Most of us want our home to feel warm and inviting, for our family as well as for guests. We often hang up and display photographs, paintings and maybe even quotes that give a taste of who we are and who we’ve been. Whilst they can be stunning and bring an entire room to life, sometimes it just isn’t practical to have ginormous (and expensive) paintings on every wall in every room. Whether our restrictions are our budget or our space, sometimes we need to be cleverer about how we are going to decorate our home without cramming everything in and then realizing we haven’t got much space left for necessities such as storage units.
Wall furniture is a great answer to the dilemma of limited space, as they can serve two purposes – function and aesthetic. Wall shelves can be a statement piece and conversation starter in themselves, whilst also giving you the liberty of being able to store things on them for convenience so that you don’t have to put away photos and art that mean a lot to you due to a lack of space. Below are some ideas of wall furniture you could purchase, or even make yourself! They can be adapted to suit any budget and any taste, and there are also a few DIY ideas if you are more hands-on and have a little bit of spare time to devote to a project. If you are running low on time, a trip to local furniture stores or even a glance on websites will give you thousands upon thousands of options to choose from, so go wild!
Wall Furniture Floating Shelves
The first popular idea for wall storage that is both pretty yet practical is the humble floating shelf. Floating shelves are pretty basic and bare all things considered, however, they are a tasteful little addition to any home and are useful for displaying decorations or equipment. Due to their simplicity, they are very versatile, and a floating shelf need not just be a shelf, it can be a part of a large composition of floating shelves that can be arranged in quirky ways to create the image of stairs, pyramids, circles and so forth. The only limits are the space available and your imagination.
Floating shelves are particularly suited to areas in the house like the living room, study room or office. They eliminate the need to open and close doors every time you want to quickly grab something, which is something you may have to do for cupboards or drawers, and in this regard floating shelves are much more efficient and convenient. If you have a small room or a tight space, floating shelves could be a lifesaver for you as the shelves themselves (depending on the design) take up minimal space. It could also be worth making your own shelf or carefully customizing a store bought one and tailoring it to your specifications so for maximum space efficiency.
Because of their aforementioned versatility, floating shelves can be altered in style and colour so that they complement pretty much any theme or style or your setting may have. They can suit traditional, abstract, contemporary and minimalist decors, among many others. Vary up the design and colour of the floating shelves you buy or make for something explicitly “out there”. For unique floating shelf ideas consider implementing circular floating shelves in your home – they will be certain to catch your eye from a mile away!
In the same way, corner shelves can help to make the most of those pesky corners that are often difficult to dress up in any way. They also take up an oft-forgotten place and so are unlikely to get in the way but will still manage to turn heads due to a distinctive style. You can opt for expensive shelves that are purely for decorative purposes, but beware that if you try and sneak on some ornaments or anything of the sort they may become damaged by the additional weight, as they aren’t built to withstand much pressure,. Consider carefully whether you actually have space for decorative shelves or if you need ones that are multi-purpose.
Show off your Own Shelf!
If you mulling the idea of making your own shelf take into account a few of these ideas about what you could do to make the perfect one. You could use wooden crates or wooden sticks to assemble a shelf. A crate, in particular, is very handy because there are fewer modifications required – just nail your crate to the wall horizontally and once you are certain it is strong and stable you’re good to go! Before mounting the crates, you can paint or decorate them in various ways for a personal look, and encourage other family members to add their own little imprint on it too. Even if you leave the wood as is, it will have a lot of natural beauty and design to hold itself up. Put together several crates for one mega piece, which would work particularly well on an accent wall. You could also repurpose out-of-use instruments or sports equipment such as skateboards by making a few minor changes and then simply mount on a wall. An old table can be used in much the same way. Cut the table in half and voila! You have the basis of two shelves already. It is even possible to hang buckets on the wall as a quirky form of wall furniture.
Whilst wood is usually one of the first if not the first materials to come to mind because of its warmth and sturdiness, you need not limit yourself to only this. After all, if you want a clean, sharp living area then wood may not be too conducive to that. You could try something like copper instead, which is a popular choice for ornaments and other decorations and can work well as a shelf too. It is malleable enough that it can be prised into a variety of shapes, whilst having enough strength to support whatever you place on it. If you are really willing to splash out, opt for marble. The process for making shelves out of marble is much the same as it is for other materials, though you may need some industry standard equipment to work with a material such as this. These shelves can go in corridors, kitchens or even bathrooms.
You can also experiment and challenge yourself with some DIY in the kitchen. One popular idea is to make your own spice rack so that spices are in reach whenever you need to grab them. The design must be practical, otherwise, the spice rack will serve little to no purpose and just become a waste of space. Before you even begin buying or recycling materials, do a survey of the amount of spices you use and the containers they are in, then model your spice rack on your specific mix of spices, so that each has its own space without getting in the way of the other.
Mixing it Up
If your wall furniture is a bit too bland or safe with its colour choices, instead of throwing it out and paying a lot of money for something entirely new, you could spruce up your current furniture! Accessories like decals or stickers can bring brighter hues and some vibrancy into a boring home. What’s more, they aren’t as permanent as the likes of wallpaper. Bored by the renovation you made six months ago? Simply remove your accessories or swap them out for a new style or colour. In this way, they are a lot more cost, time and labour efficient. Use accessories on your wall furniture that contrast with existing hues and textures for something for interesting to the eye, but try to make sure there is a general theme or cohesion within the entire piece, otherwise, it can come across as ill-thought-out and rather slapdash. You can even put silly or sophisticated lettering on your shelves and cupboards for a personal touch. Spell out names, messages, quotes, labels – anything that comes to mind.
To vary up your storage spaces, instead of using all rectangular or square units, throw some other shapes in there! Think hexagons, circles and triangles for a clean, geometric look. Mix up between tall, narrow, wide and so on to keep things fresh and interesting instead of too safe and samey. Another interesting look would be to assign one wall as the “gadget” or “entertainment” wall. This wall would display things like TV’s, speakers, home assistants like Google Home or Amazon Echo, as well as any other fancy gadgetry you may have or are planning on buying! Depending on how much or how little technology you have, you can choose to go for a simple, minimalist entertainment wall as these can sometimes have a more striking effect. You may want to consider this path if you have or will be getting a rather large TV, as too many things surrounding it on the wall can lead to a very cramped feel, and take away from the natural “wow” that a large flat screen can bring (provided it has been designed with aesthetics in mind). It could be worth hanging up your large TV, and maybe some speakers or a sound bar on the shelf or storage unit below.
If you want to maximise the show-stealing effect a gorgeous TV can have, then consider getting a personalized frame around it! These can sometimes be pricey however if you want to make sure your TV is complementing the theme of the room or of your home as best as it can then it may be an option you seriously want to consider. TV’s don’t tend to come in vibrant, experimental colours – companies try to stick with neutral tones as they are the safer option for most homes. However, a neutral tone may not bring the oomph you want from your TV, especially if you are wanting to make it a statement piece, so a frame around your TV can help add a pop of colour or a personal touch if that is what the room is lacking. The frame need not be like the kind of frame you’d expect around a photograph or painting – tightly bordering the edges – it can be spaced out, leaving a gap between the frame and the TV where the wall is showing. This adds another dimension of colour and texture, and though it won’t be the best option for every home, it will be a great option for some!
For a unified look, you could ensure that everything is mounted with the same colour and texture of finishing i.e. chrome, silver or even wood! In this way, you can have a certain running theme throughout the wall where everything complements instead clashes each other. Perhaps you could go for a wallpaper of a lighter hue if all your entertainment systems are leaning towards the deeper and darker colours or vice versa. This helps the wall and the technology be distinct from each other while still working together – and one can pop out against the other.
If you’ve got stray or backup wires or little things like remotes or batteries, invest in a couple good quality baskets to store them in. This goes a long way in helping keep the living room tidy instead of constantly cluttered but also contributes to that sharp, minimalist look mentioned earlier. Of course, you can scour the internet or local shops to find the perfect baskets to complement the room, but you could even try your hand at making your own. It largely depends on how hands-on you are, it may be more convenient to buy instead of DIY! If you are storing some items that are only used infrequently you may want baskets or boxes that come with lids to prevent them from collecting dust and becoming a pain to maintain! Woven baskets are a gorgeous touch and bring a rustic, homely feel to a setting with their unique texture. If a traditional, country theme really tickles your fancy then you can assert this theme with the use of jars and jugs for a more “rough” rather than sophisticated look.
A mirror, though of course very practical, can also be useful as a quirky and bold form of wall décor. If the room can handle it, try out a big mirror that covers a significant amount of a wall for a stunning effect. Mirrors are also known for helping smaller spaces look more spacious due to their ability to reflect light. If space is really tight, then a very large mirror may not be the most sensible option, seeing as space would be a luxury. More often than not, a collection of few, large items, has a much greater impact on a setting than several small decorations. Regardless, try to keep items within a close vicinity for significant, sizable impact. If decorations are scattered on different walls many meters apart it is difficult to cultivate a certain mood or atmosphere, and each individual piece loses out because of it.
Wall furniture ideas for the kitchen include signs, baskets or spice racks, among many other possibilities. Instead of implementing woven baskets into your living room, you could try them in the kitchen, for a warm and inviting atmosphere is what can sometimes be a cold, harsh and neglected place. After all, there should be something in every room to bring a smile to your face or be a comfort in one way or another! If you have special cutlery or dinnerware that you shelled out for to use on special occasions, display them year-round on some shelves, with the help of plate hangers. After all, it really would be a shame to keep beautifully crafted, ornate dishes and cutlery have hidden away from public view, when often they are so mesmerising to behold. In a similar vein, pots and pans that undergo day to day use can also be hung from hooks on your kitchen walls for an extra dimension of sparkle and shine (only once squeaky clean of course!).
If you have some items or decorations you wish to display, but find that room on your walls is pretty scarce, you might be tempted to display things further up, nearer to the ceiling. This may be on a shelf or more commonly on top of a cabinet, where we may place little plates, photos or trinkets for the sake of filling up space or adding colour or even new textures. It can be very inviting, if we see some empty space on a shelf or a cabinet with an empty roof, to place something on there for the sake of placing something on there. You may be guilty of this, but no doubt in the next 5 homes you go to you will also be able to find an example of this somewhere. It is important to truly consider whether the space you are filling really needs to be filled and if the décor you are placing actually contributes to the design element or is simply lost in the crowd. If the answer seems to be the latter – leave the space as it is, eventually any space that may stick out as being uncomfortably bare will soon become a part of the overall aesthetic. It is advised that if you have less than 2” to 3” of space above a cabinet, particularly in kitchens, then the left space as is instead of placing something there that will ultimately be pointless.
Items placed up high are usually hard to look after and often end up simply collecting dust due to neglect, as you could potentially even forget that you placed them up there in the first place, due to a lack of effect. Furthermore, placing decorations up high on cabinets can divert our eyes upwards and our attention away from the real statement pieces and stars of the room, which would mean there is no point shelling out for big-ticket items in the first place. Don’t distract from the pieces that bring charm and character in favour of filling up those difficult spaces that tread the line between bare and full-as-they-are. However, in some circumstances (and only some!) a cabinet could benefit with a bit of décor, but this would be dependent on certain conditions being met.
If your cabinet is short, or just a fair distance below the ceiling, it may meet the criteria for a bit of interior design. Before you cram the top of the cabinet with old memorabilia or some fake plants, consider what effect you want to achieve by placing something on top of the cabinet. It may be you want to bring a bit of vibrancy and colour to the setting. Equally, if your cabinets seem to be a little too short, you may want items that can help “increase” the height of the cabinet, or at least give the illusion of doing so. In this case, use big and bold decorations, for small and intricate pieces will do very little to extend the cabinet, and will be too far away to truly be appreciated for their ornate details, and thus will be a waste of space, money and effort. It is imperative to keep in mind that items on top of a cabinet will be viewed, in most distances, from a fair distance away, and so if they don’t have a bold impact from afar then they aren’t really serving a purpose being on top of the cabinet.
Consider items like boxes, or again baskets, or large vases of pretty much any style to fit your theme. These can also be very practical as they can be used for storage. It would be wise to have a few of a similar type of big and bold decorations for the maximum impact when viewed from far, as they can all blend together to give the illusion of one, larger piece on top of the cabinet instead of a few little ones.
This could be an opportunity to showcase something special that you may have hidden away in storage, or to purchase something beautiful that you had your eye on but you didn’t have a reason to purchase. It would be ideal if, instead of just a solitary item, you had an entire collection to display, as there are few better places to put it! Just because you have a few large items together on top of the cabinet, doesn’t mean they will have the intended effect, you need to ensure the pieces are all unified by way of colour or at the very least, style. The repetition of patterns and colours will ensure that the piece on top of the cabinet is not lost, but able to catch one’s attention and be appreciated for what they bring to a room, be that colour, style or atmosphere.
Another idea, to avoid the hassle of placing decorations in difficult places, is to hang up a curtain. However, the most important thing to reiterate that every item placed up there must be deliberate and serve a very specific purpose (maybe more than one purpose). If you place any old thing up there because it looks mildly interesting it detracts from the time and effort you put into making the rest of the room as gorgeous as it could be.
These were but a few ideas about how to implement wall furniture in your home for something that is unique but still useful. You’ll find that once you have your shelves or baskets or racks up on the wall you’ll find it hard to ever live without them!