FYI: Dining Room Shelves Are the Easiest Way to Up Your Style Game

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Added to the dining room, shelves of all sorts can be a place to display glassware, bowls, books, photos, or some of your favorite objects, to lean (rather than hang) a small art gallery of framed pieces, or to set up the bar when guests come by. Dining room shelves are functional and a way of adding moveable, changeable wall decor, too.

From simple floating shelves to floor-to-ceiling bookcases, traditional built-ins to freestanding systems, minimalist in style to more old-school, here are nine dining room shelves to add a bit of character to your eatery.

1. Floating Shelves for Art

Hang a pair of almost imperceptible wall-mounted floating shelves on one wall for a place to display framed art, prints, and photos, as shown in this black and white dining room. Pepper in a favorite object or two and you'll have a styled, minimalist focal point that you can change up as the mood strikes.

Get the look: CB2 Piano White Wall Shelf, $24.95 - $49.95

2. Simple Inset Shelves

Remember what we said about not needing a lot of space to incorporate dining room shelves? Take a look at this teeny nook designed by Jess Bunge for Emily Henderson. Two inset shelves behind the banquette add a little visual intrigue and some much-needed spare storage in tight quarters.

3. Tiny Corner Shelves

Artful dining room shelves don't require a lot of space. Take cues from Katie Hodges Design, who slotted a few tiny corner shelves into this snug nook and, presto: a little extra storage. (Note the additional super-high shelf, too, that takes advantage of the room's height and draws the eye upward.)

Get the look: INMAN Round Radial Corner Shelf, $49.99

4. Built-In Alcoves With Shelving

Outfit any recessed niches with built-in dining room shelves, and perhaps a cabinet below, like Erin from Earnest Home Co. (Optional: Paint or wallpaper the wall behind the shelves in an unexpected hue or pattern.) It's an excellent way to make use of unused nooks in the dining area — and a great spot for the bar, too.

5. Long Industrial Shelves

Industrial-style shelves make a statement in the dining room, particularly when paired with white dishware that provides stark relief against the dark background. In a space by Croma Design, these two lengthy shelves act as dining room wall decor and elongate the room, too.

Get the look: Blu Dot Welf Large Wall Shelf, $129

6. Traditional Built-Ins

If you want to go more traditional, consider a pair of symmetrical, arched recesses outfitted with shelves to frame your dining area, like in this space by Katie Hodges. A pro tip? Arrange like with like — similar colors together, similar materials together — to keep shelves looking styled and well-arranged, not cluttered.

7. Picture Ledges

For a minimalist look, seek out a dining room option that doesn't distract or take away from the rest of the design, like the barely noticeable picture ledges used by Vivienne from @ohheyvivienne. Mount one alone on the wall, or group several together to create a modern gallery wall — the perfect backdrop for your dinner parties.

Get the look: IKEA Mosslanda Picture Ledge, $14.99

8. Wraparound Shelf

No need to limit yourself: A full wall of dining room shelves makes good use of your wall space — and can even provide a bench for seating, too, like this one we spotted on Fantastic Frank. Use it to display all of your favorite pieces and your ample book collection.

9. Freestanding Shelving System

Renting your place (or just can't afford the expense of adding built-in shelves at the moment)? A wide array of freestanding, modular shelving systems on the market — like IKEA's Vittsjö, shown in this pale pink dining room — lend the same effect. Even better? You can pick them up and move them somewhere new whenever you please.

Get the look: IKEA Vittsjö Storage Combination, $129.98


Annie Quigley is a freelance writer, editor, and poet whose work has appeared in Remodelista, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere.

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