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It’s a problem we’ve had since some ancient homeowner first had the idea to decorate their house: how can I make my home decorated and pleasing to look at while keeping things organized?

There’s an awful lot of answers to that question, but one a lot of people commonly turn to is wall shelving! By adding a space on your wall to display pictures, collectibles, books, and the like, it helps to reduce clutter elsewhere and fill up space that might have been left empty otherwise.

Like any good decorating idea, however, there are some things to keep in mind when employing these shelves in your house to make sure you’re using them to their potential and getting them safely installed. Here’s a few dos and don’ts we’ve pulled together to help you make the most of your wall shelves:

  • Do use them in small spaces: In smaller areas like guest bedrooms, smaller bathrooms, or even walk-in closets or pantries, something with a low profile like floating shelves can be a perfect way to increase storage space without bringing in something that would reduce the amount of floor space like a bookshelf or cabinet.
  • Don’t start with a full plate: Whether you’re installing new shelves or simply rearranging some existing ones, make sure to start every shelving project with a clean slate. Don’t go into it thinking you’re just going to put the same stuff right onto your shelves; take everything off and think about how you want to use and arrange them after they’ve been installed.
  • Do secure the shelves that will have the heaviest load: Some shelves are going to have more stuff on them than others, such as ceramic plates or your entire hardcover Harry Potter collection. Identify which shelves will have the heavier loads and make sure they’re designed to handle it; use metal shelves or reinforce these shelves with shelf brackets to help them stay durable under the weight.
  • Don’t place them too high to get to: Even if you’re just using them for decoration, you’re going to need to get back to these shelves someday. Don’t make the mistake of placing them too high to easily get to; stepladders are fine, but anything too high just makes it both a safety risk and a giant pain in the neck.
  • Do keep safety in mind: To speak to that last point further, you always need to keep safety in mind when arranging and placing your wall shelves. Make sure everything is properly mounted in the wall, take care to never overload the shelves or store anything too fragile and/or fall-prone on them, and if you live in an area prone to high winds or earthquakes you should bear that in mind when deciding on a placement.
  • Don’t forget to dust them: Odds are everything in your home could stand to get dusted a little more than it is (no judgment, ours do too!), and this goes double for wall shelves. Every so often remember to take everything down and give it a good cleaning before you put it back to keep whatever you’re showing off up there shiny and new.

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