The Complete Guide To Hanging Shelves
Is bland, run-of-the-mill shelving not quite doing it for you anymore? Let us introduce you to something truly special: hanging shelves.
Whether they’re suspended from the ceiling or mounted to the wall, hanging shelves add something a little bit different to your space. Reminiscent of New York apartments, these dramatic shelves don’t just save you heaps of space – they act as a centrepiece for your room’s décor. This is where storage meets undeniable style.
So – what kind of hanging shelf are you looking for? And more importantly, where do you want to put it? From styling tips to mounting instructions, here’s everything you need to know about hanging shelves.
So, what are hanging shelves?
Hanging shelves, like the name suggests, are designed to hang. Ditching the traditional brackets, these shelves usually feature rope or chain hangings, which can either be fixed to the wall or hung from the ceiling to create a standout suspended look.
And we’re not just talking about a bog-standard shelf here. These shelves are space-saving geniuses. Along with loads of space for all your books, plants, plates, utensils and whatever else you fancy, hanging shelves often incorporate extra storage elements, such as wine racks, pan holders and glass holders.
As well as being immensely handy for storage, hanging shelves are an effortless way to add a touch of industrial glamour to your décor. Think downtown bars, loft apartments and urban art galleries – that’s the kind of aesthetic you get here. Add some exposed brick, a hanging plant and a few nice-looking wine glasses, and voilà – pure Nordic style.
When it comes to buying your hanging shelf, there are a few different styles to choose from, including:
- Ceiling hanging shelves/bar gantry
- Wall hanging shelves
- Chain hanging shelves
- Rope hanging shelves
- Wine glass hanging shelves
- Hanging pan racks
Here’s a quick guide to take you through each option.
Ceiling hanging shelves / bar gantry
If you’re short on storage space but don’t want to compromise on style, ceiling hanging shelves and bar gantries are a great way to go. Designed to be suspended from the ceiling, these striking shelves take centre stage, creating a contemporary look that’ll transform whatever room they’re in.
But despite what their name suggests, these shelves aren’t limited to being hung from the ceiling. Most ceiling hanging shelves can also be hung from the wall, which is perfect for smaller spaces.
Wall hanging shelves
If you don’t have the floor space to navigate a fully suspended shelf, wall hanging shelves are a great alternative. Bringing the same minimalist style as ceiling hanging shelves, wall hanging shelves give you a more distinctive look than traditional fixed shelving, transforming your storage into something truly unique. Some wall hanging shelves can also be hung from the ceiling, giving you complete versatility if you move to a different space.
Chain hanging shelves
For rooms with a stripped-back, industrial sort of style, you can’t do better than chain hanging shelves – especially if you’ve already got some metal accents in your space. Equipped with long hanging chains, these suspended shelves conjure thoughts of converted warehouse apartments and Scandi-style interiors.
Rope hanging shelves
If you’re looking for something a little more rustic, rope hanging shelves are the way to go. With sturdy rope hangings to support the weight of all your cookbooks, plates and plants, these shelves are the epitome of 'Boho' style.
Wine glass hanging shelves
It’s hard to think of something more elegant than wine glass hanging shelves. Whether you’re fitting out a new bar or shopping for your own kitchen, these nifty shelves are a bold, beautiful way to showcase your best glassware. Plus, they free up loads of room in your cupboards – which means the rest of your glassware doesn’t have to be stacked haphazardly to make room.
Wine glass hanging shelves come in a range of different styles. As well as shelves solely designed to hang glassware, some larger hanging shelves also include wineglass hanging elements, giving you the best of both worlds.
Hanging pan racks
Pots and pans are some of the largest, most cumbersome things to store in your kitchen – especially if you’re trying to squash them all into a single cupboard or drawer. That’s why hanging pan racks are an absolute storage game changer. Not only do they give you an easy, tidy way to store your pots and pans, but they’re also an incredibly sleek addition to your kitchen décor. And it means your prized non-stick pans won’t get scratched while they’re stacked away in a cupboard.
Hanging pan racks look great just about anywhere, but they work especially well hanging from the ceiling over your cooker, or above a kitchen island – ready and waiting for you to cook up a storm.
Why choose hanging shelves?
Bold, functional and effortlessly beautiful, hanging shelves capture the true essence of Nordic interior design. Going beyond traditional storage units, these shelves aren’t just space savers – they’re a standout feature of your room’s décor.
Unlike fixed shelving, hanging shelves can be fitted just about anywhere – whether that’s mounted to a wall or suspended from a ceiling. They’re also less bulky than traditional shelving, giving you a sleek, stylish way to display your books, plants, tools, lighting, ornaments, and anything else you can think of.
Fixed shelving can be a handy storage solution, but it can only go so far. With the freedom to be suspended from the ceiling, hanging shelves take full advantage of any unused space – leaving the walls free for tall furniture, cabinets, plant holders, and all your favourite prints. Suspended shelves and bar gantries are also incredibly easy to access – so no more standing on chairs to hunt for those things you shoved to the very back.
How to style hanging shelves
When your shelves look this good, it’s worth having a think about how exactly you’re going to style them. Try curating your hanging shelves in a way that works for your space – whether that’s the kitchen, the hallway, your garage, or somewhere else entirely.
One easy way to keep your shelves looking aesthetically pleasing is to incorporate a blend of textures. Things like elegant stoneware can contrast beautifully with more rustic wooden utensils.
Another thing to think about when styling your shelves is mixing up practical and decorative pieces. Experiment by placing useful items, like books and kitchenware, alongside things like trailing plants, ornaments and artwork.
For more ideas about styling your hanging shelves, check out our guide on what to put on open shelves.
How to mount hanging shelves
Luckily, mounting hanging shelves is fairly easy – but there are a few things to note before you get started.
If you’re mounting a fully suspended shelf (i.e. one that’s not fixed to the wall), it’s important to remember that these types of shelves shouldn’t be fitted into plasterboard. To protect your walls and ceiling from damage, hanging shelves should only be fitted into stone, brickwork, wooden beams, metalwork or girders.
The other important thing to think about is how much weight your shelves are going to be bearing. If you’re planning to store a lot of heavy items, it’s safest to use wall anchors to mount your shelves. But if you’re hanging lightweight items, using eye hooks or bolts should be fine.
When it comes to making your own hanging shelf, you’ll also need to buy some rope or chains from your local DIY store or builder’s yard, along with some extra eye hooks to fasten the hangings to your shelf. But if you’re fitting a ready-made hanging shelf, all you need to do is fix the eye hooks to the wall or ceiling, hang the shelf, and start styling!
How deep should hanging kitchen shelves be?
If you’re making your own DIY hanging shelf, make sure you get a shelf that’s deep enough to accommodate all the stuff you want to hang. For kitchen shelving, you should be looking at a shelf that’s between 30cm and 40cm deep – leaving plenty of room for all your plates, bowls and utensils.
Where to put hanging shelves
Hanging shelves are an easy way to enhance just about any space – which means they can go absolutely anywhere. But here’s a few ideas to get you started:
If there’s one place we could all do with more storage, it’s the kitchen. Fortunately, hanging shelves make a gorgeous addition to your kitchen décor. Style with trailing plants, cookbooks and your fanciest kitchenware for a feature that’ll catch everyone’s eye.
You can find more tips about how to style your kitchen here.
Need somewhere to stash your keys? Fit a mini hanging shelf in the hallway for a handy place to store your wallet, keys, mail, and anything else you might need as you’re rushing out the door.
Another nifty place to fit your hanging shelf is in the garage. Whether you’ve got a workstation in there or you just need some extra storage, hanging shelves are an attractive way to store all your tools or DIY equipment. If you’ve got a lot of preserves and dried goods, you could also turn it into a mini pantry!
Forget side tables – a hanging shelf looks way more vogue. Fix a miniature hanging shelf to your wall or ceiling and style with some flowers, candles, and all those books you keep meaning to read.
Our final thoughts
As well as giving you plenty of extra storage space, hanging shelves are an effortless way to add a sense of character to your décor. From dramatic suspended styles to minimalistic wall hanging options, these endlessly versatile shelves will transform just about any space – whether it’s a wine glass hanging shelf in your kitchen or a miniature pantry in your garage.
On the market for some hanging shelves of your own? Check out our gorgeous range of Nordic-inspired shelving below. Your storage has never looked so good!