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
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.Continue to 2 of 22 below.
02 of 22
Add a Ladder
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.Continue to 3 of 22 below.
03 of 22
Store Items Near the Ceiling
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.Continue to 4 of 22 below.
04 of 22
Consider Atypical Shelving
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.Continue to 5 of 22 below.
05 of 22
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.Continue to 6 of 22 below.
06 of 22
Be Mindful of the Color Scheme
“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.”Continue to 7 of 22 below.
07 of 22
Opt for Powder-Coated Steel
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.Continue to 8 of 22 below.
08 of 22
Consider Something Minimal
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.Continue to 9 of 22 below.
09 of 22
Create a 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.Continue to 10 of 22 below.
10 of 22
Opt for Hidden Storage Near the Floor
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.Continue to 11 of 22 below.
11 of 22
Create Storage Near an Entrance
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.Continue to 12 of 22 below.
12 of 22
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.Continue to 13 of 22 below.
13 of 22
Consider a Mix of Closed and Open Shelves
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.Continue to 14 of 22 below.
14 of 22
Match Cabinets and 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.Continue to 15 of 22 below.
15 of 22
Opt for Neutral Tones
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.Continue to 16 of 22 below.
16 of 22
Take Advantage of Alcoves
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.Continue to 17 of 22 below.
17 of 22
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.Continue to 18 of 22 below.
18 of 22
Create a 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.Continue to 19 of 22 below.
19 of 22
Achieve Height With Seasonal Decor
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.Continue to 20 of 22 below.
20 of 22
Consider One Large Vertical 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.Continue to 21 of 22 below.
21 of 22
Create an At-Home Bookstore
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.Continue to 22 of 22 below.
22 of 22
Use Open Cabinetry
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.