28 February 2023

Shelves are a must-have in interior design. In the living room, they are an excellent idea to decorate the walls in style. Suspended shelves provide additional storage space for many furnishings such as books, vases, ornaments.

Shelves are a must-have in interior design. Even in the living room, they are an excellent idea to decorate the walls in style. Suspended shelves provide additional storage space for many furnishing accessories such as books, vases, ornaments.

Shelves for the living room: inspirations and ideas

In a completely new room, which has yet to be furnished on a blank page, a shelf or bookcase is often inserted to store objects. But if, on the contrary, there is no space for a cabinet or a semi-furnished wall is already there, shelves are certainly the best solution. Thanks to their compositional freedom , shelves make perfect use of the walls, adding extra surface area for space organisation and creativity: in the presence of shelves, walls are like blank sheets of paper on which to draw.
If there is a working corner in the living room, with a small desk and a chair, this is the perfect spot to add shelves: they help divide the space, between those dedicated to relaxation and those dedicated to work.
Among the most fashionable styles, Scandinavian style certainly stands out: it offers classic Swedish bookshelves with multiple uprights-shelves, which can be fixed to the wall or floor, spacing the shelves as desired. A simplified and even easier variant is the sailor-style shelf, in which the shelf supports are made from ropes hung on the wall or ceiling, and in which the shelves, resting between nodes, put the structure under tension due to their own weight and the loads placed on them.

Shelves: an ever-present element in the history of architecture

In furniture the corbel originates from the architectural element ofthe same name, with both a load-transmitting and decorative function. In architecture, the corbel has been known since Neolithic times as a fundamental element for the construction of arches, balconies or battlements. Pursuing the basic need to support loads over the centuries, the shelf has taken on many shapes and sizes, many materials and various styles.

Mensole per il salotto firmate Bontempi Casa
Shelves for the living room by Bontempi Casa

Where to place shelves to furnish the living room

On the lower part of the wall. Suspended shelves on the lower part of the wall – next to the fireplace or TV cabinet – provide an easily accessible storage space.

Arranged behind the sofa. The wall behind the sofa can be transformed into a beautiful gallery of prints, paintings and photographs by placing a few shelves where the works can be placed instead of hanging them on the wall.

In an empty corner of the living room. Shelves are the perfect solution to fill an empty portion of the wall in a functional way: you can add a touch of design with thick and conspicuous shelves, such as wooden ones, with a strong visual impact.

Arranged on the wall in order, to create a bookcase. By arranging the shelves vertically and horizontally on the wall, as if they were bookshelves, the effect of a bookcase is achieved. It is advisable to focus on two portions of the wall, leaving the fireplace or TV cabinet in the middle. In this case, it is better to opt for thin shelves: they are more elegant and emphasise the books, which seem to be suspended on the wall.

On top of a sideboard. If the living room houses a beautiful antique wooden sideboard, the shelf should be as long as the cabinet underneath so that it is coordinated. One can instead be daring with colours, to create visual dynamism: for example, if the cupboard is in green-grained wood, the shelf could be in smooth light wood.

On a coloured wall. With very simple white shelves, attached to the wall with a white support, it is possible to create a hanging open piece of furniture, to be placed next to the sofa, for example.

What materials to choose for shelves in the living room

The most commonly used material for shelves is wood: versatile and durable, it fits into any environment. The most suitable types are those from fast-growing trees: solid poplar, which is very hard and resistant, or tulipier, which is soft and easy to work with. Walnut, spruce and pine are among the most robust and refined, enriched with grains that give the room a touch of originality. But also olive, oak, beech, chestnutand cherry trees provide good durability. Furthermore, wooden shelves go perfectly with leather seats, for example the Lucrezia chair with armrests, from the Bontempi 2023 collection. Lucrezia is the result of a fusion of avant-garde construction and experimentation: the metal structure is distinguished by its character and light appearance and is beautifully matched to the wonderful full leather seat, produced from superior quality leather.

Shelves can also be made of steel or glass, in which case they are suitable for modern style rooms. Transparent rigid plastic is a substitute option, cheaper than glass and lighter: however, it is advisable to avoid placing any objects that are too heavy on this type of shelf.

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