22 Floor-to-Ceiling Shelves for Peak Style and Organization

Modern tan fireplace flanked by floor to ceiling open book shelves with two wicker chairs in front

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

Floor-to-ceiling shelves offer a bold statement—whether you’re using them for actual storage or you’ve curated a selection of your favorite decor items. The grand storage cases are a commitment—but they can easily transform a room.

“Floor-to-ceiling shelving units are the perfect solution for small areas and will provide you with more storage space,” says ​​Anton Skarlatov, founder of Fantastic Handyman. “Such a cabinet or a bookshelf can bring a lot of harmony and comfort to a room. Moreover, the benefit of additional storage space will help you a lot with the clutter.”

Whenever you decide that you would like to build such a shelving structure in your home, you need to think of all the purposes you need it to have and where you will place it. Commonly, floor-to-ceiling shelves are used as bookshelves. Of course, that is not the only purpose and variation.

This kind of shelving is also perfect for home offices when you want to have an additional storage area near and or above your desk—and can even work as additional dining room or kitchen storage.

According to Skarlatov, the number of ways his clients take advantage of floor-to-ceiling shelving are almost endless. The only disadvantage that the floor-to-ceiling shelving has is the hard reach to the top shelf—but you can always pick up a ladder or step stool for that!

Whether you’re hoping to install a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit in your own home—or you’re just curious to see how these types of units look in various settings, we’ve rounded up a handful of exceedingly handsome ways to incorporate floor-to-ceiling shelves in your space.

  • 01 of 22

    Opt for Permanent Fixtures

    floor to ceiling shelving


    The most important factor when thinking of adding a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit in your space is to ensure they have been installed and secured properly—this means being permanently fixed to the wall to prevent it coming down on someone.

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  • 02 of 22

    Add a Ladder

    floor to ceiling shelves


    From a practical point of view, these types of units give you more storage than shorter ones, allowing items you don’t use very often to be kept near the top but giving a neat appearance. Of course, this might mean that you’ll need to add a ladder to your shelving unit in order to ensure you can safely reach all the way to the ceiling.

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  • 03 of 22

    Store Items Near the Ceiling

    floor to ceiling shelves


    Having tall units can help make a room feel bigger—even if they are full of things—having items stored near the ceiling draws your eyes up and helps to make the walls seem higher.

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  • 04 of 22

    Consider Atypical Shelving

    floor to ceiling shelves


    According to Skarlatov, if you build floor-to-ceiling shelves and want to display your vinyl records collection and your books, for example, you need to make two different size shelves.You can do this by making one size for the books, so these can be placed standing up, and one big enough for all vinyl records—or you can opt for atypical shelving that broadly fits all types of storage items.

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  • 05 of 22

    Floor-to-Ceiling Library

    Color-coded bookshelves

    Laura Cattano

    Floor-to-ceiling shelves work very well as a home library—but if you’re short on additional bedrooms you can always go such shelves in your living room area or in a dead space in your common area.

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  • 06 of 22

    Be Mindful of the Color Scheme

    floor to ceiling shelves


    “When arranging items on the floor-to-ceiling shelves, make sure to match them to the color scheme of your living room,” suggests Lily Wili, CEO at Everwallpaper. “If the space is designed with neutral tones, then simple ceramic decorations and potted plants would look great.”

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  • 07 of 22

    Opt for Powder-Coated Steel

    floor to ceiling shelves

    Brexton Cole Interiors

    Powder coated steel is a great alternative to wood—especially if you’re working with limited space and want to ensure your shelving unit can breathe. The all-black look offers a sleek, Scandinavian-inspired finish that allows you to store decor pieces without looking stuffy or cluttered.

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  • 08 of 22

    Consider Something Minimal

    floor to ceiling shelves


    Looking for something a little more practical, but still hoping to achieve a minimal look? A monochromatic built-in shelving unit will achieve a light and airy look even if you do have items that you genuinely need to store on the shelves.

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  • 09 of 22

    Create a Cabinet

    floor to ceiling cabinet


    Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry can be a great alternative if you’re hoping to hide away any extra little items that might not be worthy of displaying on their own. The glass doors instantly elevate the overall look without necessarily highlighting everything you’re storing.

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  • 10 of 22

    Opt for Hidden Storage Near the Floor

    kids playroom shelving

    Calimia Home

    If you are building floor-to-ceiling shelving in your kid’s room or your family room, you will probably want to have a broader space in the bottom for baskets or hidden storage where you can tuck away any extra items that you don’t want on display.

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  • 11 of 22

    Create Storage Near an Entrance

    Kate marker interiors farmhouse mudroom

    Kate Marker Interiors

    Adding storage in your mudroom or entrance is made easy with a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit. The higher up shelves can easily be used for seasonal items that you don’t need to grab for on a regular basis.

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  • 12 of 22

    Mix Media

    floor to ceiling shelf


    Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves or dining room storage units are great—but there’s no rule that says you need to fill your shelving with just one type of item. Mixing a bookshelf with a media stand offers a great way to blend different storage items while offering interesting texture.

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  • 13 of 22

    Consider a Mix of Closed and Open Shelves

    gray floor to ceiling shelves bedroom

    Mary Patton Design

    Not ready to commit to fully open shelving, but also not keen on the idea of closed-off cabinetry? Consider adding a shelving unit that features both open spots for books and decor items and shelving with closed doors.

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  • 14 of 22

    Match Cabinets and Shelving

    floor to ceiling shelving


    Matching your cabinetry to your floor-to-ceiling shelving is a great way to seamlessly transition from your kitchen space to your dining space while keeping the same color scheme and theme.

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  • 15 of 22

    Opt for Neutral Tones

    floor to ceiling shelves


    Floor-to-ceiling shelving can overwhelm a space if you’re not careful, but opting for neutral tones will ensure your shelving takes a supporting role in your space rather than center stage.

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  • 16 of 22

    Take Advantage of Alcoves

    floor to ceiling shelf


    If you’re lucky enough to have an alcove in your space—you’ll want to turn it into shelving. Floor-to-ceiling shelving set within an alcove is instantly visually interesting and practical as it takes up no floor space.

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  • 17 of 22

    Use Mirrors

    floor to ceiling shelving with mirrors


    Worried your floor-to-ceiling shelving will make the rest of your space feel cramped or overpowered? Consider adding mirrors on the opposite wall to help open up the space and allow light to bounce around the room.

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  • 18 of 22

    Create a Room Divider

    floor to ceiling room divider


    Room dividers are made easy (and visually stunning) with a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit. The open air concept allows for a subtle transition between rooms without losing any natural light or flow.

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  • 19 of 22

    Achieve Height With Seasonal Decor

    floor to ceiling shelf


    You don’t have to install a full floor-to-ceiling unit to achieve the look of a taller option. Your regular shelving unit can easily be made to look taller by adding seasonal decor or other decorative items on the very top of the shelf.

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  • 20 of 22

    Consider One Large Vertical Shelf

    one big shelf


    Creating a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit in an alcove is great, but a single-shelf alcove is going to be your best bet if you’re looking for a bit more drama and don’t need the extra storage space.

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  • 21 of 22

    Create an At-Home Bookstore

    floor to ceiling shelves


    The use of a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit in a light natural wood colorway instantly evokes a modern bookstore vibe. Consider curating your favorite books with decorative items here and there for an at-home bookstore feel.

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  • 22 of 22

    Use Open Cabinetry

    floor to ceiling shelves


    Open cabinetry juxtaposed against traditional closed cabinets can be a great way to add visually pleasing storage to your space without the need of a brand new shelving unit.