Storage spaces can be both beautiful and practical

I’m convinced that if you asked most people what they would like more of in their homes the universal answer would be storage.

Kim Meckler

I’m convinced that if you asked most people what they would like more of in their homes the universal answer would be storage.

No matter what size of a home we live in, we will always expand to fit or burst out of the space we are in.

Spend a few years in a home and suddenly you are building or buying extra shelving. Bookshelves and storage wardrobes are common additions to homes and if decorated with some care they can become much more than just storage units.

I have seen built-in bookshelves adorned with beautiful wainscoting and decorative backings and I think this could also be applied to a free standing shelf.

This means that you will have to leave some visual space on your shelves to let the beauty shine through but we will get to that a little later. The back of any shelf can be dressed up with a vivid paint colours, mirrors, wallpaper or textured items such as tile, hammered tin and brick.

If you treat the back of a book case with the same colour or pattern as the wall behind it, the shelves will take on a floating and open look.

It would be ideal to have matched sets of leather bound books on our shelves but these usually occur in the movies or in houses with butlers so the rest of us must get creative to manage our clutter.

Try to group books together in sizes and colour blocks but only fill half the shelf. Leave one side or a center split open to reveal the marvellous backing you have created!

Utilize storage boxes, baskets and favorite decorative ornaments to create a visual interruption from rows and rows of books.

If you have ever seen piece of art hanging on top of a book shelf and thought ‘that is ridiculous’, think again. I can’t think of a more creative way to hide the ‘ugly’ parts of our bookshelf such as a comic book or video game collection.

You can attach lightweight canvas prints or mirrors on hinges which act as inspirational covers for our junk. It can be an effective way of creating interest and design over top of a much needed storage item.

Lighting is vital when creating a decorative storage space. Some shelving comes equipped with recessed lighting but what about a small yet beautiful lamp?

How charming would a vintage lamp with a fringed shade look glowing on a shelf adjacent to your favorite novels?

I have seen this application done in older homes with built-in shelves but it would work as well on a freestanding bookshelf and be much easier to illuminate as there would be no wiring involved, just running the lamp cord down behind the shelf.

Candles also offer a low-tech lighting visual but I would recommend a flameless candle within an enclosed space or near books.

Go ahead and dress up your storage space, it can be so much more than it currently is and is just waiting for you to give it some decorative attention. Storage can be beautiful and practical if you have the right approach. Why not make your book cases a stunning conversation piece instead of just a catch all of collections.

Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.