This article was written by Joshua Lewis – an academic writer and keen DIY and home decor enthusiast – to ensure maximum factual accuracy and unique content.
If you are looking to save space in your bedroom then shelves are an excellent choice for storing books, trophies, plants, and other items.
But where’s the best place to put shelves in your bedroom?
The best place to put shelves in your bedroom is on the wall opposite your bed for decoration and/or above your desk or nightstand for decreasing clutter whilst being in a convenient place.
Conversely, where is the worst place to put shelves in your bedroom?
The worst place to put shelves in your bedroom is directly above your bed because items can fall off or the shelf may collapse and cause injury. Shelves installed too close to doors, windows, wardrobes, and cupboards are also poor choices because they can impede functionality.
However, you may have seen many bedroom designs where shelves are featured above the bed – so is it safe to put a shelf above your bed?
Putting a shelf above your bed isn’t safe due to the risk of items falling off, but if the brackets are secure, the shelf isn’t overloaded with items, and you don’t live in an area where there are earthquakes, then this can reduce the risk of injury if you have no other wall space available.
Also, you may be interested in installing floating shelves, but are floating shelves dangerous?
Floating shelves are not dangerous if the wall is drilled to the right size, the brackets are secure, the shelf is level, and the shelf is not installed above the bed.
The rest of this article provides you with 7 bedroom shelving ideas – complete with custom images to provide you with inspiration.
7 Bedroom Shelving Ideas
Below are 7 bedroom shelving ideas that you can copy or modify for your own use:
1: Wall Opposite Bed – Best For Decoration
Placing shelves on the wall opposite your bed is an excellent decorative option that blends in functionality if you don’t want a TV opposite your bed.
By placing 2-3 shelves on this wall, you not only have plenty of storage space for your items but also an area to present your achievements or important items to make your room that bit more personal.
I suggest one shelf for any achievements (trophies, medals) and the other for souvenirs or collectables that are personal to you.
Make sure to keep it decorative by using a mix of items and decor.
Try using some artificial plants or even some ornaments, but whatever it is, only use a few items per shelf to ensure you don’t take the focus away from its personal contents.
This brings the area to life a bit more and draws more positive attention to it.
On top of this, you can decorate around the shelves too, drawing even more attention to the area and emphasizing its position in the room further.
For example, in the image above, there are two shelves and two prints – both of which are placed so that they’re on opposite sides.
This emphasizes the prints without taking the focus away from the shelves, and it brings a more decorative effect to your shelves and enhances their aesthetic a bit more.
However, you can also make it more personal and use photos (perhaps of family or certificates) instead of prints, which works well with shelves that show off your other personal items or achievements.
2: Over Drawers or Dresser – Best For Enhancing Aesthetics
Placing shelves above your drawers or a dresser can enhance the aesthetics of the room by allowing for the complementary positioning of other items like mirrors and artwork on the walls.
Most of you will have a low-down dresser or drawer set, but even if you have a wardrobe with drawers, you can still fill the space in your room with a smaller unit such as a bedding box.
Wherever your drawers are positioned, there is usually plenty of space above them for shelves to help fill up the space.
I know a few people who have their drawers lined up with a window, but this isn’t the most effective positioning for them, and it’s better to have the window space clear in my experience.
Therefore, putting drawers against the wall and occupying the above space with shelves makes for an effective decorative feature.
I suggest placing two shelves on top of each other, but instead of having them central, position them to the side as you can see in the photo above.
This leaves room for other decorative features, perhaps a print or mirror, to go on the other side of the space above the drawers.
This enhances the area’s aesthetic more, and therefore placing shelves in this area works well.
You can use the shelves to place any toiletry or makeup items to save space in the bathroom, or even any jewelry or clothing accessories if you want a more aesthetic touch (click here to see how to build a bedroom with an ensuite).
This will also save you space on top of the drawers themselves, so it has its advantages when it comes to storage.
If you’re a bit limited for space though, or if your wall space is higher rather than wider, I suggest making space between the shelves and placing a mirror in between.
Just make sure you position the shelves so that the mirror in between them both is at a reasonable height and so it’s not too low… you don’t want to be doing your makeup or hair crouched down!
3: Above the Desk – Best For a Working Bedroom Office
If you use your bedroom as a study or home office, then one of the best places to put shelves is above your desk so that you can easily reach items like files, folders, and books.
Shelves above a desk or working space are the perfect way of filling the wall and occupying the large space available, as desks are typically low-down pieces of furniture.
The trick is with shelves above desks is for them to look good of course, but not too over the top at the same time – it’s easy to get distracted when working!
As you can see in the image above, I think the best option for any bedroom is to position the shelves diagonally to each other and fill the remaining space with prints or photos.
This is because it maximizes the decorative aspect and allows you to fill the space effectively.
Compared to the first option though, placing shelves above your desk means whatever items you choose to place on the shelves can be more specific to your work or studies.
For example, I suggest using any books or academic literature as your shelving items, as this is the ideal spot for them and means you don’t have to occupy valuable desk space with them.
Desk space is important for maximum productivity, so the fewer items, the better (click here to see the best space-saving Murphy beds with a desk).
On top of this, you can fill the space with other hanging wall items that could be useful such as a whiteboard or pinboard.
This can still be a decorative feature whilst remaining organizational, which is the best of both worlds in my experience.
If that doesn’t look decorative enough though, or if you feel it needs something extra, there is another way to achieve this look.
If you look at the photo above, you’ll notice that on the other side of the room there is art above the dressers.
By placing items nearby or on the same wall, you can still achieve the decorative effect, as the shelves will contrast nicely with these other features.
As well as this, a corner desk is a great spot to have a standing shelf as you can also see, which can be used for book or literature storage instead, meaning you can use the shelves for your decorative features.
4: High Up On the Wall Next to the Bed – Best for Small Rooms
If you have a small bedroom then placing your shelves on the wall next to your bed is a good option because it deflects the eye to avoid making the room feel cluttered – which can often be the case when you place the shelves above your bed in a small bedroom.
However, making your bed can be a real pain if you don’t put the shelves high enough.
Make sure the shelves are high enough on the wall so that they’re out of harm’s way, but make sure to not put them too high so that they’re not visible.
On top of this, I suggest using shelves side-by-side, rather than on top of each other.
As you can see from the image above, they’re side-by-side but there is a small difference in height.
This is a far more effective decorative feature than having them at the same height, but since they’re still side-by-side, you occupy the space that bit more.
I think this space is more commonly associated with wall prints or posters, as it is large enough for them, but the option of shelves is often neglected.
Overall, just make sure that they’re high enough and positioned properly, and you can really enhance this wall space next to your bed effectively.
5: Above Nightstand – Best For Removing Bedside Clutter
If your nightstand isn’t big enough to hold all of your bedtime essentials, then placing shelves above your nightstand is an excellent way to get rid of the clutter – you can store books, lamps, and even the remote for your adjustable bed there.
You might have more than one nightstand, and that’s okay.
To keep it simple, I would suggest just placing one shelf, about a meter or so high, above your nightstand for it to be effective.
Too high separates the shelf from the nightstand and doesn’t make it look a part of it, whereas too close can be a sleeping hazard.
As you can see from the photo above, you have space left in between the two shelves, or in other words, the space above your headboard.
This means there’s plenty of room to contrast the shelves nicely with other decorative features.
I strongly suggest either a mirror or large/extra large print to go in between this space, as multiple smaller decorative items can make it look a bit too cluttered.
In my experience, spaces like this benefit more from less, as it can keep it quite minimalistic without diverging much from any chosen themes or styles.
So, make sure that the shelves are level with each other if you use more than one, and make sure to fill the space in between.
If you only have one nightstand, don’t worry!
Just fill the space in between the shelf and the stand in the same way.
You might even want to swap out the idea of a mirror or a print with something else, such as a mini photo wall or a notice board.
Whatever you choose, a shelf above a nightstand is an effective location and I think it’s definitely one of the best options for a minimalistic or contemporary bedroom.
6: Behind the Door – Best for Hiding Items if You Have Room
Putting shelves behind your bedroom door is likely not a good idea for smaller bedrooms because it will probably stop the door from opening all the way inwards.
However, if there is enough clearance and you have items that you’d like to keep out of clear view – such as risque ornaments or personal prints/photos – then installing shelves behind your door is a viable option.
Personally, I use the space behind my bedroom door as a shoe rack, as well as a hanging rack for toiletries, but that’s just out of convenience and because I’m in a rented flat.
If I could, I would use shelves in this space more than anything else, and I’ll tell you why:
Shelves are a great way of displaying your personal items or decor items as we know, but since it’s your bedroom, there are not as many visitors who will see these items compared to other rooms such as the living room or kitchen.
However, there is one way they will see your bedroom and that’s through the doorway.
Depending on which way your door opens, place the shelves in such a way that it will be noticeable for visitors who may take a peek or who may see into your room when visiting the house.
With the right décor, this will make the room look more occupied and give off a great first impression.
On the other hand, if you’re not too bothered about how it looks to visitors, then shelves on the wall near your door are still really useful.
I think it’s a great spot to put any belongings (keys, wallet, etc.) or other daily items, and it looks great above a shoe rack which I also suggest placing by the door.
This separates your daily items from other areas in the room, as it’s easy to clutter other surfaces (such as a desk or dresser) with your personal daily items and it provides that extra organizational aspect to your bedroom.
7: Above the Bed – Worst Option (Last Resort Only)
The worst place to put shelves in your bedroom is directly above the head of your bed because items may fall off and cause injury.
However, if there are no other places to put the shelves in your bedroom, then you can place them above the head of your bed as long as they are attached securely, the shelves are level, and you don’t live in an earthquake-prone region.
Since most beds are low down (unless you have a loft bed), it’s easy to set up a couple of shelves above the headboard to fill in this empty space.
The key thing you need to remember is that you put the shelves high enough up so that it won’t get in the way of making the bed.
I suggest two shelves, so that one is on top of the other, as you can see in the image.
This keeps it compact and reduces the area in which your duvet may catch when making the bed.
Keep non-valuables and heavy items (for example books) on the bottom shelf, and lighter, more decorative items (such as small plants) on the top shelf.
Conclusion: Think About Functionality First
The key to placing your bedroom shelves in the best position is to think about the functionality implications.
For example, placing the shelves above the bed can be dangerous, whilst placing them too close to the door, windows, and other furniture can also cause problems.
Once you know where to put them, then you can think about the design and styling.
Image Attribution and Licencing
All images custom made – all rights reserved.
Dan is the founder and head content creator at Bedroom Style Reviews.
He has been working as a professional online product reviewer since 2015 and was inspired to start this website when he ended up sleeping on a memory foam mattress that was too soft and gave him backache.
Through in-depth research and analysis, Dan’s goal with this website is to help others avoid such pitfalls by creating the best online resource for helping you find your ideal mattress, bedding, and bedroom furniture.
Dan is a qualified NVQ Level 2 Fitness Instructor with 6 years’ experience helping clients improve their health through diet, exercise, and proper sleep hygiene.
He also holds several college and university-level qualifications in health sciences, psychology, mathematics, art, and digital media creation – which helps him to publish well researched and informative product reviews as well as articles on sleep, health, wellbeing, and home decor.
Dan also has direct personal experience with insomnia, anxiety, misophonia (hypersensitivity to sounds), and pain from both acute and long-standing sporting injuries – he enjoys writing insightful articles around these subjects to help fellow sufferers of such conditions.
Learn more about Dan here.