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What Are the Different Types of Alcove Shelving?

By Angela Crout-Mitchell
Updated May 16, 2024
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Alcoves are decorative spaces built into walls to add visual interest and storage space. Many people find they appreciate the benefit of the extra space without losing any additional floor space, especially in small homes or offices. There are several different types of alcove shelving available, including traditional multi-layer shelving, custom designs, and numerous different wood designs and colors to consider. These niche shelves are often used to display books, knick-knacks, and family or decorative photos. When enclosed with cupboard doors, the shelves can be transformed easily into usable alcove storage space.

The most common type of alcove shelving is the conventional multi-layer shelves designed in the alcove space, much like a traditional bookcase. In some cases the shelves are supported by brackets and screws, which may be decorative or functional to fit the needs of the space and room's architectural theme. Some models are made with the supporting hardware hidden by the shelves themselves and are very popular in the living, dining, or family rooms of homes. This type of alcove shelving is suitable for almost any niche space and can be easily modified to meet the dimension requirements. Industrial models are ideal for alcove storage space in garages or basements.

Unless the alcove already includes shelves, many people choose custom alcove shelving for their homes, work spaces, or offices. Some furniture manufacturers offer ready-made shelving that nearly any homeowner can put together easily. It is not uncommon to call in professionals for this type of work, and most experienced cabinet makers can create custom shelves to their clients' specifications. Ornate woodworking is often used to make these shelves and beveled edges, intricate carvings, and other small, decorative details can be included easily. Most home improvement experts recommend hiring a professional cabinet maker for this type of project because of the great skill and shelving options they are able to offer.

Alcove shelving can be personalized with various colors and wood designs. Whether professionally created and installed or not, homeowners have the option of staining, painting, or using lacquer on their alcove shelving. Each type of wood treatment renders a different appearance and can be used to match the new shelving to the rest of the room's decor. Paint is often used in casual spaces, such as hallways, while stains and lacquers are typically used for shelving in more formal areas, such as dining rooms and living spaces.

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