What to Put on Corner Shelves
  • July 3, 2024
  • decoreloquent
  • 0

What to Put on Corner Shelves Making use of wasted corner space with shelving opens up many possibilities for extra storage or showcasing décor you love. But corner shelves can also be tricky to effectively style.

By first measuring the exact shelf dimensions, considering your functional needs, and developing a theme, you can transform that underutilized area into a creative solution for organizing tight spaces or building captivating displays.

What to Put on Corner Shelves

Measure the Corner Shelf Area

Taking precise measurements is crucial for planning what types of items your corner shelves can accommodate. Consider key dimensions like:

  • Height – Measure floor to ceiling vertically along corner
  • Width & Depth – How much horizontal space do you have to work with?
  • Depth – Shallow shelves limit what you can display

Knowing the exact parameters of your shelf area allows better planning and maximizes the use of the available space.

You can also get creative with building customized shelving to best suit your needs if you start with the exact corner measurements.

Height12 inches
Width5 feet
Depth16 inches

“Measure twice and cut once” absolutely applies to optimizing corner shelves. Knowing the exact shelf dimensions informs all other decisions.

Decide on Functionality and Purpose

After measuring, think about how you want to use that corner shelf area and what purpose it will serve. Some great options include:

Display Meaningful Items

  • Collections
  • Souvenirs
  • Artwork
  • Framed photos
  • Awards or trophies

Extra Storage

  • Books, video games, DVDs
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Craft supplies
  • Medicines, first aid

Reading Nook

  • Cozy chair or bean bag
  • Floor lamp
  • Bookcase
  • Blankets and pillows

House Plants and Garden Corner

  • Plant stands
  • Ceramic planters
  • Gardening gloves and tools

Cozy Dining Area for Two

  • Small table and chairs
  • Wine rack
  • Utensil organizer
  • Cafe lighting

By identifying your functional needs from the outset, you can customize the corner shelves to suit that specific purpose whether display, storage, or creating a niche space like a reading nook.

Choose a Theme or Design Style

Establishing a consistent theme or style for your corner shelf area adds harmony and a polished look. It also informs many other decisions like materials, colors, textures and accessory choices.

Some possible design influences to consider:

  • Rustic Farmhouse: Dark wood tones, galvanized metal, woven baskets
  • Modern and Sleek: Glass, metal, neutral colors, clean lines
  • Colorful and Eclectic: Vintage finds, bright mismatched patterns, global cultural pieces

Browse sites like Pinterest to gather inspiration images for your desired aesthetic. This helps inform both practical storage solutions as well as decorative elements.

Create Focal Points

When styling any shelf display, creating deliberate focal points draws the eye, builds visual interest, and brings everything together.

Some options for creating focal points include:

  • Artwork – Paintings, prints, wall hangings
  • Baskets – Decorative woven baskets provide warmth
  • Collections – Display special objects like travel souvenirs, framed photos, or awards
  • Plants – Trailing vines, potted herbs and succulents
  • Sculptural Objects – Ceramic vases, unique decorative pieces

Place these focal point elements at eye level in the center or at each end of shelving unit. Then fill in additional decorative objects around those attention-grabbing pieces.

Maximize Vertical Storage

While a single set of shelves helps, adding height and multiple layers of shelving exponentially increases storage capacity for tight spaces.

Some ideas include:

  • Multi-Tier Shelving Units – Many materials like wood, metal, glass
  • DIY Stacked Crates – Repurposed milk crates or storage containers
  • Ladder Shelf against Wall – Lean floor to ceiling against flat wall

Go right up to ceiling with compact vertical storage to get every inch of height capacity.

Add Lighting

Properly illuminating corner shelves showcases contents and makes spaces feel brighter and larger.

Lighting ideas include:

  • Accent Lighting – Install sconces or recessed directional lighting.
  • Under Cabinet Lights – Strip lighting attaches underneath shelves.
  • String Lights – Wrap corner with festive string lights.

“The right lighting can make even the darkest, tightest corner feel bright and spacious.”

Style Books and Knick-Knacks

Shelves peppered with books, objects and decorative items have lots of charm and personality.

Bookcase Display Tips

  • Organize by color for visual impact
  • Stack horizontally and vertically
  • Add bookends to keep upright

Styling Knick-Knacks

  • Object vignettes tied together with color scheme
  • Leaning wooden boards to display smaller items
  • Pedestals of varying heights to stagger items

Follow symmetry or purposely asymmetry when arranging different shelf elements.

Use Baskets and Boxes

Incorporating storage containers is both practical for organizing items out of sight but also adds nice decorative accents.

Basket and Box Ideas

  • Woven baskets in natural tones
  • Ceramic, metal or woven boxes
  • Repurposed milk crates for industrial vibe
  • Baskets mounted on the wall!

Neutral colored storage containers blend in as subtle backdrop while colorful or patterned ones make a statement.

Build Custom Cabinetry

For a built-in, polished look, customize cabinetry and shelving to fit the exact corner space.

Cabinetry Ideas

  • Enclosed cabinets with doors
  • Exposed shelving cubbies open or with doors
  • Angled cabinets tailored to corner space
  • Built-in bench seating with storage underneath

Work with a carpenter or contractor to construct custom wood cabinetry suited for your needs.

Display House Plants and Garden Accessories

A plant-lover’s dream, corner shelves filled with gorgeous greens bring the beauty of nature indoors.

Garden Corner Elements

  • Hanging plants in macrame or terrariums
  • Ceramic planters and plant stands
  • Watering cans, gardening gloves and tools
  • Shears, mister, propagation supplies

Mix trailing plants, standing plants, flowering and foliage varieties for lush vibrancy.

Create a Cozy Dining Space

Transform a kitchen or dining area corner into an intimate two-person dining nook.

  • Small cafe table and chairs
  • Hanging utensil rack or wine glass racks
  • Under cabinet lighting
  • Patterned cushions on bench seating

Set a gorgeous tablescape with candles, fresh flowers, runner and place settings.

The often under-utilized space of corner shelves offers so many possibilities for extra storage, display areas, or even small niche spaces like a reading nook or plant corner. Follow this guide’s best tips for measuring the area, identifying your functional needs, choosing an aesthetic, and incorporating lighting, focal points, and style elements that make the most of those tucked away shelves.

What unique ideas do you have for sprucing up boring corner shelves? Share how you’ve creatively transformed your corner shelves to add storage, display favorite items, or build a custom nook.

You may also read: How to Install Corner Shelves

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