Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Modernism in Shelves

To attain a comprehensive modernist look in any room, you need to pay attention to the details. This means not just sticking to the sleek, minimal modernist trends in the primary furniture pieces like the couch or bed, but also in the smaller pieces, like the shelves. If your shelving provides you with a modernist place to store your books, display your pictures or hold your artwork, it will complement a modernist look in any room. Does this Spark an idea?

Open Spaces

One trend in modernism is the desire to make everything look as open as possible. In shelving, this is often achieved by using open-backed shelves. The presence of a backer board on a shelf makes the space look closed in and contained, as well as making it look dark if the shelf is a darker color than the walls. Open-backed shelves allow the light to continue all the way to the wall, and make the room look bigger even with the shelving taking up space.


Although not all modernist trends are exclusively minimal, minimalism does still show up in a great deal of modernist decor. This means keeping your shelves extremely simple. Straight shelves in colors like black or white, or simple metallic shelves, will not look out of place in any modernist-inspired room. The minimalist trend also means that you should avoid overly large shelving. Shelves that provide just enough storage space for the things you want to put on them are better than having reams of empty space if you are striving for a minimalist feel.

Off Balance

One trend in modernist furniture is that the traditional values of balance and symmetry are often upset in order to create that desirable modernist look. Shelves that have levels that are not even with each other, for example, help create this off-balance and edgy feel. Other examples of this are shelves that don't all stay at the same height. For instance, some modern shelves have levels that descend like a staircase, even though each step may be of a different length to further disrupt the symmetry.

Floating Shelves

Floating shelves fit in well with modernist decor because they meet many of the previous principles simultaneously. Obviously, they are minimal because no material is taking up space that isn't providing functional shelf space. Second, they break symmetry rules, because you can position floating shelves in any position you want on the wall. This allows you to put two shelves in opposition to each other in a non-symmetrical way. Finally, they don't consume any extra space, keeping the room as open as possible.