Everyone’s got one: a bare-bones, rectangular bookshelf that is sliced into perfect pieces straight-across, no-frills shelves. And, while these shelves certainly get the organizing job done, they’re often not much to look at.
That’s easy to change, though, thanks to pioneering DIY-ers and designers everywhere who have gone out and turned their shelving and storage issues into art. Below are examples of 20 projects that will turn your organizational systems into beautiful focal points.
1. Wood Block Cut-Outs
Remember the classic board game Operation? This bookshelf has oddly shaped cut-outs, and it’s up to you to find the perfect knick-knack to fit into each space. My favorite part about these shelves is that each block can be moved so you can customize to your own liking.
2. Have a Seat… On the Wall
Inspired DIY-ers will have this eye-catching shelving unit up in no time. All you need is enough coat hooks to hold onto the chairs you want to hang up. This look will most likely end up feeling rustic, making it the perfect addition to an outdoor patio space or a blank mudroom wall.
3. Organizing Booth
Whether or not you’re a Doctor Who fan (this particular booth is from the BBC television show), you can probably appreciate the uniqueness of this storage system. Now, to find an unused phone booth lying around…
4. On the Up
The materials for this shelving unit might be a bit easier to come by. Sliding pieces of wood across the steps of an old ladder will make a display case out of just about any corner in your home.
5. Star Shelves
This one’s for the kiddos (or kids at heart). Artsy adults can turn one of their kids’ interests — Star Wars, dinosaurs, cars — into the outline of an awesome storage unit. The other kids on the block will be talking about this one.
6. Better Bed
Little ones and parents alike will love this idea. This bunk bed set maximizes bedroom space with a built-in shelving unit.
7. Shelving Susan
Perhaps you don’t know what to do with that spinning cabinet in your kitchen or mudroom. Create cubbies inside of it and you’ve got a showcase of your family’s footwear. Added bonus: it’s easier to locate your favorite pair here than inside of a bin or at the bottom of a closet.
8. Spell It Out
This bookshelf serves two purposes: it turns your office, library or den into a work of art, AND it reminds you to open the books you’ve acquired over the years.
9. Small Bathroom Solution
If you’re dealing with a small bathroom — or, worse yet, a small bathroom and a space sans linen closet — hanging baskets sideways on your walls to hold towels makes a useful focal point.
10. Skater Shelves
If your son or daughter routinely spends time getting gnarly, a skateboard shelf might be the perfect addition to his or her bedroom.
An old piece of furniture can easily turn into a jaw-droppingly cool storage cubbie. Check out these drawers, which, because of the diagonal cuts, are practically artwork for your office or living room.
12. Shoe Circles
There are plenty of storage ideas for your family’s shoes, and for good reason: families often have lots of ‘em. This budget-friendly system relies on PVC pipes to hold pairs in a funky, modern way.
13. Hit a High Note
Has your acoustic guitar played its last gig? Remove the instrument’s front and place a few slats of wood across its inside to create a funky, albeit small, shelving unit.
14. Bauble Bar
This is an easy fix if your jewelry is, more often than not, tangled. A simple rod bedecked with hooked curtain-rod rings not only organizes your collection, but turns it into an eye-catching display in your bedroom or closet.
15. Step Up Your Shelves
There are plenty of under-the-stair shelving units out there, but not many of them are quite as literal — or as interesting to look at — as these.
16. Small Kitchen Solution
Cramped countertops? These fruit holders made from recycled crates utilize the area between the top of your counter and the bottom of your cabinets without taking up precious prep space.
17. Shoes on Display
It’s a shame to keep all of your fabulous pumps hidden in your closet. This simple shelf will turn a section (or, entire wall, depending on the size of your collection) of your bedroom or closet into a piece of art by holding all of your glamorous footwear.
18. Top Table
In this edition of “Turning Old Furniture into Shelving,” we have a strategically stacked set of old tables that, with their naturally flat tops, become perfect shelves for books, electronics, and more.
These shelves, on the other hand, are anything but flat. Add interest to the wall in a child’s bedroom or playroom with storage that seems straight out of a Dr. Seuss story.
20. And, the Most Outrageous of All…
This one should be filed under “shelving system pipe dream.” One trailblazing homeowner turned an old car on its ear, turning it into a shelving system. You may laugh, but you may also have an old set of wheels lying around…