Forget the crowded look. The shelves – not what’s on them – are more likely to be the focal point these days for stylish apartments or elegant lakefront homes.
Today’s designs make a statement, with a cool factor that may work best when the shelves are left nearly empty. Add a bowl of shells or stack of favorite books, and your work is done.
“Trends in interiors are uncluttered and modern,” says Wendy Yeakley, owner of Charlotte-based Homestyles Interior Design. “Shelves today are as artistically designed as the collected pieces they hold and often are more of the attraction than the items on display.”
Complementing a variety of spaces and displaying a whole lot more than books, shelves can be purchased or custom-made, in sizes from super skinny and short to extra wide and long.
Mixed-material shelving, combining wood and metal or glass and stone, is very popular. These products work well in homes that blend old-world character with modern functionality.
Materials for Restoration Hardware’s 1950s Dutch Shipyard collection include industrial iron and solid walnut. The retailer’s French Library shelving, made from iron and hardwood, is designed to resemble a 1940s eastern European library bookcase.
“People don’t want boring,” says Dagmar Rittenbacher of Creative Designs (www.creativedesigns-llc.com), an exclusive dealer with Huelsta USA. “They want playful, and they aren’t afraid to mix elements and colors.”
Antique wood and other natural materials are being paired with modern, mechanical brackets, creating a look that is fun and funky.
But Rittenbacher says there are plenty of other options for simplicity and style.
The uptown condominium with expansive views can be ideal for minimalist style. “White, high-gloss shelves on white walls are the perfect backdrop for black-and-white photographs.” Or, perhaps something bold – a pop of color that grabs the eye.
The Endaco II collection by Huelsta features high-gloss (seven layers of lacquer), scratch-resistant shelves with a contemporary look. “No hooks or metal brackets are visible,” says Rittenbacher.
Shelves as art
Drawings, photos and whimsical accessories can be perched atop shelves and changed seasonally. The perfect foundations might be rectangles of tempered glass or panels of wood that feature hardware hidden from sight. Wire or rope can be used to suspend shelves from ceilings.
Magnetic module shelving is an eye-catcher for homeowners with even more modern tastes. Magnetized steel is affixed to the wall, where magnetic-backed boxes are then arranged in a linear or haphazard design.
Shelves as Architecture
People clamor for wide-open spaces, but coziness can be lost. “Shelves can be used as room dividers,” says Yeakley, noting that creating small conversation areas within large rooms brings back hominess. Baskets, bins and boxes tucked into the shelves then serve as storage space.
Stackable, square modules take display shelving to new heights. Acrylic, wood, or metal, these modules are practical for a variety of interiors. If stacked from floor to ceiling, two of these shelving units placed 6-8 feet apart in an expansive space mimic architectural columns. Just one placed strategically in a large room is sculpturesque — perhaps featuring towering plants as an indoor landscape.
Combining storage and style, today’s display shelving is both functional and fantastical, and it’s nearly impossible to ignore.