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Creating functional and beautiful spaces with built-in shelving

Hi friends!


One of the most common challenges I hear from my clients is hesitation when styling open concept shelves. Open concept shelving, built-in shelving and even cabinets are essential features of your home’s functionality and overall aesthetic. While we’d all love to have perfectly curating Pinterest-style shelves, for most of us, finding functional uses of these spaces is critical in developing the overall flow of your home.


In this article, I will share some of my top tips for designing shelving for your home!



Open shelving is a great way to create an eclectic yet sophisticated look for your home. The open concept can help to showcase your personality and design taste. However, open shelving can border on cluttered and impractical for your family’s true storage needs without careful styling.


To find this perfect balance between design and functionality, I recommend my clients use a combination of open and closed shelving. The open shelves can become part of your design look and highlight some of your favourite items, knick-knacks and décor. The closed shelves or cabinets can be used for some of your more practical storage needs - board games, kids’ toys, cords and cable boxes, etc.



Here are some of my favourite tips to create a perfectly styled shelf.


Create visual dynamics


Using different-sized décor items and storage containers can help to create an interesting visual dynamic for your shelves. I personally love using a mixture of taller pieces and stacked items to draw the eye line up and fill the shelf space.


Use neutrals


To help streamline your shelves’ overall look and feel, I encourage clients to focus on neutral colours or varied shades in the same colour palette. Pops of colour can work great, but I recommend using primarily whites, blacks, beiges (and even metallics!) to create a timeless look and sophisticated feel.


Add greenery


Nothing adds a bit of life like some greenery and plants! Adding some greenery, whether fresh or artificial, is a great way to create texture in your space and brighten up the room. Plus, you can use some funky vases and containers to showcase your new plant babies!


Use baskets and bins to keep your design consistent.


To help organize your shelves without appearing mismatched or random, I recommend using baskets or containers to hide items that don’t go along with your design aesthetic. We have some great options in the Terra Currie Designs shop, including larger baskets for kids’ toys, pillows and blankets and even shoes!


What are your favourite ways to design and style open concept shelves? Let me know in the comments below!


I offer a range of interior design services, including paint colour, flooring, design and furniture layout consulting. For more information on my interior design services, visit my services page. For the perfect design elements for your open concept shelves, visit the Terra Currie Designs shop!



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