The Insider: How to make your shelving sexy

By Kate Burt
Sunday 23 October 2011 08:17

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...

Low riders

"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 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's discreet Contour strips, £131 per metre.

Safe as

Stash those irritatingly small random objects your child hoards in house-shaped Little Dorm wall-shelves, £64.99,

Balancing act

The Umbra Conceal, £12.95 at, ingeniously makes piles of books "float". Très cool.

Librarian chic

Style perfectionist? If ugly books won't do, search Amazon for "clothbound Penguin Classics". Feeling flush? Let do the work.

Sex it up

For affordable designer shelves with wow, visit (polygone shelving unit designed by Luka Stepan, £269, pictured above)

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at

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