Last updated: August 18, 2021

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In this new reading that is sure to interest and help you, we have some information ready for you about shelves for the home. Do you know what we are talking about, I guess you already have one at home, are you sure you have taken full advantage of it, maybe it is already in need of renovation?

Well, shelves are nothing more than furniture and/or tables that bring design and order to the home, they serve to accommodate books, objects, ornaments or whatever you can think of. They can be used in different areas such as: living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, corridors, offices, garages, etc. They are efficient and very useful, as their use is very versatile and comfortable.

In order to purchase one, it is highly recommended to go to the seller of your choice and get the necessary information to be able to buy the one that best suits your needs. That is why we will tell you in detail what the shelves are about, what options you have, what their advantages and disadvantages are, among other details.




Summary

  • A shelf is a piece of household furniture whose purpose is to help achieve order by placing the necessary objects on it, but in a structured and design-oriented way. Being able to store almost anything on it and being able to fit in perfectly with the rest of the decoration of the home are just some of its advantages.
  • There are two types of shelves: wall or floating shelves and furniture with shelves. There is a great variety of styles, designs, colours and sizes. Nowadays, furniture is an object that stands out and stands out, it is modern, it is no longer the antique furniture that took up a lot of space in our grandparents' living rooms.
  • Choosing the best option implies having taken into account factors that are of utmost importance to avoid mistakes, in the best of cases, with a wall shelf, you would have to reposition it. Knowing where you want to use it and the measurements available to place it, are in principle two of the indispensable components for a successful purchase.

The Best Shelves: Our Picks

Buying guide

Choosing the best shelving for the home is no easy task. There are so many options that we can rush into buying something that isn't quite functional, doesn't fit or doesn't combine well enough. Sometimes you need more than one for the same or different spaces. Take a look at what we present here and evaluate your alternatives.

Filling the shelves in a new home, a way to start a new cycle.
(Photo: Daniel J?dzura/ 123rf.com)

What are shelves?

Shelves are furniture that are integrated into the home, they are one of the most important pieces of furniture as they function to accommodate any number of objects depending on where they are placed, such as books, films, CD's, photographs, souvenirs, dishes, kitchen or bathroom items, decorative items, etc. They are also used to separate spaces.

As you can imagine, you need to make choices among the variety of options that exist. One of the most important is whether you want a piece of furniture on the floor or an option that goes on the wall, also called floating. From these premises, there is a wider array of variants that are triggered by each concept.

And the fact is that nowadays decoration has no limits, if you have the creativity and means to do so, you can place whatever comes to mind, they are totally customisable. Remember that each object or piece of furniture placed in your home speaks of who you are and your tastes, as well as giving life, colour, order and integration to your spaces.

Advantages
  • There are a variety of options to choose from
  • They are made of different materials
  • They can be used to store objects or divide spaces
  • They integrate with the rest of the furniture
  • They can be used in almost any space
  • They are versatile and functional
Disadvantages
  • Placing them yourself can be complicated
  • Choosing incorrectly can saturate the place
  • Some do not support much weight

What is the difference between a bookcase and a shelf?

According to the RAE, a bookcase is a "piece of furniture with shelves for placing books" and a shelf is "each of the boards arranged horizontally on a piece of furniture or wall for placing objects on them", so in the end both concepts are intertwined.

Furniture with shelves or floating shelves - what should you pay attention to?

How much storage do you need, how much space do you have, in which area of the house or office do you want to place it, will you use it only for storage or will it also divide some area, how many do you need? These are some of the questions you need to answer to start defining the type of shelf that can meet your needs.

As we mentioned before, there are two types that trigger the others, these are furniture that have built-in shelves and those that are placed on the wall, also called floating, both options are customisable but their characteristics are different, let's see them.

Furniture with shelves. This is a structure made of wood or any other material that does not have doors or drawers (or at least part of it does not have them), leaving it open and letting you see its contents inside. It can store all kinds of objects, there are standard sizes for books of regular or deeper sizes.

Floating shelves. These are shelves or pieces of furniture that are attached to the wall. They can be made of different materials, there are even some made of the same masonry as the building materials. Their purpose is the same - to store any kind of objects - only this option allows you to occupy empty walls.

Furniture with shelves Floating shelves
Placement They can be placed anywhere there is space They have to be installed
Sizes They come in all sizes They come in all sizes
Uses To store objects and books, separate spaces To store objects and books
Areas of use Any area in the home or office Any area in the home or office

How much does a shelf cost?

The number of shelves that we can find in the world of commerce is very wide, there is something for all tastes, spaces and needs. There is even the possibility of having them custom made, so you will have something unique in your hands and completely designed your way.

Prices vary as much as the options and there is something for all budgets. If you choose a custom design the prices will be subject to the carpenter who does the work. On the other hand, whether it's custom or a floating shelf you should consider that there will be installation costs involved that have to be paid, unless you are an avid user of tools.

The price will vary and increase depending on how elaborate it is, the material, the size, the shop where you want to buy it or the author of the piece. As a consequence there are very high costs that you can find up to more than 1500 GBP.

There are two types of shelves: wall or floating shelves and furniture with shelves.
(Photo: Vasyl Dolmatov/ 123rf.com)

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate the different models of shelves for the home

To be absolutely sure that we are making a smart and foolproof purchase, we need to consider information that helps us understand our exact needs. Being informed is the basis for success even when faced with the seemingly obvious. That's why we've put together this compendium of criteria that are a must when shopping.

Material

Just as we have talked about their versatility in terms of functionality, it is also worth mentioning that they are versatile in terms of manufacturing, as they can be made in multiple materials. This helps to have a wider range of options to give to the customer and he can find something that suits his pocket, or the decoration he wants.

Among the materials to choose from are: wood, glass, MDF, plastic, melamine, metal, stainless steel, etc. The choice depends on the desired decoration and the resistance they expect to withstand. Let's take a look at some characteristics of the most common materials:

Wood. It is one of the most frequently used materials, usually you can find options in pine, cherry, oak, or beech. Wood gives a fine, classic and cosy touch to the home. It is also a long-lasting material and if protected with varnish can offer resistance.

Glass. This is a material that is usually used for small shelves, more for decorative purposes as it does not support a lot of weight. It has the disadvantage that it is very fragile and breaks relatively easily, so it is used for shelves that should not be exposed.

MDF. It is a derivative of wood, its acronym stands for its main characteristic, "medium density fibre" which is extracted from wood fibres and compressed synthetic resins. This makes it an economical material, it looks very similar to a wooden furniture but its quality is lower.

Plastic. It is such a strong material that it is often used in children's rooms. There are multiple colours to suit the design of the room. So it offers resistance, variety of designs and low costs.

Metal. It is a modern material and is so strong that it can be trusted with almost anything for storage. But being hard it can also represent a moderate risk in the home, so if you choose this material you should have a prepared space and as far as possible avoid accidents.

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Size

The first step to know the space is to measure, so use a tape measure and measure the dimensions of the place where you want to place it. You should also consider the measurements of the furniture, especially if what you want to place, for example, are large encyclopaedias, which implies that the shelves have great depth.

The right choice will be decisive in the way the shelves look and function in their intended space. Generally, taller shelves take up a large part of the wall and give the impression of being more expensive; the width should be proportional to the height; the depth should allow for free storage of objects and books.

On average, bookshelves are between 20 and 30 cm deep, depending on the needs. For the length a good average measurement is 80cm, and its thickness is 2cms. It is important to think about materials versus measures versus weight, to place objects according to the space and the support the shelf has.

Style

One of the most important points in the sense of functionality and decoration is style. If you have decided what area and location it will have, then you should also know what kind of shelf you want and what design you will use. Some of the most common are: standard, étagère, cube, scaffolding, corner, ladder or built-in but there are many more.

For example, to install a new shelf in the living room where there is an empty wall that you don't want to clutter and only highlight details, then you can choose a floating cube-shaped one, as based on the decoration of the rest of your furniture you manage a minimalist style. Place a plant or decorative object in each cube and that's it.

For every style of decoration (minimalist, children's, rustic, contemporary, Nordic, vintage, industrial, classic, deco, modern, etc.) there is a shelf that will live happily in the room you place it in, just make sure it is functional and not too cluttered so as not to create visual noise.

(Featured image photo: Jozef Polc/ 123rf.com)

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