Glass Shelves for Living Room – Benefits and Design Ideas

The simple act of tidying up a room is enough to make it dramatically more inviting. Clever storage solutions make decluttering easy and they should be made available all around the house. Glass shelves for living room are one of the more enduring design options for contemporary homes. Wood will always be timeless and its adaptability to both modern and rustic décor continually make it a favorite. On the other hand, glass is still a solid choice thanks to its availability, cheapness in some instances, and formability into all kinds of designs. Glass wall shelving is not only adventurous, but also highly functional and decorative.


Benefits of Glass Shelves for Living Room

Glass is cool

Glass shelves for living room

Glass is inherently cool, and lends a distinct quality of charm to any interior space where it is used. As a shelving material, it offers a clean, modern solution that is very economical with space. It is also ideal for storing items that you want displayed. They could be little trinkets from your travels, collectibles, important pictures, mementos or ornamental items that you’ve picked up in different phases of your life. It could even hold some fine whiskey with accompanying glasses for the whiskey connoisseur.

It is easy to clean and maintain

Glass is easy to clean so any buildup of dust will be effortless to wipe. There is little to no maintenance needed after installation since glass does not age, and if it was strengthened with heat, will not crack. It also allows you to be creative with your lighting due to its transparency which enables light to be used for highlighting.All the desirable properties of glass will also apply to your shelves such as resistance to water, corrosion and abrasion.

Glass shelves for living room are easy to install

It is easy to install glass shelves at home without paying for installation services, if you have the right tools. One glass panel does not constitute a shelf, and will feel lonely. Instead, aim for two or more, depending on your space. More than four will start to feel cluttered. You can install them in a straight, uniform way or a staggered pattern anywhere in the living room where they don’t interfere with the traffic.

Free Standing Vs Mounted

Glass shelves for living room

Living room glass shelves are available in one of two configurations- mounted vs free standing.

  • Free standing glass shelf design is arguably more imposing, and more practical for making the most of the storage spaces it provides. Since the compartments start from the very bottom, you get more functional storage. This design is also very clean and modern, and perfect for displaying a vast collection of items.
  • The mounted version is the more popular. It is cheaper due to lesser use of glass and ultimately more durable since it is fixed. Installation is done using brackets (chrome, bronze etc.) that are recessed into the wall to support the glass. This method yields a floating design, where the glass appears suspended in the air. The brackets can be centrally placed for more seamlessness, or can be placed near the edges for maximum support.

Glass Shelves for Living Room Design Ideas

Experiment with different Shapes

glass shelves for living room

The formability of glass opens up an infinite world of design possibilities. A flat glass panel is elegant enough on its own, but bent glass has even more charm. The curves can be angular and dramatic, or can be smooth and rounded depending on the desired appeal. The design can have individual panels with curved edges, or multiple panels with adjoined curved edges, or even a multilevel design with sloping curves. The possibilities are abundant and can be customized to taste.

The transparency of glass is one of its selling characteristics, but you can opt to have the underside painted for a different look. For monochromatic décor styles, this is the best option. You can define the palette as you wish, though colors such as black matte and white gloss are a safe neutral bet.

Glass shelves for living room

A glass shelf design can successfully incorporate other styling elements. Metal and wood marry well with glass, and open up new options. Wood is recommended in spaces where a bit of warmth is required as glass by itself, like metal, is cold. The design is more elegant when wood is not used to edge the glass shelf. If framing is necessary, metal can be used as it has a smaller footprint, and won’t impose on the beauty of the glass.

Glass shelves for living room installation ideas 

It is very important to choose the right location for the shelves when you are looking for an aesthetic result as well as a functional one. The wall supporting it should be sturdy enough to accommodate the weight. The spacing between the shelves should be large enough to house relatively tall objects. Where this is not possible, a staircase design can be used.

A living room glass shelf can be installed in a variety of ways. The floating design has been previously highlighted, and is the most popular. However there are other approaches you can take depending on the nature of the space that you have.

Glass shelves for living room

If your living room is designed with recesses, glass shelves can be easily installed to maximize the use of the space. There is a large surface area to place the anchor points available so this installation is very easy. The wall around the display should have a neutral color so that it does not distract from the items placed within it. For open floor plans with half walls or open divider, the design can be executed in the same way.


glass shelves for living room

A lighting solution should be considered for your living room glass shelves. Ambient lighting may offer sufficient illumination to highlight them, but the results will be somewhat unremarkable.

Dedicated LED lighting for the shelves will have more vivid results and draw more visual interest to the items stored there. Some shelves come with the lights already built in, and these offer more even illumination. For the regular kind, you can simply buy the LED lights and install them yourself. This gives more flexibility both with the light design, and the color.

 Corner Glass Shelves

Glass shelves for living room

Space confinements should not deter you from glass wall shelving. There are some ingenious way to incorporate them into your design without infringing on the little space you have. Corner shelves utilize otherwise unused corner areas and makes them more interesting. The size of the glass panels, as well as the angle of the cut should be considered prior to purchasing precut shelves. They are installed individually, and can be as few or as many as the space permits. Corner shelves are less versatile than others as they only work as displays, and not as fully-fledged storage solutions unless they are free standing.

Entertainment Center

Glass shelves for living room

Glass shelves for living room can also be had in a design that also holds your TV. This entertainment center consists of two glass shelves anchored on a chrome spine. It has a minimalist design, but is highly practical as it can hold your sound system, gaming consoles, and a few of your favorite books. TVs today are lighter than ever so the design will be able to accommodate any TV.  Alternatively it can be mounted slightly above the stand for a more sophisticated look.

Considerations before Installing Glass Shelves for Living Room

Mind Your Load

Glass shelves for living room

The brittleness of glass is well understood. And the implication is that if your intention for living room glass shelf is for heavy storage needs, you might need to reconsider using wood instead. This kind of shelf, unfortunately, favors style over substance, and cannot be subjected to very heavy loads.

There are some variables that determine how much weight it can hold such as the thickness of the glass and the installation design. Whereas the shelf can be used for storing books, it is better if only those in your current reading list are placed there.

Glass can be made strong if exposed to certain thermal and chemical processes. This toughened or tempered glass is what you should insist on. Not only will it resist breaking, but should it buckles under the weight of its load, it won’t shatter into many pieces.

Glass is also relatively expensive, especially if it is of a high quality. The production process is energy consuming, and forming it into desired shapes requires skill. Curved or bent glasses tend to be even pricier. This is without considering the installation costs.

The benefits of glass shelves outweigh the demerits

Overall, the benefits of glass wall shelving greatly outweigh any shortcomings. The aesthetics alone make them worthwhile. And given how durable they can be, they will bring lasting value to your home. It is worthwhile to consider having them installed in other rooms as well.

Erin Emanuel