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Picking the Right Shelving System

Stylish shelving options can clear up floor space immediately in any home or office. Almost every manufacturer has ready made shelves, wall-mounted shelves, floor shelves or moveable modular sections. All you have to do is choose one and install it in place. However, so many sub-varieties are available that it can be confusing. Before you go shopping, here are a few things you should know.


Pick Your Style

Manufacturers make several different types of shelves, according to PracticalDIY, and the most common varieties are listed here:

  • Fixed or Moveable Bracket Shelving. This is probably the most common type of shelving used in homes and offices. Brackets are available in metal, glass, plastic or wood and they are attached directly to a wall or case. These brackets are fixed in place and moving them is not possible. However, moveable brackets are attached to a metal, wood or plastic framework and they can be moved up and down to accommodate large or small objects.
  • Built-in Shelving Systems. Stationary built-in shelving is made with wood and it is fitted into walls, nooks or spaces. These are usually custom-made to suit specific wall spaces but now manufacturers also make readymade shelves that will fit into these spaces. Built-in shelves are most commonly seen in kitchens, libraries and storage areas.
  • Floating Shelves. These shelves are the most popular in homes as the actual shelf and bracket system is made from transparent acrylic or glass. The shelf appears to float on the wall and it can easily be moved up or down. Manufacturers make unique colored brackets and shelves and they add style and panache to a home.
  • Freestanding Shelves. Freestanding shelves are usually open cupboards with shelves that you usually see in libraries. These shelves usually extend from floor to ceiling and they may have wheels to move the shelves from one place to another.

These are just a few of the most popular shelf styles available online and they are offered in several different price ranges depending on the cupboard material and size. If you are finding it difficult to understand the types, you can browse a website like Vast Market that has all these shelves in stock.

Measuring Your Space

Now that you know the different shelf types, you can actually think about purchasing one to fit your home. However, before you do that, it is a good idea to measure the space available. Never assume that rough measurements will work. Measure the space exactly but leave at least an inch of space around the expected area to help manipulate the shelf in the future.

Display and Storage

Ask yourself what you are planning to display in the shelf and then choose accordingly. For example, precious items like crystal and porcelain figurines should be stored in a freestanding or wall-mounted shelving system. On the other hand, books can be stored on freestanding or wall brackets depending on size and weight. Another important feature to consider is weight. What are you going to store on the shelving system? Heavy kitchen utensils, food items or gunny bags will mean reinforced shelves on a rigid shelving system. However, delicate collectibles can easily be displayed on glass or acrylic floating shelves highlighted with spot lighting.



Most manufacturers prefer natural wood but you will also find aluminum, recycled wood, chipboard, glass and steel shelves. You should know though that wood and metal shelving systems are the most expensive. Recycled wood and chipboard are the most affordable and they are an eco-conscious alternative as well.


Cost is an essential factor and in fact the primary factor while choosing furniture. Moveable shelves are affordable but fixed shelves and freestanding shelves can be expensive. Custom-made shelves in particular are very expensive as they are handmade and covered with laminates. Instead of spending so much money, it is a far better idea to buy readymade shelves.

Practical Tips

  • Neutral colored shelves are also available. These are made with unstained wood. You can buy them at a lower price and then custom-stain them yourself to match your interiors.
  • All furniture websites will offer detailed instructions on how to assemble and put up your shelving system. You may also be able to purchase shelving preassembled or hire a local professional to assemble it when it arrives.

It’s important to choose a shelving system that is adaptable, according to DIY website All You. You may have to move the system in the future and having an adaptable system will save money. Before the actual purchase, browse through as many websites as possible to compare rates and deals. Almost all furniture websites have seasonal sales in which they cut prices and offer great deals. If your need for a shelving system is not urgent, sale time would be the best chance to get the best deals.



  1. We put some nice freestanding oak shelf bookcases in our study many years ago. They are full of books and other stuff. They still look great. We have some heavy duty metal shelves out in the garage that we use for storage, including extended pantry storage.

  2. We have built-in shelving systems, my father made it customized and we also have a floating shelf in our rooms. I love organizing my books, separating the old books from the new ones.

  3. I’m glad that you talked about how the furniture websites will include instructions on how to install the shelves. I have been looking for shelves to put in my new cupboards, and I didn’t know how I would install any. I can see how it would be nice to check the instructions first before buying, so I know that it won’t be too confusing for me.

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