12 Bedroom Shelving Ideas

Innovative shelving for all bedrooms.
12 Bedroom Shelving Ideas
Tom Greenspan
December 21, 2022

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Is it a great idea to have shelves in your bedroom? Well, it depends, and some of the answers may surprise you. You need to clearly understand why you want to use shelving in a bedroom. 

Traditionally bedroom furnishings are quite discreet and hide away most of the trinkets other than a dressing table and bedside cabinets.

If your bedroom is small, you will need functional shelves for storage, so you will need to consider the amount of linear storage needed to be effective.

If your bedroom is large, your shelves are likely to be more decorative, allowing you more design scope.

Whichever shelves you need, we will give you an authoritative overview, inspiring you.

Let's dive in a find out:

  • Floating shelves
  • Dropping the F word
  • Shelves don't always need to float
  • How easy is it to install shelves in a bedroom

How do you use shelves in a bedroom?

Whether functional or decorative, bedroom shelving ideas can offer a useful way of working much-needed extra storage into a bedroom scheme.

Here are 4 tips to get you started on your bedroom shelves:

  • Make the most of bedside alcoves, they present the perfect opportunity to utilize dead space.
  • There will be a lot of space above your headboard that can be used for shelving.
  • You can squeeze shelving into tight spaces to great effect.
  • Use visual tricks to expand your bedroom, making the most of your shelving.

A perfect trick for alcove shelves is to use a mirror behind the shelves. It will add extra light to your bedroom and give the illusion your bedroom has larger dimensions.

Shelves above the headboard are often thought to be dangerous, well if you don't live in an earthquake zone then make use of this space, it's a perfect place to store your nighttime essentials like water, and to place your glasses.

Obviously, if the wall is plasterboard you will need to take some care to ensure your shelve system is rock solid.

1. Keep it simple

Some bedrooms only require a couple of shelves and it's an easy process, you can go to your DIY store and buy a couple of shelves made from Conti board, they are clean and laminated for easy care.

Floating shelves are in trend and can be simple to use if you follow some simple rules, keep them level and measure twice and drill once.

Floating shelves are functional more than decorative but they can have their limitations, ready-made floating shelves are frequently made hollow or they are of inferior construction, meaning they can not deal with a lot of weight.

If your shelf is to be used for storing books then you may need to explore some other options that are more robust.

How to create this look?

It's very simple, select the type of shelves that will suit your purposes and then make sure they can take the weight you require to store on them, this function will be a consideration of the wall structure and the fixing you will be using.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 2.

Providing you have a drill and drill bits this is an easy process and a beginner can install floating shelves easily.

2. Over the bed floating shelves

There is some design genius going on in the bedroom as the headboard is part of the shelving system creating more linear space for your items to be stored.

Just because you have shelves above the bed doesn't mean that the design element of the bedroom has to be thrown out of the window. In this image, the shelves have been incorporated into the bedroom as a design feature, and the items stored are for decorative purposes with matching colors.

For this type of shelving, it's best for the shelving to be fitted to a solid wall, say made from blockwork or bricks. If not, try to fix the shelves to the supporting stud work.

How to create this look?

The main criteria are the weight of the items to be stored, if they are heavy then make sure the lighter items are stored above the headboard in case an item falls.

Work out your shelf spacing, it's best to keep the two upper shelves equidistant in spacing.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 5.

This bedroom shelving takes a little more work, the headboard is part of the shelves and so you will need to create a box frame. Hanging longer shelves is a little more challenging.

3. Dropping the F word 

The F word is frequently used with shelves, Floating. Get it wrong and it can cause endless problems for the homeowner, and it's not so easy to put right if it needs to support the weight.

This is a typical hollow floating shelf, and this image is all too common to stay away from DIY cheap shelves because this is how they ended up. Inevitably they cause the holes in the wall to be destroyed and the whole situation is better not to be experienced.

Use solid wood shelves and drill your own holes into the timber shelving, and then the walls. Amazon has a range of fixings that will take the weight of an average man (160lbs). The fixings can operate on an eccentric model so you can make your shelves 100% level.

How to create this look?

Use cheap nasty shelves and place a little weight onto them and this is what you will be left with.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 1.

This look is a consequence of hollow shelving, the inner of the shelve is either nonexistent or made from paper to try and give the appearance of a rigid structure.

4. Who said shelves couldn't be elegant?

Shelves are not just for the small bedroom to try and gain some liner storage space on the walls, they can be a design feature and be functional while adding an elegant touch to a bedroom design.

This incredible linear shelf is part of the bedroom furnishings offering a deluxe feeling to the bedroom. Combined with cabinetry the shelf offers the potential to exhibit your favorite books or even ornaments adding extra depth to an already elegant bedroom.

It is easy to imagine shelves as the ubiquitous floating shelves but there are much more possibilities with shelving that meets the eye leaving you with a further expression of your personality.

How to create this look?

Clearly, this is a custom-built bedroom designed to be elegant and sumptuous. But, don't let that put you off, the cabinets could be kitchen cabinets with new doors and a matching shelf made to cover the cabinets, it's an easy proposition when you take a close look.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest level to achieve these bedroom shelves is an 8.

It could be done easily but fixing your levels may be a challenge, if you are going to explore this route use some lighter laminates, they will be easier to find.

5. Hallelujah, they are not floating!

The shelving in this rustic-style bedroom is something to behold, a blast from the past, returning to normality when shelves were there for a purpose and not a decorative item.

How did shelving become so complicated and difficult? Are brackets that ugly to look at in a bedroom? Well, it all depends on the bedroom and your own personal styling ideas but there is a lot to be said for the traditional shelving schemes

Shelves with brackets state their intention clearly and that intention is to be functional so load them up without worry. The best thing is with this type of shelving you can literally use any type of timber for the shelves so it will match your decor perfectly.

How to create this look?

If you have a drill and a tape measure and spirit level then you are set to go, keep your shelf brackets equidistant, it's easier on the eye, and place your shelf levels in accordance with the size of items you are placing on the shelf.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 5.

Your shelf length will determine the distance of the bracket supports and each bracket support will need three fixing points for strength and rigidity.

Place the heavier items on the lower shelf and the lightest ones on the top to reduce the moment of angle.

6. Utilize corners and 90° angles

For some reason 90° angles and corners seem to be left out of the equation when it comes to bedroom shelving. The perception is that shelves in a corner can be challenging due to the walls not running straight and plumb.

However, if you leave the precision of 45° angles cut out of the picture then the angles can be made easier with a few small gaps that are barely noticeable.

The additional storage is not obtrusive and takes advantage of otherwise dead space.

Shelving comes in many guises, decorative and functional so don't be afraid to explore and experiment, the cube wall-mounted storage option offers a unique perspective to the bedroom.

How to create this look?

You may need to do some custom saw work for corner shelving or use packing and a filler strip if the angles are wildly out of position.

Choose solid wood and make your own floating shelves, and explore the cube-type wall storage for a unique look.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 7.

Cutting angles can be challenging when typing to match up to wall plaster work so butt the shelf ends together and using filler for the gaps mixed with sawdust, it will give a perfect look.

7. Functional all of the way

There are smoke bedrooms like this boy's bedroom that only need functionally storage options for the kids to live in a harmonious bedroom.

What is the purpose of a shelving system? Have you given it much thought? In this bedroom, there are multi-functional facets that come into play from toy storage to school book storage which is on display.

This room has even provided pride of place for storing the trophies!

So many people miss the real function of shelves and once they are installed they are just used for items to gather dust making the shelves redundant and frankly a waste of money and effort, So before you embark on installing shelves understand the reason you need the shelves, if they are to gather dust then they are not needed.

How to create this look?

This is a custom-designed boy's bedroom but you can tackle design cues from it such as the storage for toys and possible clothes.

If you have a kid's bedroom with a desk then go ahead and install an overhead shelf to store books and other essentials for the school day.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 9.

This is a well-designed custom-built boy's bedroom but you can buy shelving systems like that store shelf from well-known Scandinavian stores and they can also be used as a room divider.

8. Not all shelves are fixed to walls

While it's easy to reach for the drill and bits and get DIYing it's not always necessary and you can still have shelves that are both decorative and functional in your bedroom.

The shelves in this bedroom are free-standing and a welcome relief from holes in walls and floating shelves. The shelving cabinet has two functions, first decorative to hold pottery and plants, and then a decorative aspect with the choice of the natural tone timber complementing the beautiful headboard.

Would wall shelves look out of place in this bedroom? Possibly not but, it's difficult to add a design into a bedroom with horizontal linear shelving schemes.

How to create this look?

This is about complimenting the existing bedroom furnishings by adding another natural wood piece of furniture and then adding neutral tones with pots and plants.

Everything in this bedroom is coordinated perfectly so do the same with your bedroom furnishings.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 2.

Source the correct cabinet for your bedroom and decorate it in a way that compliments and contrasts the beauty of the bedroom.

9. Looking beyond the shelves

If you have a dressing room in your bedroom then congratulations on your lifestyle. But if you concentrate on the concept of the dressing room you can find inspiration for your bedroom, how many times are your shoes just kicked under the bed or left laying around? Be honest with yourself.

Shelving could be your opportunity to lead an orderly lifestyle which is not a bad choice and it normally means you can find things when you need them.

However, look beyond the shelves for inspiration, if you have an alcove in your bedroom you can highlight the shelves with mirrors or wallpaper to bring depth and beauty of the recess to the forefront of the bedroom while also attaining a functional shelving system.

How to create this look?

It's a custom-built dressing area in a bedroom but takes the design cues for the room and implements what is meaningful into your own life.

Wall coverings, such as paper, mirrors, and contrasting color paints are a great way to bring a shaved alcove to life.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 3.

The room may look expensive and opulent but the concepts are easy to achieve.

10. Funky and bright

Ok, it's a computer-generated image but it does demonstrate two elements of shelving that are important in functionality and their decorative aspect of the bedroom.

Above the headboard shelving, although frowned upon by some people, can look great and add a slight geometric effect to the bedroom with its horizontal perfect lines.

The next set of shelves is self-supporting and its floor-to-ceiling construction offers a lot of storage space in a spam bedroom while retaining a small footprint of its own giving you space to move in the bedroom.

Should you use bright colors as in the image? It's a cool vibe and adds energy to the bedroom but, it's a personal choice.

How to create this look?

The shelves in this bedroom image are easy to create, they have purchased items, and it's only the one set of shelves that need to be fixed against the wall, while the other will be free-standing, you could add a hook or two for security.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 5.

If you are adept with a tape measure and a drill this job is very easy to achieve and should only take a half hour to complete. Add a couple of fixings to the freestanding unit so you know it can’t topple.

11. Modernity and functionality

If you have the space in your bedroom in a modern home then why not transfer the length of one wall into shelving as depicted in the image. You may want to configure the shelves differently so you could place a TV at the correct height and then adorn the shelves with ornaments and items you have in the bedroom.

The slatted timber is a cool feature but may be redundant in many bedrooms. The shelving of this style is incredibly functional and would make your bedroom look fantastically modern.

Keep it bright and contrasting to the rest of the bedroom furnishings or maybe install the shelving unit first and then build your bedroom colors around the focal point in the bedroom.

How to create this look?

If you are not a carpenter then it would be advisable to have a custom shelving unit designed for your bedroom, this way you can incorporate cabinets and other accessories like downlights to make the unit pop.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 9.

You could take a modular approach to a shelving unit of this size and add as you see fit, by taking this approach you may not be so overwhelmed by the initial scale of the unit.

12. The bachelor pad

Your bachelor pad may be multifunctional; combo with bedroom and living space so the utilization of shelving could be of paramount importance for many reasons.

The combination of free-standing shelving and the floating center shelves frames the TV perfectly against the gray brick wall, the dark shelving adds a dimension of intrigue to the bedroom that you may expect from an international traveler with a reputation for design and comfort.

The shelving has been masterfully executed with its ample storage space and the incorporation of a work desk is a creative achievement.

Shelves in the bedroom are for more than books and trinkets, they can be used to store personal items of great value and sentiment.

How to create this look?

This is a professional installation and design but, take what cues are needed to implement into your own bedroom, free-standing shelves are a fantastic option and save a lot of the hassle of drilling walls and having shelves that are suspect in structure and rigidity.

Use tomes that match your bedroom furnishings.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 7.

If you have the money for a designer and joiner then you have no worries and you can replicate the image perfectly at a price.

When using free-standing shelves from floor to ceiling it's a good idea to secure the shelves in a couple of places to prevent the shelves from toppling inadvertently.

How easy is it to install shelves?

It's relatively easy if you have a decent drill and bits. People often come unstuck by using worn drill bits and the wrong wall plugs.

Do you know that a worn drill can drill a hole in the wall much bigger than the drill bit? Drill bits can bend but more often uneven wear on the cutting face of the drill “land” causes the drill to cut off center making the drilled hole too big for the wall plug and screw!

If you are unsure about your drill use a new drill bit and if you need your drilled hole to be precise drill a smaller pilot hole first and then the correct size drill to follow.

How do you know you have drilled deep enough?

Take the wall plug and hold it next to the drill tip, (the sharp end) and make a mark, now mark off with masking tape that is the exact length of the wall plug, now you have the correct depth.

The wall plug is tight, is there a problem?

It's normal to need to tap the wall plug flush with the wall with gentle taps. Use the handle shaft for more control.

What type of wall plug is needed for plasterboard?

There are lots of different types but the best use is a clamp method, you push it through the board and the clamp springs open, then screw as normal until the screw is tight and secure.

What happens if the hole is too big and the screw will not lock?

If you have the option to start again by moving the shelve over a few inches then try this, and change to a new correct size drill bit. If the wall is hard and the drill has drifted, drill a smaller pilot hole with a masonry drill using the hammer function and then opens the hole to the correct size with the correct drill.

If moving the shelve is not an option, then you are left with a couple of choices, fill the hole and find a new location and start over, or take some pieces of wood trim to the correct length (match sticks) and tap into the hole with the hammer and try screwing again. It may work and it may not!