How To Choose Wall-Mounted Storage

Wall-mounted storage is a fantastic way to increase storage space without sacrificing valuable floor space. It can be small enough for a few DVDs or as large as a small bookcase. Since wall-mounted storage is available in a variety of styles, it's easy to choose something that matches the rest of the room.

There are pros and cons to different sizes, shapes, and materials. Here's a list of the questions to ask and answers to keep in mind when shopping for wall-mounted storage.

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What Styles of Wall-Mounted Storage Are Available?

Floating shelves

Floating shelves screw into walls without additional supports underneath. They look sleek and modern but tend to have lower weight limits than shelves with supports underneath.

Brown Modern Solid Wood Wall Shelf
White Contemporary Solid Wood Wall Shelf
Light Brown Simple Manufactured Wood Floating Shelf
Brown Classic Solid Wood Floating Shelf
White Stylish Solid Wood Floating Shelf

Floor-length shelves

Floor-length shelves look like bookcases but are attached to the wall for stability. These shelves are good for rooms that still have some floor space but need to maximize vertical storage. They can typically store more weight on the lower shelves.

Black Modern Manufactured Wood Mounted Storage
Black Classic Manufactured Wood Storage
Brown Simple Solid Wood Wall Shelf
Black Contemporary Manufactured Wall Mounted Shelf
Gray Classic Manufactured Wood Wall Shelf


Racks are for vertical or horizontal storage of items that are all the same shape and size. DVD racks and coat racks are the most common examples.

Brown Traditional Solid Wood Coat Rack
Gray Modern Metal Wall Mounted Rack
Black Contemporary Metal Coat Rack
Black Classic Manufactured Wood Coat Rack
Gray Stylish Manufactured Wood Wall Mounted Rack
White Modern Solid Wood Coat Rack


Cabinets are an excellent option for storing small items like medicines and keys. Some cabinets are lockable for security.

White Traditional Manufactured Wood Cabinet
White Classic Solid Wood Storage Cabinet
Black Traditional Manufactured Wood Wall Mounted Cabinet
White Stylish Manufactured Wood Cabinet
Black Manufactured Wood Wall Mounted Cabinet
White Classic Manufactured Wood Bathroom Cabinet

What Materials are Best for Wall-Mounted Storage?

Like all furniture, wall-mounted storage is available in a range of materials with different strengths and weaknesses.

  • Wire

Wire is an excellent choice for lightweight racks and shelving. Most wire racks have low weight limits, but wire shelving can support as much as wood if the wire is heavy-gauge and properly installed into the wall. Wire shelving makes an excellent choice for commercial or industrial spaces that need inexpensive and easy-to-clean storage.

DVD racks can be made with plastic-coated wire that attaches easily to walls. Try black wire shelving in a modern living room with light gray or blue walls and dark furniture. White racks can work with light tan or gray walls if the furniture is also white.

  • Manufactured Wood

Manufactured wood (MDF) is wood that has been glued together to create a strong and durable product. It makes an excellent material for shelves because it has a high weight limit and can be cut and shaped in a wide variety of ways.

Manufactured wood is available in a variety of colors and even comes in faux wood finishes. It's the most common material for residential and office wall-mounted storage. Try black or mahogany manufactured wood shelves to match furniture in a modern office, or oak shelves or cabinets in a child's playroom.

  • Solid Wood

Solid wood is uncommon for wall-mounted storage because it is too heavy for most floating shelf applications. However, it can be used for small units or floor-length units. Try solid wood in master bedrooms that use solid wood for the rest of the furniture.

  • Metal

Metal sheeting is common for commercial applications, especially for medicine cabinets or anything else that needs to be lockable. Thin stainless steel or aluminum can be used for classroom, office, or laboratory storage.

How Large Should Wall-Mounted Storage Be?

  • Bookshelves are usually at least 24" wide and up to 72" high if they are floor-length.
  • Cabinets are as small as 12" wide and 12" high but are typically much larger.
  • Many units can be installed next to or on top of each other to create additional storage.
  • However, keep in mind that storage that is too tall will be a challenge for shorter people to reach.
  • Large wall-mounted storage can also be visually overwhelming, especially if it is in a dark color.
  • Remember that deep wall-mounted storage could get in the way if it is installed near workspaces or appliances like top-loading washing machines. Be careful to install it somewhere where you or someone else won't hit their head on it.

Quick Tips

  • Wall-mounted storageoptions include shelves, racks, cabinets, and combinations of all three.
  • The most common materials are wire and manufactured wood because they offer a good balance of weight and strength. Solid wood works for floor-length shelves, and metal sheeting works in laboratories, classrooms, and offices that require locking cabinets.
  • Some shelves are only designed for DVD cases or other lightweight items. Pay close attention to weight limits for wall-mounted storage, especially the limits for individual shelves.
  • Shelves are typically 24" wide, and floor-length units can be up to 72" high. Cabinets are typically much smaller. Account for user height and adequate headspace when installing wall-mounted storage.