A shelf can turn an unusable space into an area enriched with design and style. There are many shelving options available and a number of ways for you to use them. Below are a few options that should get your creative juices flowing.

1. Display your personality. Shelves provide the best space for you to put your personality on display—front and center. Share the items that reflect your interests and hobbies by choosing the perfect shelf to complement your living room and collectibles. With a variety of shelf designs on the market, the options can be overwhelming, but you can narrow down your choices by taking into consideration the color scheme used in your living room, the space available, and the amount of items you need to display.

2. Add fun(ction). Take your shelf beyond a simple means for displaying your items and add in some function. A shelf placed at the right height can make an excellent space for a small bar. While the top of a short bookshelf will make a great surface for a bar, don’t limit yourself. Look for a shelf that allows you to pour and mix drinks with ease. However, avoid high shelves or cramped spacing.

3. Add hidden storage. Find a sturdy shelf that is able to stand up to plenty of movement, and place baskets or boxes on the lower shelves to store your kid’s toys and games. If you don’t have children, you can use the boxes to store DVDs or activities for game night.

4. Enhance your space. Smaller rooms can greatly benefit from a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit. If you’re cramped for space, dedicate a wall to a new built-in bookcase or some free-floating shelves. Once you have your new shelving up, reorganize the things in your space to house the majority of your items on the shelves, which will free up some room for furniture and movement.

5. Optimize your closet. Convert your tiny closet into a space that's able to accommodate your entire wardrobe. Adding a shelving unit will provide the lonely, single bar currently hanging in your closet with extra support for all your hanging and folded clothes. Most units will allow you to decide which baskets, bars, and shelves you need to organize your space. Start by categorizing your clothing to determine what would be the best way to store your items before choosing a system.

Larger closets can also benefit from additional shelving. You can transform a walk-in closet into your personal dressing room. Install a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit on one or more walls to house your clothes, and use a small bookcase to display your accessories and fragrances. For fashionistas with a love for shoes, use a bookcase or two to display your collection and ease the stress of finding the right pair of shoes.

6. Organize your clutter. Bring some order to your home with a new shelf or bookcase that allows you to organize anything from your pantry to your home office. Shelves are able to hold a variety of things, and you can place them within eyesight to be easily accessible to everyone. Take time to organize your items in a logical way while incorporating some design elements. Group items together, but don’t be afraid to mix items that have different heights and shapes to create a contrasting presentation.

Shelves can provide function, design, and organization to any room. The key to making the most of your shelves is to determine how they will be used and where they will be located. Once you have those two questions answered, you can spend time finding the perfect shelves to decorate and display your items.

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Sources: HGTV; IKEA.

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