Make your fireplace even more appealing by bypassing standard shelves for standout designs like these

If you’ve been trying to choose the right shelves to go with your fireplace, you know that it isn’t as simple a decision as you might think. Shelving style, material and placement can have a major effect on the rest of the room, but it can be tempting to stick with tried and true designs that blend in rather than add something special. Before you settle for the familiar, take a look at the living rooms below to see how interesting shelving can add real appeal.

Low profile. The position and shape of this great fireplace call for shelving that enhances its sleek design. The low-set shelves echo the rectangular fireplace and provide a platform on which to display stylish pieces.

Off-kilter. These floating timber shelves work wonderfully with the color of the steel cladding on the fireplace surround. The varying length of the shelves adds character.

Clean lines. Floating shelves are one thing, but floating cabinets add an unexpected element to a minimalist living area like this one. Hide any clutter in the cabinets and show off only the most beautiful objects.

Enough’s enough. Take care not to plan for more shelves than you need. Asian-style homes tend to display only the most thoughtfully selected items, so simple modern shelves that frame this fireplace top and bottom suit the space perfectly. Consider downlights as a way to give those display items pride of place.

Perfect symmetry. Just because you love minimalist design doesn’t mean you have to go without when it comes to storage. This unit combines ample space in the lower cabinets with plenty of display space above. The natural timber contrasts nicely with the tiles wrapping around the fireplace surround. For a polished and professional-looking finish, custom-made cabinets are often the way to go. The cabinets work so well here because they align precisely with the top of the fireplace.

Natural tones. The fireplace mantel in this living room invites you to sit down and read awhile by the fire. The timber shelving unit ties in with shelving used elsewhere in the room — a nifty trick to prevent fireside storage that looks like it doesn’t belong.

Solo ledge. When there’s ample shelving and storage elsewhere in the house, it can make more sense to keep things simple around the fireplace. The single shelf in this living room is enough to add some chic coastal style with accessories.

Sitting pretty. With a simple color palette such as black and white, letting fireside shelving blend in rather than stand out can be a wise idea. This wall unit has been built into and out from the wall around the fireplace. The design houses the TV in style and creates a spot for recessed shelving to one side.

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