Ahhhh apartments with skimpy storage… the bane of every renter’s life. Does anyone else go to a viewing with a firm list of non-negotiables and end up falling in love with an apartment with no single place to put urm, ANYTHING? I mean, no matter how insistently I promise myself that my next home will come equipped with storage, I always fold at the first glimpse of natural light and wooden floorboards. But, worry not, as I've found the perfect solution to your storage woes if you're a renter — renter-friendly shelves. This genius small space storage idea won't annoy your landlord, finally!
Yes, such a thing does exist. And it's the perfect way to keep your mind clear, your space organized, your landlord happy and your safety deposit healthy. They're a damage-free solution to skimpy storage that doubles up as décor. What's not to love? Paired with our fave organization products for your home, your space will be clutter-free in no time.
Whether it’s a perch to place your books or some bathroom shelving to ensure your partner doesn’t “confuse” your shampoos, these are Real Homes' approved shelves you’re going to want to add to your basket ASAP to transform your home overnight. So, without further ado, it’s time to give your clothes, books, and toiletries the respect they deserve with some stylish shelving solutions, safe for those of us renting.
The best renter-friendly shelves to spruce your space
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The best renter friendly bathroom shelves
Bathroom shelving is easy to overlook until your most valued possession (your $20 shampoo) unexpectedly runs out and you see your partner’s locks, glistening in the sunlight (not bitter, obvs). What I'm trying to say is, everything can't just be everywhere in your bathroom — or someone might get "confused". Keep your space tidy with a bathroom organizer, and eradicate mess and mold by elevating your bathroom toiletries on renter-friendly shelves.
Size (in.): H1.3 x W10 x D10
Made from: Acrylic
Attachment: Suction mount
You can't go wrong with suction shelving when you're kitting out your bathroom storage section and you can go even LESS wrong with corner shelves. Maximize that space like it's going out of fashion, sugar! I love transforming dead space into a practical place to keep everything within arms' reach and these shelves do exactly that. Super subtle and classy, this set of two can be stacked to elevate the aesthetic of your bathroom, as well as its functionality. Wondering if they'll work in your space? Opting for anything clear (such as acrylic or glass) ensures it'll work no matter what your bathroom looks like.
Size (in.): H64.2 x W10.2 x D24.8
Made from: Bamboo
Yup, Target has done it again, y'all! If you're working with a small space (which let's face it, most of us renters are), you're going to love this over-the-toilet storage idea. The adjustable bottom bar can be set at 3.9 inches or 6.3 inches away from the floor to fit your toilet and avoids the water valve for stress-free placement. Speaking of stress, I know what you're thinking.... what about if it falls on me while I'm on the toilet?! Not to fear - the rack comes with an anti-tip kit for stability. Oh, and because it's made from bamboo, it even has a cute aesthetic (yep, I did just "cute aesthetic" that about over-the-toilet-shelves).
Size (in): H40.5 x W11.75 x D11.75
Made from: Glass
Yes, it's another corner number but you can't convince me they're not the best renter-friendly shelves for bathrooms! A space-saving life hack that is so simple but somehow we always overlook the corners. Well, not anymore. Made from glass to blend seamlessly into any bathroom, it's also super easy to clean - you're really getting the best of both worlds with this one! Oh, and what's more, this freestanding shelf has height on its side, making it perfect for popping your skincare regime on top and bath bits within reach when you're in the tub. It covers all bases. This unit is freestanding, but grab yourself some of the Wayfair Basics® Hinged Furniture Anti-Tip Strap to keep it secure!
The best renter-friendly bookshelves
Bookshelves are my kryptonite and something I quite simply cannot live without. Transforming stale spaces and plain walls into enchanting, eye-catching feature walls, bookshelves strike the perfect balance between practicality and performance. Whether yours are styled meticulously with a cool color-scheme and pristine hardbacks or haphazardly (like mine) with lovingly thumbed novels you’ve had since childhood, stacked below a wild (but beautiful) potted plant, you can’t deny the character bookshelves bring to a space. We've already listed all our fave living room bookshelf ideas for you to ponder, but here's how to make your dreams a reality... without annoying your landlord.
Size (in.): H56.5 x W13 x D30
Made from: Metal
I literally can't with this army green bookshelf from UO. It's to die for with its industrial aesthetic and cool, curved modular formation. It's giving sixties and I'm not mad about it. A twist on a traditional bookshelf for homes that want to make a statement with a powder-painted metal centerpiece. The extra space is calling for some tall leafy plants to complement the spines of your favorite books. Oh, and if you're not feeling the green but love the contemporary design, they stock this model in white, gold, and black. Don't walk, run!
Size (in): H25 x W74 x D18
Made from: Natural oak and white marble
When we think of bookshelves, we imagine tall towering features so you can casually brush the spines of your books at eye-level. However, some spaces have enough going on on the walls, and what the room really requires is depth. If this is the case for your room, opting for this low-lying, slim-line oak and marble model from Anthropologie would not be a bad shout. This can be styled as a bookshelf but also would work as a TV stand, console table, or display unit for just about anything.
Size (in.): H60
Made from: Steel
Everyone is obsessed with floating shelves and I don't blame them (I'm very much among said party). However, it's tricky to find floating shelves that can take the weight of books, without needing to be drilled into the wall... That's where this gorgeous, Italian-designed, free-standing floating shelf unit comes into the picture. Turning the traditional library storage unit on its head, this ten-shelf stack will give your rental a contemporary flare and make a minimalist statement. When fully loaded, the shelves disappear behind your books, so you can make this centerpiece work in any style of interior.
The best renter-friendly closet shelves
I am a long-standing member of the "no closet is big enough" club and, as you're here on the hunt for closet storage solutions, I'm betting you're looking into your closet and seeing very little surface area and a lottttttt of clothes. Yes, maybe I do wear Levis and a tank top almost every single day without fail... but I own a lot of jeans and tank tops!! Anyway, as it seems that landlords are obsessed with strangely structure-less closets, I've become very familiar with all kinds of closet organizers and shelves. These are the best. How are you supposed to Marie Kondo your closet when it’s got the same structure as Narnia?
Size (in.): H59 x W40 x D16
Made from: Wood, Metal
Is it just me or does having a clothing rail in your apartment make you feel like you're in a movie? This model has that contemporary industrial look with rustic wood and modern metal contrast, promising style and structure in equal measure. Sturdy and stylish, this is the renter-friendly closet shelving solution that will never go out of style. One thing that's so brilliant about this style of storage is that it combines shelves and a rail for versatility. Another thing that makes this option a winner for rentals is the fact that it's easy to build and deconstruct and it comes equipped with protective floor foot pads, meaning. We love a portable moment!
Size (in.): H0.78 x W11.8 x L31.5
Made from: Iron, Metal
Attachment: Sticker and tension
Classic closet shelves, without the trouble after you leave your rental! These adjustable closet shelves are the perfect way to reinvigorate dead space, helping you put some structure and order into your closet. Each one can hold more than 100 lbs and you don't even need to drill any holes for that kind of support (will we ever go back to the fuss of drilling??) To attach, just tear the film off the back of the sticker and stick your shelf at your desired height, extend your shelf to the correct length, and then tighten your screws. These are closet-heaven, but honestly, they'd work anywhere in your home! Versatile and simple, you can't go wrong with this kind of shelf if you're on the hunt for some surplus, space-saving storage.
Size (in.): H16.6 x W5.55 x D13.1
Made from: Plastic
Attachment: Freestanding, Stackable
Let's face it, stackable shelves are the GOAT when it comes to closet storage. This plastic unit from Amazon is the renter's dream with its vertical, stackable style, you can build on this bad boy as much or as little as you want. The sliding rail design makes this storage unit a shelf and drawer combination - you can really get the best of both worlds. And, because it's available on Amazon, you can get it, urm, tomorrow.
What makes shelves rental friendly?
I asked the experts what makes shelving rental-friendly and Teri Simone, Head of Design & Marketing for Nieu Cabinet Doors explained how important it is to balance form and function: “If you're looking for renter-friendly kitchen shelves, it's important to choose ones that are easy to install and remove, sturdy, spacious, and easy to clean. These features give you the flexibility to customize your storage space without damaging your rental unit!” says Teri.
When choosing your shelves for your rental, it's important to shop within your budget (I'm not mad at bagging a bargain) but don't save cents only to have them collapse and break a couple of months in.
How we chose these renter-friendly shelves
I handpicked these renter-friendly shelves from a tight list of the best buys online. I trawled all of the popular stores to buy shelves from, and only considered the shelves with the highest rating by customers. Ones that needed to be drilled into the wall weren't even thought about, everything featured was given a four star rating (or higher) from real shoppers.