When we think of wall treatments, we often focus on wallpaper, paint or architectural moldings rather than on shelves or bookcases, even if they’re built-in. Shelves are viewed as having more in common with extraneous wall hangings, such as art and mirrors, than with feature walls. And yet, there’s that rare shelving unit that houses our books and knickknacks in such a unique way that it manages to completely transform the room it’s in. Here are 16 examples of shelves whose scale or material makes them utterly cool alternatives to the standard boxy bookcase plunked against a wall.
1. Zigzag appeal. It’s not unusual to see a series of floating shelves in an office, or a single long shelf in today’s kitchens that have forgone upper cabinets. Far less common is a single floating shelf with dips and peaks like this one. Though it serves the same function as the straight shelves we’re accustomed to, its dynamic lines gives it a decidedly edgier profile and allow it to take up more space on the wall. Plus, its command of the recess earns it the bona fide title of feature wall.