The three-bedroomed house with a picket fence in the suburbs is not always an option for young couples. Many millennials are choosing smaller accommodations as they are easier to care for than the traditional home.
We’ve put together your guide to decorating with wall shelves and ledges to help you make the most of the space you have in your home, regardless of the size.
How to Style Wall Shelves and Ledges
Adding shelves to walls is not just a matter of giving yourself more storage space. You want your shelves to look good, either by blending into the wall or by becoming art in themselves.
Here are some ideas for shelves that look good in any home:
How to Install Wall Shelves and Ledges
Before you can begin to decorate your wall shelves or ledges, you need to install them. This is a simple process, but if it’s not done properly, you could find yourself staring at a lop-sided shelf.
Here’s how to install your wall shelves and ledges properly.
Plan Your Shelf Placement Carefully
Once you’ve decided where you want your shelf to sit on the wall, ask someone to hold it in place while you mark the wall with a light pencil. Use a level to make sure it’s straight and mark the wall at the top, left, and right sides of the shelf.
Measure down from the top of the shelf to the top of the bracket slot. Then, measure down from the mark on the wall for where the top of the shelf will be. Use a box level to mark a pencil line that is the same width as the shelf. This will show the height of the mounting holes.
Measure from the edge of the shelf to the center of the mounting hole and then draw a pencil line from the mark on the wall up to the point where it intersects with the mounting hole line.
Measure the dimension of the shelf to the center of the mounting hole and mark. This will be the center or your first mounting hole.
Turn the shelf over and place a tape measure at the right edge of the left mounting hole. Make sure you hold the tape tight and measure the distance to the right edge of the right bracket mounting hole.
Start at the first mounting hole location and measure the distance between mounting holes on the wall, and mark. This is where the center of the second mounting hole will be.
Select and Install Wall Anchors
Use an electric drill to drill a precisely placed hole into the center of each of the mounting hole locations you marked on the walls. Insert an anchor into each of the holes and lightly tap them with a hammer. This will stop the prongs from turning when you tighten the screw.
Tighten the screw completely and once all are fastened, back them off between 1/8 to 14 inches. Clean up any dust and erase the pencil marks from the wall.
Carefully align the wall shelf mounting bracket holes over the anchor screws and slide your shelf down until it sits on the mounting bracket.
What to Display on Your Wall Shelves and Ledges
Once you have your shelves on the wall, you need to decide what items you will display on them, and how you will display them. Here are some ideas you may not have thought of:
Towels and face cloths are the most obvious items to place on bathroom shelves, but why not brighten up the smallest room in the house with color. Arrange the towels and face cloths in color groups.
Alternatively, you can create a theme for your bathroom and you don’t have to stick with the usual nautical or seaside options. How about a circus theme for the children’s bathroom? Adding clowns, or small carousels to the shelves will establish the theme and add some gorgeous colors as well.
Crockery is always a good option for kitchen shelves if they are low enough that the smallest household members can reach them. For the higher shelves, you can place vintage appliances, a selection of colored pottery, or different sized bottles.
Lounge and Living Areas
Your options in the main living areas are only limited by your imagination. Books can be lined up on shelves and ledges instead of being relegated to the heavy bookcase in the study.
Your living room shelves should be covered with things that you like to look at each day. This is the place for family heirlooms, photo frames, art and sculptures with sentimental value.
If you have small children in the house or pets, it’s a good idea to place your breakables on the higher shelves so that small hands and tails can’t get to them. Consider displaying some of the children’s artwork in frames on these shelves.
Shelves for the children’s rooms are a great place to store precious gifts. Often people will give small children keepsakes that the child is too young to care for properly. These items can go on shelves in their rooms.
By the time they’re old enough to reach the keepsakes, they should be old enough to use them responsibly.
Your bedroom should be your sanctuary. This is the best room to display little mementos from occasions or trips away, framed concert tickets, or favorite pieces of art that may not be suitable for public viewing in the rest of the home.
Any childhood toys that you may have can look fabulous on bedroom shelves if they suit the rest of the room’s décor. Or you could display vinyl records that you can no longer play or your favorite doll from when you were a toddler.
Other items that look fantastic on shelves in the bedroom are shoes, particularly heels, handbags, and perfume bottles. Of course, the bedroom is another popular place for books. Try arranging them on the shelves by size, or color group.
The Rules for Decorating Wall Shelves and Ledges
The old decorating rules no longer apply. Trends go in and out of fashion, but your home should be comfortable and as unique as you are. Whether you’re adding shelves to your home for extra storage or to add a focal point to the room, you might want to spend some time experimenting with different items on your shelves.
The other thing to remember is that the items you have displayed on your shelves don’t have to be permanent. A simple and easy way to refresh a room is to move items around. Change your bookshelves to ornament shelves or your kitchen shelves to art shelves.
You can experiment with different types of shelves too. Glass shelves can be lovely in the right space and are easy to clean. Shelves can be staggered for interest or lined up perfectly under each other.
Using Shelves as A Safety Measure
When you’re deciding where to place your shelves, you need to keep in mind the shortest and the tallest of your household members.
It’s a good idea to put electrical appliances up on the highest shelves to keep them away from young children. However, it’s not a good idea if the person who uses the appliances can’t reach them.