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What are Shelving Units?

By Susan Grindstaff
Updated May 17, 2024
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Shelving units are considered a type of do-it-yourself shelving that is typically purchased as a complete kit. They usually consist of two or more shelves and are usually made of wood, wire, or metal. Kits should contain everything needed for installation, with all the shelves pre-cut and ready to assemble.

Some of the more expensive shelving units are elaborate and upscale. They are typically all wood rather than wood veneer and are often used as bookcases or entertainment centers. Other more expensive types of units include chrome, glass, and wrought iron. Sometimes more formal types of shelving can be used as room dividers, often placed between living and dining areas. Wood units such as these are usually bought pre-stained and varnished, but some are offered in raw lumber, ready to be stained or painted to suit the décor of a specific room.

Shelving units are often used in kitchens as freestanding centers to hold small appliances such as microwaves or counter top convection ovens. This type of unit is often constructed from wrought iron, but can also be purchased in wood, and many may feature butcher block or tile inlay. Shelving units are also commonly used in kitchen panties for storing food and other kitchen items.

Many lower cost shelving kits are made of wire or covered wire. They do not accumulate dust and require much less maintenance as compared to other types of shelving. Many people use wire shelving units in laundry rooms and kitchen pantries. In addition, a wide variety of wire shelving units are available that have been specially designed for closets, particularly bedroom closets. They can be purchased with clothing rods and wire bins, ready to assemble and install.

Another area where wire or metal shelving makes sense is in a garage or utility room. Many homeowners use their garages as their main storage area, and installing shelving in the garage may be a good investment. In addition, if there is a hobbyist in the home, the garage is a good place to store supplies. In garages and utility rooms, many homeowners use shelving units made to attach to pegboard. In most cases, the shelving simply slips into the pegboard slot, and the shelves can be spaced as needed.

Shelving units can be purchased at home improvement retailers. Most units are ready made, but some home improvement centers offer customization. The buyer can specify the number of shelves needed and the length and width of the overall unit. This type of customization is typically much more expensive than ready made units.

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