Design & DIY

5 creative shelving solutions for the cottage

If you’re living in small quarters, you don’t need to be told that shelves can be your best friends. They’re an easy source of storage and often increase the esthetic beauty of a room—a win-win situation in my books. Rather than going out to a furniture store and spending big bucks on a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit, here are five creative ways to give yourself extra storage while also adding to the funky atmosphere of your cottage.

Literal book shelves

If you’re looking for a quirky design detail that also gives you extra storage, consider mounting old books on the wall using “L” brackets. Staggering the placement of these mini bookshelves can create a really cool effect which is perfect for storing knick knacks and … more books!

Dresser drawers

If your bedroom dresser has seen better days, it might be time to repurpose this piece into a great shelving solution. Simply remove the drawers and paint the insides a bright colour or line with funky patterned wallpaper. Mount the drawers on the wall and voila! You have yourself a charming set of shelf boxes. By leaving the drawer handles on, I think it really adds to the unique nature of the piece. And while you have your DIY hat on, you can easily take the remaining dresser, install wooden planks and turn the piece into a fun bookshelf.

Stacked end tables

Old end tables are another great shelving opportunity that most people often overlook. By sawing the table in half and applying a piece of wood over the back portion, you now have two pieces that can be mounted on the wall and used as shelves. If you like, stack the two pieces on top of each other for a tiered look—the intricate wood detailing on the legs often adds a great touch to the piece that really makes it stand out.

Wood crate bookcase

Another quick way to create a bookshelf or modular shelving unit is by stacking wooden crates together. You can go for a symmetrical look by stacking same-sized crates or go completely asymmetrical and see what you come up with. For some extra personality, try painting each box a different bright colour. You can get even more creative by mixing and matching different crates or even suitcases into your modular unit—whatever your decorative heart desires!

Ladder shelves

This is another fun option that takes a normal household item and transforms it into a unique storage solution. By installing wooden planks through the rungs of a regular wooden ladder, you instantly give yourself new storage space. For a larger shelf unit, install planks that run between two ladders. Or, if you want a smaller storage piece, a wooden stepladder is a great option for a bedside table. No matter which version you choose, this decorative yet functional detail is sure to add some great personality to your space and become a constant source of conversation.

In each episode of Weekend Reno, now on Cottage Life, the Channel, designer Michelle Mawby has one weekend to turn a tired cottage space into a refreshed haven. She and her team send the owners packing while they pull out all the stops to overhaul the space. The owners return as the transformation is revealed—a space the owners can truly enjoy during their cottage stays.

Learn more: Weekend Reno