11 Reasons Metal Shelving Isn't Just for Your Garage

Chances are your garage's perimeter is lined with somewhat unsightly, possibly mismatched metal shelves. They're most likely obscured by gardening tools, sports equipment, camping gear, and other seasonal or rarely used paraphernalia. If you're brave enough to take on the Holy Grail of weekend projects—cleaning out the garage—you might be able to empty out one or two of those shelving units. Rather than leaving them in the garage only to be refilled with stuff you should probably toss anyway, let them find rewarding second lives in unexpected places throughout your home. Even if that big garage clean out isn't in the cards, metal shelving units offer quick, easy, and inexpensive storage for your laundry room, kitchen, or living room. Whether you're buying new or repurposing old metal shelves, we've found some uses for these sturdy, functional fixtures that are so ingenious and attractive, they might just get you in the mood to reorganize your home.

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  1. Kitchen Supplies


    First dress up your metal shelves with a coat of paint in an accent color that complements your kitchen decor. Then arrange your cooking accessories in matching baskets to keep things organized and cut down on shelf clutter.

    Related: Recipe for Success—10 Easy Kitchen Storage Hacks

    Country Living

  2. Minimalist Cuisine


    If you're more likely to use your kitchen to reheat last night's delivery than to prepare a five-course meal, a well-organized and sparsely populated shelf can attractively store the limited food and kitchen accessories you use. Coordinated canisters and multiples of the same item go a long way toward making your shelves look good.

    Related: 10 New Ways to Store Kitchen Necessities

    Better Homes and Gardens

  3. Pleasingly Stocked Pantry


    Organize your surplus food items in your pantry with the help of metal utility shelves. While your pantry may not be as carefully arranged as this one, keeping everything in sight makes it easy to find whatever you're looking for in your storeroom.


  4. Dual-Purpose Room Divider


    Let your shelves multitask by holding neatly stacked plates, glasses, and serving pieces while creating a divider between the kitchen and dining room. The open shelving lets the cook converse with dinner guests without fully exposing the secrets—or chaos—of the kitchen.

    Related: 16 Gorgeous Galley Kitchens


  5. Laundry Room Utility


    Trading one utility space for another, your metal shelves can decamp from the garage to the laundry, where they can help organize detergent, softeners, and stain removers. In laundry rooms that are short on space, consider putting wall-mounted metal shelves above the washer and dryer.  

    Related: Laundry Rooms We Love


  6. Living Room Flexibility


    If an industrial vibe works with your living room decor, use your old shelves to create tableaus of collected items and books—or perhaps even a bar setup. Your houseguests may never guess that your shelves used to house oil cans and antifreeze.

    Related: What's the Best Color for Living Rooms? The Experts Weigh In


  7. The Organized Office


    Storage is vital to a home office, and the simple design of metal shelves can easily blend with a variety of styles. Place often used items on lower shelves and reserve the top for cherished mementos, older files, or objects that inspire or distract you when you need a break.

    Related: 10 Ingenious Alternatives to a Traditional Home Office


  8. A Well-Assembled Craft Room


    Whether you’re a quilter, a scrapbooker, or model airplane aficionado, you can benefit from a more organized crafting area. You’ll do your best work with all your materials neatly arranged and in plain view.

    Related: Weekend Projects—Build a Better Bookshelf


  9. Dining Room Display


    The dining room is the perfect place to display your favorite collectibles and conversation starters. Whether you choose to exhibit art books or souvenirs from your travels, you and your guests will find something to talk about.

    Related: Show Offs! 9 Inventive Ways to Show Off Your Collections


  10. Bathroom Basics


    Looking for a smart bathroom storage solution? Consider converting a rolling metal cart into a bathroom vanity. The open framework will make the room seem larger and provide plenty of accessible storage for towels and supplies.

    Related: 20 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Big


  11. Home Library on a Budget


    When your book collection outgrows its current shelving, invest in matching metal shelves for a quick, cheap fix for your storage problem. While one metal shelf on its own may not be aesthetically pleasing, a uniform arrangement of multiple shelves is a cohesive and attractive solution for bookworms.


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