Adding shelves to your living room is a great way to maximize storage and style. From open shelving to bookshelves, built-ins, and more—there are endless ways to add shelves to your space, regardless of your style. If you’re looking for some living room shelf inspiration we’ve got you covered. Here are 20 shelf ideas for the living room that you’ll want to copy.
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Flank Your Fireplace
Make the most of that awkward space on either side of your fireplace with built-in shelves. Go the custom route for built-ins that are designed specifically for your space, or create some DIY built-ins using these expert-approved hacks.Continue to 2 of 20 below.
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Pair Cabinets With a Floating Shelf Unit
Instead of going all-in on built-ins, consider pairing base cabinets with a floating shelf unit for a lighter and more minimal look. For this project, the designers at Interior Impressions chose dark paint for the back wall to add eye-catching contrast and depth to the space.Continue to 3 of 20 below.
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Style a Glass Display Cabinet
Glass display cabinets are both stylish and functional. They can give some added protection for delicate or sentimental objects that you want to display, while also providing plenty of storage space. Plus, if you are renting and drilling into the walls isn’t an option, a glass display cabinet is a great alternative.Continue to 4 of 20 below.
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Add Floating Shelves
Floating shelves are a great choice for any space. They are easy to install, affordable, and available in many different shapes and finishes to suit any design style. In this boho-style living room, Arbor & Co. added slim hexagon-shaped floating shelves to display small trinkets and artwork above the living room couch.Continue to 5 of 20 below.
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Add Asymmetrical Built-ins
If you’re working with a smaller space that doesn’t have room for built-ins on either side of the fireplace, don’t fret! Try an asymmetrical look by installing built-ins on just one side.Continue to 6 of 20 below.
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Utilize Unexpected Spaces
Not everyone has the space for large, wall-to-wall built-ins. The designers at Prairie Interiors gave their client built-in storage by utilizing an unexpected place—the space underneath the staircase. This ingenious design proves that where there’s a will, there’s a way.Continue to 7 of 20 below.
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You can’t go wrong with good old bookcases. Add some much-needed storage to your space with a pair of bookcases on either side of a window or TV. Use them to showcase books, family photos, or decorative accents.Continue to 8 of 20 below.
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Combine Wall Shelf Units
Wall shelves are a great way to add some extra storage without taking up valuable floor space. Group multiple shelf units together to create a large installation and then fill it with books and sentimental knick-knacks and artwork.Continue to 9 of 20 below.
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Install Room-Dividing Shelves
Studio HA/WA used large shelving units to help create a division between their client’s entryway and living room. The use of both open and closed shelving creates the opportunity for decorative elements to be displayed, while clutter is easily hidden away. Plus, light can easily flow through the space which helps it feel nice and open.Continue to 10 of 20 below.
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Create a Moody Accent Wall
Make your built-in shelves pop by painting the whole wall a contrasting color to the rest of your space like this living room by Whittney Parkinson Design. Add a couple of dedicated wall sconces to the display to really make the wall pop.Continue to 11 of 20 below.
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Create an Arched Alcove
Arches are having a moment in interior design right now and are a great way to soften up any space. Try adding shelves to an arched alcove for a seriously stylish and artistic finish.Continue to 12 of 20 below.
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Add Ultra-Thin Built-ins
Don’t be afraid to use your living room shelves to add to the artistry and design of the room. For this contemporary living room, thin built-in shelves on either side of the fireplace became a primary display space to carry color throughout the room.Continue to 13 of 20 below.
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Add a Floating Mantel
Use a floating shelf above a fireplace or an electric insert to create a DIY floating mantel. It’s the perfect way to add some extra shelf space while also adding some serious style and warmth to any space.Continue to 14 of 20 below.
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Create a Wall-to-Wall Display
Create a wall-to-wall shelf unit and media console using a combination of open shelving and cabinetry as seen in this living room by Caroline Kopp Interior Design. Try installing the shelves at varying heights so you have room to store books, artwork, or a minibar tray for afternoon cocktails.Continue to 15 of 20 below.
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Add Built-ins Behind Your Couch
Sometimes you have to get creative when it comes to adding shelving to your space, particularly if you’re working with a small living room. Don’t be afraid to use up that dead wall space behind your couch by adding built-ins like DMAR Interiors did for this project.Continue to 16 of 20 below.
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Add Display Shelf Units
Add some display shelf units to showcase all of your favorite artwork, books, and decorative accessories. Design studio TIEK BYDAY added two black display units to either side of the living room couch to create a stylish and moody living space.Continue to 17 of 20 below.
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Create a Wall-to-Wall Bookshelf
Turn your living room into your very own home library space with some wall-to-wall bookshelves. Consider stacking your books horizontally and vertically to provide some contrast and movement to the overall display.Continue to 18 of 20 below.
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Add Picture Ledges
Picture ledges are thin floating shelves with a lip to hold artwork, photos, and picture frames securely. They are great for people who like to switch up their photos and artwork frequently. Cottino Design used picture ledges to display some of their client’s records.Continue to 19 of 20 below.
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Stack Wall Shelves
No built-ins? No problem! Mimic the look of a bookcase by stacking wall shelves on top of one another for a stylish and open display. The use of delicate gold brackets in this living room by Caroline Kopp Interior Design brings some added style and personality.Continue to 20 of 20 below.
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Add Long Floating Shelves
Add some stylish open shelving to your space with long floating shelves. Use them above cabinets as seen in this living room by Tamara René Designs, or utilize a blank wall to create a shelving display.