Stuck in the Middle: Corner Shelf Options

by Jon Nunan

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A wall shelf is one of the easiest and most direct methods of organizing almost any space; its design is generally tough and durable enough to hold books and other heavy items. A corner shelf is, on the other hand, more often used for displaying prized items or decorations. So, while a corner can be seen as the sum of two walls, a corner shelf is (as far as functionality goes) usually less than, rather than equal to, one wall shelf plus another.

In the Shower
Since most people would use a corner shelf as an accent rather than a practical storage space, its design is frequently more about looks than it is about holding power. The exception to this comes in bathrooms, where a corner shelf, with its space saving design, is meant to support shampoo, conditioner, and other shower necessities.

Some corner shelf models can literally stick to a shower wall using suction. These are nice because installation and removal are very easy. However, they are not rated for more than a few pounds. If your household has a lot of people (or just a lot of soap and bathroom products), you may want to try shelving that is anchored by screws.

Free-standing Models
Freestanding corner shelves, when set in place on their own, are as stable as their height. Most are on the narrow and tall side to maximize their space saving nature. They are fairly stable on hardwood (as long as it is level), but those simply set on carpet are likely to fall over. This is not a problem for models that are short and squat, or for lanky models that are screwed or nailed to the wall at the top.

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Wall Shelf Mounting
A corner wall shelf is easy to put up as long as it doesn't need to carry much weight. In the past, because of the stability provided by the walls they are between, many a corner wall shelf was hung by a single nail. Sometimes, they were even glued on! Both of these methods can still be used if the shelf and whatever it will hold are light. The glue method, though very easy, is not recommended especially on painted walls.

A corner wall shelf can sometimes come with, and often be fitted with, supports to make it more stable. These supports can be under the shelf in the form of blocks or bars, or above the shelf in the form of cables.

Glass Corner Shelves
Glass corner shelves are a very popular way to display special items. The elegance and modern look of glass make it a perfect material for showcasing. Glass shelves, corner, wall or otherwise, frequently come with specific mounting materials that are either clear or very unobtrusive as to not detract from the glass's effect. You can even double the pleasure of your display item by using an equally elegant, though slightly harder to find, mirrored shelf!
Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.