Shelf Ideas for Above a Computer Desk

Written by benna crawford
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Shelf Ideas for Above a Computer Desk
Shelves hold work essentials that can't be stored in the computer desk. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Few homes have the luxury of space that allows a good patch of wall to go unused. The area above the computer desk is convenient for keeping items you need at hand for day-to-day tasks. But just hammering a couple of shelves in and stacking things on them looks cluttered and unplanned. Determine what you can best use the space for and then select shelves that perform well and look even better.


Narrow picture shelves that hold prints or mounted samples are ideal for a home office focused on design. Photographers, graphic designers, clothing and interior designers can all use visual inspiration or a way to keep track of work in progress. Framed photos, small notice boards covered in fabric or wallpaper samples, sketches, blueprints and other visual prompts are just a glance up from the computer screen and can be swapped out for new art as necessary.

Closet Library

An office in a closet usually has more vertical room than horizontal. Maximise the use of the closet area, keep reference materials within reach and avoid clutter with paint and a high shelf or two. Paint the entire closet interior one matt colour. Black is dramatic, suggests depth and looks sharp, but dark pewter, pale vanilla cream or any shade that complements decor can work. Install a shelf for books and magazines that runs around the entire closet interior and set another shelf above that for larger items, files and speakers. Anchor the shelves securely because they will support a lot of weight.

Quirky Spaces

In a converted garage, attic or outbuilding, exposed support beams can be augmented to create a shelf system. Tuck a desk in below a window and paint the walls and beams a solid, light colour or white. Use existing exposed support framing to hold books and storage boxes. Add a few extra beams or boards for more storage over the window or between angled beams.

Double Duty

Shelves can be hung in a cabinet with front facades that open up above the computer desk. Paint the exteriors to match the wall and face the cabinets with cork tiles. When the cabinet fronts are down, the shelves are hidden from view, although it takes seconds to reveal them. The cork tiles hold reminders, ideas, lists, drawings -- whatever the office requires. Maximum storage gets squeezed from a small space without the danger of clutter. And you never have to dust the shelves.

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