Shelving may not be the most exciting item of furniture, but it’s perhaps one of the most essential – particularly if you yearn for minimal, clutter-free interiors. With that in mind, I decided to make versatile shelving systems the focus of my second ‘Six of the best’ round-up (you can see the first one here).
As usual, Scandinavia has produced some of the most stylish designs, all with the perfect blend of form and function. And once you’ve chosen your favourite, take a look at my recent guest post on Habitat’s brilliant blog for a few tips on styling it.
The ‘String’ system
The strikingly simple ‘String’ system was created by Swedish architect Nils Strinning in 1949 and soon became a Scandinavian classic. The modular design uses lightweight iron-wire side panels, allowing shelves and cupboards of various sizes to be incorporated into one unit and respositioned as needed. It has since been joined by the ‘String Plex’ plexiglass range, a series of bowl attachments, and the ‘String Pocket’ wall-mounted system (which you can buy from my shop), all available in a range of colours and materials. The latest addition, launched earlier this year, is a sheet-metal option which looks fantastic in industrial-style interiors.
‘Punctual’ by Ferm Living
I’ve mentioned Ferm Living’s ‘Punctual’ system in a couple of recent posts, and with good reason: it’s strong, sturdy and very stylish, with a wonderful range of muted colours to choose from (grey, dark blue, dusty blue and now rose-pink). It’s made from powder-coated metal, with a selection of sizes and add-ons that allow you to create a bespoke unit to suit your needs. The shelves themselves are gently perforated with square and round holes, which adds a nice element of detail to the otherwise minimal design.
‘Compile’ by Muuto
The work of Danish designer Cecilie Manz, Muuto’s understated ‘Compile’ system was inspired by the unpretentious Scandinavian lifestyle. Made from pale grey powder-coated steel, the shelves are connected by tubes, with the length of the tube defining the height of the shelf. It’s incredibly versatile – you can select from a range of prearranged configurations, or buy individual shelves and tubes to create your own.
‘Stacked’ by Muuto
Also by Muuto is the ‘Stacked’ system, which provides endless options for freestanding and wall-mounted shelves. Designed by Copenhagen-based Julien De Smedt, it consists of box-like modules in a range of sizes and finishes, all with the option of cupboard doors and backs (and also available via my shop). Small clips mean they can be fused together in all sorts of combinations, from sleek mono-colour grids to more random-looking stacks. You can play around even further by adding gaps between the modules, or by mounting them on legs.
The ‘Domo’ shelf
Swedish brand Domo Design fuses solid steel with clean, elegant lines, and its ‘Domo’ shelf and sideboard have quickly become design lovers’ favourites. Available in black, white and grey, they can be used on their own or positioned side-by-side to form a larger unit. I think they look particularly good in hallways, or lined up in a row to form a living-room display unit.
‘VITTSJÖ’ by IKEA
If you love the look of Domo Design’s pieces but don’t quite have the budget, IKEA’s ‘VITTSJÖ’ range is a great alternative. Available in white or brown-black, it’s made from tempered glass and metal, with high and low units that can be used on their own or in combination (there are matching coffee, side and console tables, too). It has an open, airy feel that works in all sorts of settings, and it’s ideal if you want shelving that blends into the background rather than dominating the space.