10 Ways to Use Your Vertical Space

Embrace Open Shelving
Open shelves will force you to keep things nice and tidy.
Open shelves will force you to keep things nice and tidy.

We've talked about freestanding shelving and modular storage, but these options aren't the only way people are getting organized by going vertical. Open shelving uses the notion of hiding things in plain sight to transform common objects into decorative collections. It's easier than it sounds. You probably paid a bundle for your good dishes and serving bowls, but how often do they actually see the light of day? If you keep them on open shelves, they beautify your kitchen or dining area and are still ready for your next dinner party.

Once you start evaluating your stuff as the raw material for an attractive collage or collection, you might see new potential in those leftover skeins of yarn or your spouse's pile of matchbooks. Open shelves put your stuff out there, and that can be challenging. Anything that's too unattractive, small or redundant to display can be concealed in a decorative box, basket or bag. Floating shelves, traditional wall shelves and even shadow boxes work well as open shelving. Once you get used to the idea, you'll find uses for them in lots of places you wouldn't have considered before, like over a window or door, in the bathroom, in an unused corner or over a chest of drawers. You'll also start to develop a new appreciation for color, texture and outline as you arrange and rearrange your shelves to meet your changing needs.