Use Your Walls to Declutter Your Space

Declutter Your ApartmentFor those for whom vintage posters and/or tricked-out and often hilarious wall decals aren't enough of a distraction from the endless expanse of bare walls, there's yet a third option. Extending far beyond the solely visual reach of the two-dimensional decoration and into three-dimensional usefulness -- but without the commitment renters would be inclined to avoid -- are options that actually help arrange our space. But these aren't your momma's shelves....

Once again, let's hit it with a couple of wall shelf categories:

Category A: The Supercool-Design-Aware Wall Accessory

This is the big hitter, the type of object as likely to be found in the pages of Dwell Magazine's unhappy hipsters' homes as it is to be found in yours. It's something that you can hang on your wall that says so much more about both the wall and you than it does about books, or tchotchkes, or whatever you end up putting on it. With the Design-Oriented Wall Addition, in fact, it doesn't even matter if you put anything on it or not: it stands alone. Tall, proud, sometimes a little slinky.

Ron Arad's Bookworm ($425-$1,115 at, CB2's Alcove Wall Shelf ($159 at

Category B: The So-Cute-You-Could-Just-Eat-It Wall Accessory

This is more for trinkets and less for books, also more about eliciting a reaction similar to the one you get when you look at pictures of kittens in bowls and very small babies. This is for the design-conscious house that isn't design-self-conscious, for the renter who wants something easy-to-install but nevertheless gain a semi-permanent-feeling. Ferm Living offers a line of cartoon-house-shaped wall hangings called Studios. "In our wooden studios you can keep your alarm clock, a notepad, a glass of water - you name it, the studio can keep it. The studio can even serve as a bookmark by placing your favourite book on the top of the roof. You can hang them on the wall or just put them on the floor," the site explains. The Dorm, meanwhile, is like the studio but broken up into little individual spaces. With just enough room for a tiny pony.

Ferm Living's Studios and Dorm ($109 - $130 at Ferm Living), Children's Display Shelves on Etsy ($65 - $75, Giftz by David)

Category C: The Fancy-Frills-Yet-Conceptually-Deep Wall Accessory

Part of a larger trend embracing details and ruffliness--first exemplified in Harry Allen's My Brother's Picture Frame, which was visually ornate and materially approachable--is the really adorable wall accessory, the one that just begs to be filled with ladylike things like perfume bottles and rare (and real!) sponges. This is the type of accessory you'd hang in Meryl Streep's It's Complicated bathroom, and the kind you'd promise your children you'll pass along to them, never letting on that you got it from the internet, not Great-Grandmother's closet.

Brocade Home's Ruffle Frame Shelf ($499 at Brocade Home), Areaware's Books Bookshelf ($165 at Velocity Art and Design)

Category D: The You-Won't-Believe-Your-Eyes Wall Accessory

This is the visual trickster category, the one for people who need something a little more thrilling with their wall than even the bare-knuckle bucket of awesome that comes with a bookworm or a birdfeeder-type studio. This is for people who want to do a double-take, even at home, and for the design-savvy who just need that little extra kick. Henry Julier's Magneto shelving system is a series of wood blocks + magnetic back panel so that you can constantly adjust the scale, proportion, and pattern.

Henry Julier's Magneto ($160 at Henry Julier), Elastica Bookshelf (price on request at Arianna Vivenzio)
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