Create extra storage and style in your home with corner shelving

As a woodworker and DIY expert living in a Chicago apartment, I always seek ways to maximize my limited space while adding character and functionality. One of my favorite tricks is incorporating corner shelving to create extra storage and infuse style into any room. After installing all sorts of corner shelves over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about making the most of this smart storage solution. Read on for tips on choosing, installing, and styling corner shelving in your home.

The Magic of Maximizing Space

Living in the Windy City, I’m familiar with making the most of small spaces. Corner shelving is a savvy way to take advantage of the awkward angles and tight quarters in urban apartments and homes.

Create extra storage and style in your home with corner shelving

Rather than leaving corners empty and unused, corner shelves provide a place to tuck away items that would otherwise clutter counters or sit in piles on the floor. I’ve installed corner shelves in just about every room in my home:

  • Kitchen corners are great for cookbooks, spices, utensils, and other frequently used items. My corner shelf organizes all my grilling essentials and frees up cabinet space.
  • I use a corner shelf in the living room to hold books, knickknacks, and my thrift store finds. It opens up space and gives the room a collected curated vibe.
  • My bedroom corner shelf houses books, my alarm clock, and a few framed photos, making it a perfect alternative to a bedside table.
  • In the bathroom, I squeezed in a narrow corner shelf to hold extra towels and toiletries. Such a space saver!

Going vertical with storage lets you make the most of any home’s quirky corners. Corner shelving creates flow, continuity, and a sense of spaciousness—even in the tightest spots.

Corner Shelving: Blending Storage and Style

One of my favorite things about corner shelves is that they serve both stylish and practical purposes, maximizing unused space.

Corner shelves provide much-needed storage for the endless parade of items we accumulate at home. From books and bedside essentials to dishware and decorations, shelf space always needs to be improved. Corner shelves are a clever way to gain storage exactly where you need it most.

Find the perfect corner shelving for your homes style

But corner shelves also pull double duty by contributing to the overall aesthetic of your home. They create an intentional look and feel rather than just being purely functional. Corner shelves add shape, line, and style to your room:

  • In modern, minimalist spaces, floating corner shelves reinforce the clean lines and airy feeling.
  • Industrial and rustic rooms benefit from the raw, utilitarian look of pipes or weathered wood corner shelves.
  • Shabby chic and vintage corners sing with delicate distressed wood or scrolled metal work shelves.
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With so many materials, such as wood, metal, glass, and more, to choose from, it’s easy to find corner shelves that align with your style. They add storage, and corner shelves truly elevate your space.

Picking the Right Corner Shelves

Once you’re sold on the benefits of corner shelving, it’s time to choose the right shelves for your needs. There are several options when it comes to configuring corner shelving:

Fixed Bracket Shelving

Brackets are the tried-and-true choice for supporting traditional shelving units. Basic L-brackets or decorative scrolled brackets add a classic look to any room. The simplicity of designing fixed shelves makes them ideal for the DIYer.

Pros: Provides sturdy, dependable storage. They are easily customized to fit your space.

Cons: Can eat up floor space. Visible brackets may clutter the look.

Floating Corner Shelves

Floating shelves make a statement with their streamlined, modern look. Mounted directly to the wall, they defy gravity with their clean-lined minimalism. They are available in a range of materials to suit your vibe.

Pros: Sleek, contemporary aesthetic. They are easily installed for renters.

Cons: Often can’t support much weight. More prone to tipping or sagging.

Create extra storage and style in your home with corner shelving 1

Corner Bookcases

If you have extensive storage needs or want to define a space, corner bookcases or shelving units are excellent choices. You can customize them with doors, drawers, and other additions to create your ideal storage fixture. Use it as a room divider or cozy reading nook!

Pros: Provides abundant storage space. It can become a focal point.

Cons: Bulky. Require ample corner space. They are more expensive than bare shelves.

Modular Corner Shelving

Modular systems offer the ultimate in custom shelving. You can mix and match modules of different shapes, heights, and depths to build your ideal shelving unit, and you can reconfigure it as needed to accommodate changing storage needs.

Pros: Highly customizable. They are easily rearranged. It’s fun to design yourself.

Cons: Individual pieces can get pricey. Require some DIY assembly.

No matter your style or storage needs, there is a corner shelf solution that will enhance your space. Let your room layout, architecture, and decor guide your design.

Selecting Materials for Corner Shelves

The materials you choose for corner shelves will impact the form and function. Consider which finishing will best suit your space:

Wood: Classic and Versatile

It’s hard to go wrong with wood shelves—the quintessential material that fits any style. Paint, stain, distress, or leave the natural grain visible. I love using salvaged wood planks for shelving; they save trees and look imperfect. Just anchor wood shelves securely, as they can warp or crack over time.

Keep Your Home Neat and Tidy with Corner Shelving

Metal: Modern and Sturdy

From sleek stainless steel to industrial black pipe, metal brings durability and a modern vibe to shelving. Powder-coated steel or aluminum offers bright pops of color. Wrought iron adds beautiful detail. Metal stands up well to wear and tear but can show scratches or rust if not cared for properly.

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Glass: Elegant and Light

Glass shelving adds elegance and illuminates a space. Tempered glass stands up to weight and use. For added interest, layer in frosted, colored, or patterned glass. Avoid using it to store heavy objects or if you have rambunctious kids or pets.

Plastic: Affordable and Practical

Don’t overlook plastic shelving – it’s budget-friendly and customizable. Acrylic shelves come in every color. Inexpensive and easy to install and replace, plastic frames work well for closets, dorms, and other high-use areas. Remember that plastic can fade, warp, or become brittle over time.

Whatever you choose, select shelf materials that will withstand everyday use. And remember to have fun and get creative with your shelves – they show off your personality!

Styling Your Shelves: Design Meets Function

Once your shelves are up, it’s time for the fun part—decorating and filling them! Follow these tips to display your treasures while keeping your shelves neat and practical:

Show Off What You Love

Surround yourself with things that make you happy. That means photos of family and friends, favorite books, and little sentimental objects I’ve collected on my travels. Rotate seasonal items or collections to keep the look fresh.

Get Organized

Add hooks, bins, and baskets to corral items so everything has a place. Labeling bins help keep the clutter at bay. I’m a massive fan of drawer organizers and turntables that use shelf space efficiently.

Style Artfully

Creating an artful display involves playing with heights, groupings, color, and texture. Try framing a collection with bookends—layer greenery for an organic element. Place larger accent pieces in the back and smaller ones in the front. Most importantly, edit so shelves don’t look overcrowded.

Easy Corner Shelving Installation for a DIY Home Improvement Project

The right mix of function and decor lets your shelves reflect who you are while staying neat and usable. This way, you get to enjoy them every day.

DIY Corner Shelf Projects

One of the best parts of corner shelves is that they are an easy, beginner-friendly DIY project. Make corner shelves yourself if you feel up to it. Here are some of my tried and true tips:

Simple DIY Bracket Shelf

All you need is a pre-cut plank, right-angle brackets, and essential tools. Sand, stain, or paint the wood as desired. Use a level to mark stud locations, pre-drill holes for screws, then mount the shelf with brackets. Consider adding trim or molding to fancy it up.

Get Creative with Materials

Don’t limit yourself to plain boards! Upcycle and repurpose unique pieces into one-of-a-kind shelves. I often use old windows, salvaged wood planks, ladders, crates, and objects. Corner shelves are a great way to showcase architectural salvage and antiques.

Pro Tips for Fabulous Finishes

Focus on the details. Use painter’s tape and plastic drop cloths to avoid messy errors. Seal untreated wood before painting or staining for best results. Be patient and let the finishes fully dry before reassembling. Finishing touches like sanding, filling, and sealing make DIY work look professionally done.

Creating your corner shelves allows total creative freedom. Embrace imperfections and choose eco-friendly, repurposed materials. Part of the beauty of DIY shelves is their special little uniqueness.

Installing Shelves: Safety and Security

Installing shelving on your own? Focus on doing it right:

Use Proper Hardware

L-brackets or floating shelf brackets are specially designed for optimal support. Follow weight limits and instructions. For heavy-duty loads, consider standards and brackets or wall cleats.

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From Cluttered to Chic How Corner Shelving Can Help You Organize Your Home

Hit the Studs

Using a stud finder, locate and mark wall studs. When possible, screw into studs for the most secure attachment. Drywall anchors work for in-between areas.

The level is Your Friend.

When marking studs and shelf placement, check for level and plumb. A laser level takes the guesswork out of achieving evenness. If needed, use shims during installation.

Safety First

It’s best to have a second person for large or heavy units. Be safe and aware of the walls’ wiring and plumbing when using a ladder. Wear gloves and goggles to avoid getting splinters or being bothered by sawdust.

Don’t underestimate the importance of proper installation, especially when shelves will hold precious cargo. Take it slow and steady.

Caring for Your Shelves

Just a little routine maintenance keeps shelves looking their best:

  • For wood, dust regularly and occasionally apply polish. Avoid excessive moisture and harsh cleaners.
  • Metal shelves benefit from occasional polishing. Check for rust and treat as needed.
  • Use glass cleaner and a soft cloth for the glass. Never use abrasive scrubbers.
  • Plastic can be easily cleaned with soap and water. Avoid harsh chemicals.

Every few months, inspect shelves and hardware. Tighten any loose parts promptly to avoid damage. With occasional upkeep, your shelves will serve you well for many years.

Corner Shelf FAQs

How do I choose the right corner shelves for my space?

Consider the corner size, the room’s decor, and what you need to store. Floating shelves work well in tight spaces, while thicker shelving units are better suited to larger rooms. Match existing decor elements like colors, textures, and finishes.

Can I install corner shelves on walls without studs?

If you install drywall without studs, you must use hollow wall anchors. Consider standards and brackets that mount to the floor and ceiling for heavy-duty loads. Alternatively, you can choose freestanding corner shelves.

How much weight can corner shelves hold?

The weight capacity depends on the material, design, and hardware. As a general rule, plastic shelves hold up to 20 lbs, glass shelves up to 30 kg, wood shelves up to 50 lbs, and metal shelves up to 100 lbs. Check manufacturer specs and reinforce as needed for heavier items.

What’s the best way to style my corner shelves?

Decorate in layers, using taller items in the back and smaller decorative objects in the front. Group items by category or color scheme. Add lighting or art above to draw the eye upwards. Rotate items seasonally for a fresh look. Consider adding accessories like bins, trays, and bookends.

How can I keep my shelves organized and clutter-free?

Labels and rotating items you don’t use often help keep things tidy. Divide shelves into sections for different types of items. Add functional elements like bins, drawers, or cabinets for concealed storage. Pare down items so frames don’t start looking messy.

Don’t let tricky corners go to waste. Add storage and style to your home with bright, beautiful corner shelving designed just for your space.