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​Modern shelving ideas for any home

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Autumn in Montpelier - Bespoke Home Cinema Modern media room by Finite Solutions Modern
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Like everything else in the interior design world, shelves have certainly evolved. While they were originally created as an organisational necessity meant to be hidden away, modern times have seen them come out of the closet (pun intended) and become part of any room’s décor. 

Modern shelving ideas encompass a range of options, from open bookcases and floating shelves to wall-mounted designs in unique shapes and styles.

So, in the spirit of increasing your home’s storage factor and visual aesthetics, let’s treat ourselves to some trendy modern shelving ideas.

1. Modern shelving ideas: Room dividers

BOON—Cube Storage Units - Stepped Shelves Scandinavian style living room by Regalraum UK Scandinavian
Regalraum UK

BOON—Cube Storage Units—Stepped Shelves

Regalraum UK

Call it an open bookcase, call it contemporary shelving, the point is that these designs pull double duty. While they flaunt your reading collection (perfect for the living room and home office), they also help divide separate spaces in an open-plan layout. 

But they’re not only ideal for large spaces, as these clever creations also pop up in lofts and studio apartments that need separation between different areas. 

The other great thing about divider shelves is that, since they are open, they allow a visual link with the adjoining room, ensuring no space becomes too cramped or gloomy.

2. Modern shelving ideas: For the home office

Clerkenwell House 01 Eclectic style study/office by YAM Studios Eclectic
YAM Studios

Clerkenwell House 01

YAM Studios

Struggling to focus in your study or home office? Maybe you just need to streamline the space? 

Whether in your study, living room, bedroom or kitchen, find a wall or nook that can be turned into a shelving unit and add storage areas. It’s the easiest, fastest way to get rid of clutter and turn a once-cramped working area into a clean and welcoming space. 

Desk shelves can also be supported by open bookcases or filing cabinets underneath, or even placed as a floating surface with the right hardware and wall brackets. Even the most novice of DIYers can try this out and turn their new workspace into a stylish spot by adding wallpaper or some contrasting paint colours.

3. Modern shelving ideas: A gallery wall

Framed photos of friends and family? Vintage pieces you want to show off? With the use of shelves, you can create a wall-mounted gallery and display those items proudly.

When it comes to artwork, open shelving can range from narrow ledge-type shelves to deeper bookcase shelving. What’s more, shelf finishes can be textured (like reclaimed wood or metallic) for even extra pizzazz. And you can space them apart perfectly according to OCD standards, or artfully create a random pattern.

4. Modern shelving ideas: A media wall

New York City Family Home Modern media room by JKG Interiors Modern
JKG Interiors

New York City Family Home

JKG Interiors

No need to be content with a simple credenza and a TV atop. Turn your boring TV wall into the focal piece in your living / media room. 

By placing shelves around your television, you have the ability to store small media gadgets or accessories to balance out the technical aspect of the wall. But keep in mind that your shelf objects need to be carefully selected and streamlined so that it doesn’t compete with the television, which should be the main feature of your media wall.

5. Modern shelving ideas: For your prized collection(s)

From vintage teacups you inherited from your grandmother to travel trinkets, shelving remains the most popular way of displaying well-loved collections and creating a standout design feature. Just keep in mind that, when curating your collections, less is always more. That means you don’t need to cram every single piece onto one shelf – breathing space among those pieces is important for a clean and inviting look. 

If you need to cluster a few, allow a reasonable amount of space between the next group on the same shelf. 

homify hint: Think about coordinating colour and shape, even with your book collection. Some people arrange their books by the colours of the spines, while others alternate between vertical and horizontal stacking

6. Modern shelving ideas: Lit-up designs

modern  by homify, Modern Metal

White shelving with lighting and white wall fixings


There’s no reason why your modern shelving can’t add to your home’s lighting levels. As we all know that layered lighting is key, why not add one more to the group?

Don’t let your ceiling light, table lamp and wall sconces carry the entire burden. Shelves with LED strips can (literally) highlight your décor displays while also helping to illuminate your room so much more.

7. Modern shelving ideas: In the kitchen

Modular shelving: industrial  by The Plate Rack, Industrial
The Plate Rack

Modular shelving

The Plate Rack

Who says your cabinets need to carry all the load when it comes to your kitchen storage? Modular shelving not only increase your storage factor, but also helps show off some prized accessory pieces, from vintage teacups and special-guests-only dishware to pretty potted plants. 

Or opt for displaying your collection of spices near your cooking area. Your kitchen, your rules!

8. Modern shelving ideas: Wall-mounted enclosed designs

Wall mounted cabinet hosting HD projector and accessories Modern media room by Finite Solutions Modern
Finite Solutions

Wall mounted cabinet hosting HD projector and accessories

Finite Solutions

Shelves come in many different styles and shapes nowadays, including an oldie-but-goodie box design. These niche-like shapes, as shown in this example, puts a more modern spin on wall shelving while also showing off some character.  

And of course it’s so easy to create your own back home. Take your box shelving (even simple wooden crates will do) of choice and simply nail/glue them to the walls. For extra pizzazz, add lighting fixtures inside for individual little glows.

9. Modern shelving ideas: For the wine lover

BOON—Cube Storage Units - Wine Racks Rustic style wine cellar by Regalraum UK Rustic
Regalraum UK

BOON—Cube Storage Units—Wine Racks

Regalraum UK

Last but certainly not least, the perfect solution for presenting your wine collection. We know sommeliers go through so much time and so many tastings to find the perfect wines for perfect occasions, that they deserve to show off their treasures with pride.

Safely store your wine collection in your living room (against the wall, or as a room divider), or stack it in your wine cellar. Whichever route you follow, your guests are sure to appreciate your attractive displays.

You may want to have a look at these Clever storage ideas for small homes.

Where in your home are you putting up some new, modern shelving?
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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