Most of us never complain about having too many spots in our homes where we can display treasures and store everyday items. Etageres and baker's racks are two fabulous tools you can use to showcase accents or corral stuff in your home. These timeless classics are the perfect choice when you're looking for attractive and functional shelving. Scripps Howard News Service
Shelves with style: Although the name sounds snooty, etageres are anything but fussy. Once called a "whatnot," these striking shelves were immensely popular in 19th century France and England, where you'd find them in most middle-class homes loaded with collectibles.
Today, etageres are as hot as ever. You may not be familiar with the name, but I'll bet your know the furniture style. Etageres look a lot like bookcases: They are tall, thin and have at least three shelves. But unlike a bookcase, they usually have open sides and backs, so they present a light, delicate appearance that makes them an ideal pick for spots where you want a piece of furniture that adds height but not bulk.
Etageres come in nearly every size, shape and style imaginable, so they fit perfectly in any home. They can be made of natural or painted wood, rattan, metal, glass or marble. You'll find modern industrial styles, traditional French and English looks, and everything in between.
Just like an etagere, baker's racks are shelving units with open and airy backs and sides. Although they were originally cooling racks for baked goods, baker's racks have evolved into attractive storage and decorating tools.
Sensational showplace: The key to creating powerful displays on these open shelves is to pull together a group of larger statement pieces, not a mass of tiny treasures that will look cluttered. Be sure to vary the sizes, shapes and heights of your pieces to ensure visual interest. And provide an intriguing backdrop on several of the shelves to frame the items displayed there, such as a tray, mirror or artwork.
Fill your etagere or baker's rack with silver serving pieces, mixing in fresh topiaries for a pop of color. Or showcase a collection of blue and white china, such as urns, trays, teapots and serving bowls. For summer, grace the shelves with an assortment of succulent plants in interesting containers.