Corner shelf ideas: up your storage game with these clever designs

These corner shelf ideas are just what you need to make the most of every inch of your room

wooden corner shelves in a kitchen
(Image credit: Future Lizzie Orme)

Corner shelf ideas are exactly what you need to be considering if you're looking to squeeze the most out of every inch of your space. And quite frankly, who isn't? They make the most of awkward nooks and can make quite the feature.

From corner bookshelves, which are great for piling in all your essential literature while taking up minimal footprint and visual space in the room, to simple wall-hung shelves that provide that little extra open storage to display anything from plants to vases, corner shelves are an essential ingredient for any well-functioning smaller home. 

From living room storage, to bathroom decoration and pantry space savers, corner shelves will help to up the form and function of whatever space you're working with. 

1. Create a curved corner shelf 

corner shelf storage in a light green living room

(Image credit: Ikea)

'Corner shelves are fantastic for bringing life to awkward spaces,' says Nadia McCowan, style advisor at Wayfair.

Take away the sharp edges of your living room corner by swapping an angular bookcase for something a little more organic. This Billy bookcase combination from Ikea is an easy way to create the look of built-ins but at a significantly lower cost. 

2. Go architectural in your design 

white corner shelf in a neutral plain living room

(Image credit: Dunelm)

If you looking to save on floor space, consider a tall wall-hung design like this corner shelving unit from Dunelm. The boxy, architectural shape becomes a design feature in itself, and it's the ideal way to display decorative items like plants and ornaments. This architectural shelving idea is a great way to add interest and depth to even the smallest of rooms. 

3. Maximize your kitchen space 

shaker kitchen with wooden corner shelves

(Image credit: Future Lizzie Orme)

There's not many among us that would say no to a little extra storage space in our kitchen, so make your walls and corners work harder with L-shaped, wall-hung shelves. These chunky wooden kitchen shelves and metal iron brackets blend in perfectly with the traditional shaker style kitchen and adds warmth and character to the space. 

Browse Etsy for some great rustic looking corner shelves.

4. Go for square floating shelves

white floating corner shelves in a kitchen with books

(Image credit: Future Colin Poole)

Knowing how to put up a shelf will bring you so much freedom in how you can adapt and transform your home. 

Make the most of even the smallest empty corners by installing floating shelves. These are available in a range of shapes, sizes and colors so even the smallest nook or cranny can be transformed into a usable or decorative area. They are also a great solution when it isn't possible to mount on your prefered wall. You can add to the adjoining corner and get the same look.

5. Choose industrial style for a cool look 

industrial style corner shelves in a living room

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Let your corner shelves set the tone for the rest of your room by choosing a specific style. These industrial-style shelves bring that rugged, warehouse vibe and the black metal frame creates a stark contrast with the pale color of the rest of the room. 

This and similar options can be found on Wayfair – our go-to for a wide variety of storage.

6. Use corner shelves to make the most of your pantry 

corner shelving in a pantry

(Image credit: Brandt Design)

Corner shelving can be useful for inside cupboards too. All too often we just accept our storage as it comes, but adapting it specifically for your needs can be a game changer. This pantry shelving idea of adding L-shaped brackets to the interior can double your usable space and make keeping everything in its place a whole lot easier. 

7. Maximize plant space on your balcony 

industrial style corner shelf with plants on a balcony

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Even in the smallest of balconies, you can create space for plant pots a plenty with corner shelving. Ladder style shelving like this steel corner bookcase from Wayfair is the perfect solution for adding life, fun and style to your balcony. Always choose plant pots that are especially for outdoor use so that they can stand up to the elements. 

8. Choose an elegant arched metallic design to add some luxury to your bathroom

gold corner shelf in a classic style bathroom

(Image credit: Wayfair)

A corner shelf can be just as ornamental as it is practical, and that's perfectly demonstrated in the above bathroom. This metallic gold design with a shapely arched top brings interest, warmth and a touch of glamour to the space. A few perfectly-placed hand towels, plants and soaps are all that's needed to complete the look. 

'A corner shelf is also a simple way to invite some greenery in. Add some hanging plants and pots to each level, paired with blooms to create a serene and calming zone in any space,' says McCowen.

Stylist tip: in a bathroom, be sure not to cram too much onto your shelves. You want the space to feel calm and breathable, so a few small items per shelf is enough.

9. Choose a chunky wooden bookcase design 

wooden ladder corner shelves in a living room

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Whatever style your space, wood is a failsafe option that'll sit back in any scheme. This chunky dark wood Fulton corner ladder shelf from Dunelm brings the cozy vibe of a bookcase, but will take up much less footprint of your room.

'A tiered corner shelf is ideal to stack books; try color ordering them as a welcome storage solution and pop of color,' says McCowen.

10. Make the most of awkward spaces with built in shelving

bathroom with pink tiles and wooden floating shelves

(Image credit: Crosswater)

If you've got an awkward, seemingly unusable space like this (in a bathroom by Crosswater), turn it into handy storage or a decorative feature by installing floating shelves. Ensure to place them out equally. To make your shelves work harder, place baskets or boxes on the lower half so you can stow away items while keeping them within easy reach.

Amelia Smith
Content Editor

After joining Real Homes as content producer in 2016, Amelia has taken on several different roles and is now content editor. She specializes in style and decorating features and loves nothing more than finding the most beautiful new furniture, fabrics and accessories and sharing them with our readers. As a newbie London renter, Amelia’s loving exploring the big city and mooching around vintage markets to kit out her new home.