small items, they should be mounted with brackets and wall anchors, if needed. Home shelving that hangs on a wall can serve as a bookshelf, curio shelf, or display case. Wall shelves come in many different materials and are made to match different types of decor.


Closet organizers and home shelving units designed for utility storage are often modular so that they can be configured and installed in different ways. Shelves used for closet and garage organization are often white metal, though black, red, and gray are popular colors as well. Home shelving units designed for utility storage usually lack decorative detailing and are meant to aid in organization, not decorate a room.

Hybrid home shelving units serve multiple functions. Large entertainment centers can hold television sets and other audio-visual equipment along with books and knickknacks. Hybrid shelving is designed to be both decorative and functional and is most commonly used in the living room or family room of a home.

Outdoor shelves can be used by a pool or garden to store seasonal items and protect them from the elements. Shelves of this type are often freestanding, though they can occasionally be wall mounted on the exterior of a home or garage. Outdoor shelves are usually made from plastic and designed to stay outdoors year-round.



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