Shelves are more than just a way to store your belongings. They’re a showcase for your treasured possessions. They’re a means of celebrating your framed pictures, books, flowers and vases. They’re a great way to help you to make your home look larger by making use of your vertical space, and a valuable ally in the battle against clutter. Of course, shelving can be made from all kinds of materials from oak to bamboo to wrought iron. But too few of us have stopped to consider the potential benefits of glass shelving.
Strong, affordable and scratch-resistant, glass can be used for all kinds of shelving solutions from floating open shelving to wall-mounted built-in storage units. It’s even easy to clean and maintain so it will continue to look terrific for years to come with very little upkeep.
What’s more, because glass is so incredibly versatile, it will look equally at home in both contemporary and traditional interiors. Let’s take a look at 10 breathtaking glass shelving ideas for all kinds of homes.
Idea 1: Use floating glass shelves for a sleek, modern look
Floating glass shelves create a wonderfully minimalist look, displaying items without calling attention to themselves. They make the items on them look as if they are quite literally floating in the air.
To help a glass shelf pull off this illusion, floating shelves need hidden wall mountings. This creates a stylishly clean and contemporary look. As the brackets and mounts are so small, floating glass shelves use up very little space. This creates plenty of opportunities to vary the spacings and groupings of the shelves.
Using different sizes and depths of glass wall shelves is a great way to add interest to your space while also placing added emphasis on whatever you want to put on display. Floating shelves can also look incredible in the bathroom, creating a spa-like effect and preventing things like towels, washcloths and toiletries from creating clutter.
Idea 2: Incorporate built-in glass shelving for a custom look
When you’re installing a new bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or office, it’s easy to incorporate built-in glass shelving into whatever units you wish to install. This helps to ensure that your storage solutions fit elegantly and unobtrusively into your design concept, helping to create a cohesive look.
That’s not to say, of course, that you can’t have some fun with your glass shelf space. You can customise your look by using different colours, finishes and fittings to unify your look and create storage solutions that are both beautiful and practical.
Idea 3: Add a touch of glamour with mirrored glass shelves
Of course, one of the most common uses for glass in interior design is the humble mirror. Mirrored glass can add a touch of magic to your shelves and display space. Mirror and open shelving arranged into beautiful geometric shapes create a glamorous, Hollywood Regency-style aesthetic. Ornate decorative frames can further enhance the feeling of glamour and elegance. What’s more, mirrored shelving can reflect the ambient light around it as well as reflect the image of its surroundings. This can help to create an illusion of space and prevent your walls from looking too busy.
Idea 4: Create a rustic or industrial look with metal and glass shelves
Glass and metal often get along very well together in all kinds of interior design concepts. Wrought iron, steel, bronze, and other metals have the strength and stability to support the tempered glass shelving while subtly complementing the aesthetic of the glass itself. The solidity of the metal frames and supports combined with the elegance and simplicity of the glass makes for a visually striking juxtaposition.
This lends itself to a surprisingly diverse range of aesthetics from an ultra-modern industrial design concept to a more rustic farmhouse look that is perfect for bathrooms and bedrooms.
Idea 5: Use glass shelves to create a cohesive look with other elements in the room
One of the many great things about glass shelving is its ability to blend seamlessly into virtually any design concept due to its sheer versatility. Because it can be made into all kinds of shapes, with a huge range of colours and finishes, it can be used to create a seamless match with its surroundings. As such, it can be rendered to fit in with surrounding design elements like cabinets, countertops, wardrobes, drawers, and bookcases.
This helps to create a unified and cohesive look and tie together the surrounding design elements in a satisfying and aesthetically pleasing way.
Idea 6: Go for a minimalist look with clear glass shelves
While glass can be made and printed with all kinds of colours, finishes and textures, there are many who prefer to celebrate the elegance of clear glass. Especially those whose tastes veer towards the contemporary and minimalist.
Clear glass fits seamlessly into all kinds of design aesthetics, and when combined with smaller and more discreet frames and wall mountings can look practically invisible. This can be a great way to draw the eye’s attention to other design elements within the space, or accentuate the beauty of whatever you choose to display on your glass shelving.
Idea 7: Add a touch of whimsy with coloured or patterned glass shelves
Neutral colour palettes can give your home’s interiors a calming and minimalist appearance. However, in such a space, a splash of bold colour or dramatic pattern can add a sense of visual punctuation, lending life and fun to the design concept.
Glass shelves can be made in a range of colours and printed with all sorts of patterns for a more dazzling effect that elevates the look of whatever you choose to store on your shelves. Bent glass shelves are a visually striking and popular choice, adding a sloping effect to the storage solution that adds a dash of whimsy and fun.
Some may even use resin to preserve dried flowers on the surface of the glass, or use coloured LEDs to lend an ethereal and dazzling quality to their storage.
Idea 8: Use glass shelves to display collections or sentimental items
Glass shelving can either add a wow factor to your storage or it can be an ultra-discreet way to showcase the things that matter the most to you, enabling them to speak for themselves as eloquently as possible.
They can draw the eye to the intricate beauty of collectables, accentuate the joy of a family photo, add a stately air to beloved books, or create a reverential place for family heirlooms to rest.
Idea 9: Utilise glass shelves in a small space to make the most of limited storage
Slender, discreet, and virtually invisible, glass shelving is the perfect storage medium to use when usable space is limited. What’s more, because glass reflects and amplifies ambient light, it can prevent shadows from making the shelving area feel cramped, dark or gloomy.
The bathroom and kitchen are two areas where compact shelving units can be employed to reduce clutter by maximising storage space, even when there is only a little wall space available.
Idea 10: Use glass shelves to add an outdoor element to an indoor space
We all know that proximity to plants, flowers and other natural materials can help us feel calmer, happier and more relaxed at home. Elements of nature can beautify our living space while helping us to feel a greater sense of equilibrium with the world around us.
Combining glass shelving with a natural wooden frame or encasement can create a beautiful and stylish juxtaposition, while glass shelving units with terrarium-like designs can be a great space in which to store houseplants and succulents. They can look great with creepers cascading from them, and refract the light reflected from crystals, geodes and other minerals beautifully.
Glass always adds a touch of class
There are few materials as sturdy, versatile, low-maintenance and elegantly beautiful as glass. While it may not be the most obvious way to showcase your stored items, we can see it as an excellent choice where space is limited, where minimalist design concepts are preferred, or where space and light come at a premium. Whether they’re installed in a traditional or contemporary setting, glass shelves have the potential to subtly enhance and elevate your storage solutions.