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Shelves are a great way to add a three-dimensional look to your walls. Empty or cluttered shelves, however, detract from the overall look of a room. If you have shelves, make sure you decorate them in a pleasing way. You probably have items in your house and yard that you can use right now to decorate your shelves for free. Decide on the theme of the room. If the room is minimalist and upscale, decorate your shelves with sleek, modern items. If the shelves are in a room that is rustic, natural items will work well.

Place tall items on the shelves. Shelves look best when decorated with items of varying heights. Start with one or two tall items, which will be your focal point. This can be tall candles, a vase or even a stack of old books.

Add shorter items around the tall focal points. For example, some short, fat candles look good next to tall, sleek ones. A tall vase can be complemented by a short bowl in a similar glaze.Make it personal with photographs or collectibles. Keep it simple by putting all the photographs in matching frames, or have them all printed in black-and-white for an interesting look. Collectibles should not be crowded onto the shelves but given plenty of room to shine.

Make it functional. Shelves are great for holding things like DVDs or CDs, especially in cramped quarters. You can even put a small lamp on a shelf and use it in a reading corner if there is no room for a side table.


An open ceiling, whether a tray or vaulted space, makes any room feel larger. Because the ceiling is approximately one-fifth of a room's visual space, pushing this area upward increases the cubic feet of space within the room. The reflected light overhead, if the ceiling has light fixtures or light painted surfaces, adds to the expanded feeling as well.

You can remove the ceiling to open a room, provided attic space will accommodate the upward expansion. A single-story ranch home, for example, can have a vaulted ceiling for the whole house. You will need to rework attic rafters with angle iron added to eliminate the need for ceiling cross beams or joists. By installing angle iron in the peak areas of the roof structure, attic floor joists -- which comprise the ceiling rafters -- can be totally removed.

The ceiling over one room can be taken out in several ways. You can, for instance, open a ceiling to a reveal a sloping attic roof. If you want to remove the room's ceiling and add a large skylight over a home office, you can do this by building a sky well lined with drywall, as one option. Naturally, attic space issues such as house plumbing or electrical wiring routes will need consideration.

It’s possible to take out drywall and rebuild attic space with timber framing. This method works well with rustic homes where you need strong structural framing, but you want it to look artistically appealing from the room below. Well-crafted metal or high-quality wooden rafters can be installed to show from the home’s interior. The new open space over one or more rooms can add to the spacious feeling, and it’s possible to use over-size chandeliers to accent the open ceiling area.

Opening a ceiling can add storage space overhead to remove bulk from the room below. For example, you can push the ceiling upward to build a bookcase and storage unit extending 10 feet in height versus 8 feet, the usual room height. Uppermost cabinets in the wall unit can hold holiday decorations, seldom-used dishes and camping equipment. Having this storage creates the option to use less cabinetry in the room’s actual floor space.

A unique design to create a sleeping loft is possible to enlarge true living space. You can extend the ceiling upward to create a small balcony for sleeping space in a cabin or vacation home. By using this attic space, you can turn a small bedroom into a bigger bedroom for three children versus one child, for example. It’s relatively simple to construct upper balcony framework and a staircase in the room ceiling, so that the entire ceiling doesn’t have to be removed.

Color can play tricks on our eyes and visually transform the shape and size of a room. Use color strategically to change the look of your room. Overall, painting a room a light, bright color will give it a much more open, airy feel than painting it a dark color. Light colors bounce more light around the room. If you have a long, narrow room, you can counter-balance that with two different color paints. Paint the two long walls a darker color, and the two short walls and the ceiling a lighter color. The lighter color will make the short walls appear wider and the ceiling higher, while the darker color in contrast will visually shorten the long walls. This can give your room the illusion of more evenly square proportions. If you love dark colors, you don’t have to give them up. Painting a small room in deep, rich, bold tones will not do anything to make it feel more spacious, but it can make the it feel cozier. If you want to paint your room colors on the darker side, paint the ceiling white; white can make the ceiling appear higher and the room more spacious. Avoid painting the ceiling just a shade or two lighter than your wall color; this will make the ceiling appear higher, but make the overall room seem narrower. If you feel four walls of dark colors is just too much, you can compromise by choosing one single focal wall. Paint the rest of the walls and the ceiling a light color, and get crazy with your color choice for the focal wall— chocolate brown, royal blue, burnt orange or dark charcoal gray. As long as it’s on one wall, you can get as dramatic as you want without compromising the space.

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Floating shelves are a simple solution to add extra storage space on the walls while maintaining a clean, minimal look. They also add interest to a blank wall and can be used to display framed pictures or decorative objects. Though they may look like the shelves are floating on air, there's actually a hidden support piece that mounts the shelf in place. This tutorial walks you through the simplest way to build your floating shelf -- using a support bracket that's finished on the top and sides to hide the support piece underneath.

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It’s simple to pick one line of furniture that fits together, but in the end, it won’t look very interesting. Think about putting different pieces together. If your sofa leans mid-century with skinny dowel legs, opt for a chunkier coffee table rather than a minimalist one. You don’t want all your pieces to seem like they’re floating in space or too chunky.

A custom shelving unit adds value to a home, providing attractive open storage for collectibles and books. By painting the shelving in a coordinating or complementary color, the unit can either blend into the decor or make a bold decorating statement. When painting shelves, however, extra drying time is required to ensure that the paint does not stick to any items placed on the shelves.

Shelving is one of the most useful and simple design concepts for a home, both in terms of practicality and aesthetic value. When considering where to place shelves or shelving units in your home, consider both appearance and function. Keeping those in mind will help you determine a placement that you can be happy with for a long time to come.

The first factors to consider when deciding where to put shelves are practical ones. The shelves should be placed in areas where they will be conveniently accessible and the least likely to cause any injuries. Place shelves within easy reaching distance for adults (probably no higher than about 5 1/2 feet depending on who's in your house) and avoid placing them in areas where people are likely to be bending and ducking beneath them (creating a possible risk of bumping heads while standing up). Place shelves where they're the least likely to get hit by moving objects. Consider any potential shelf spot for its likelihood of getting run into by door swinging open or a rocking chair, or just being bumped by people moving through high traffic areas (like front entryways) or bottleneck areas (like tight spaces between dining tables and walls). If you have children or pets, consider their actions, as well. Children, especially young children, may reach and grab things they shouldn't if shelves are placed too low, while dogs may run by and knock things over. Cats can be especially tricky, because they will not only jump directly onto a shelf, they will also be likely to jump onto high shelves from lower furniture or shelves placed nearby.

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