When you make shelving a feature, rather than a bland device to store clutter, the stuff you display tends to look (and get treated) better...
"Try low-level [shelving], at waist height," suggests the inspirational Small Spaces (Quadrille). The effect is side-board-ish. "Shelving at skirting-board-height is even less obtrusive."
Think inside the box
Create a series of mini stages by painting individual, odd-sized box shelves (MDF works) to match the wall behind and back with wallpaper off-cuts. (Or cheat: see page 139 of the Housedoctor.dk catalogue.)
Heart of glass
See the "cinema room" at Bermondsey's Garrison pub online: the backlit shelves crammed with vintage bottles look gorgeous. How to do it? With Johncullenlighting.co.uk's discreet Contour strips, £131 per metre.
Stash those irritatingly small random objects your child hoards in house-shaped Little Dorm wall-shelves, £64.99, kidsen.co.uk
The Umbra Conceal, £12.95 at eeroandriley.com, ingeniously makes piles of books "float". Très cool.
Style perfectionist? If ugly books won't do, search Amazon for "clothbound Penguin Classics". Feeling flush? Let juniperbooks.com do the work.
Sex it up
For affordable designer shelves with wow, visit made.com/storage (polygone shelving unit designed by Luka Stepan, £269, pictured above)
Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at www.yourhomeislovely.com