"A Well-Ordered Shed Will Inspire You" — 5 Shed Shelving Ideas That Make Organization Look so Pretty

One of our favorite interior stylists shares her tips for making shed shelving a design feature, alongside other inspiring ideas

attractive shelves in a potting shed
(Image credit: Shed Style by Selina Lake, published by Ryland Peters & Small / Photography by Rachel Whiting © Ryland Peters & Small)

Tired of tripping over things every time you enter your shed? Or maybe you just struggle to find small items or access larger pieces stacked at the back? If that's the case, then some better organized storage shed shelving might be exactly what you need.

Of course shop-bought shelving is practical, but if you're after something a little prettier, it's possible to hack traditional shelving with household accessories or repurpose existing pieces for insta-worthy organization. From painted spice racks and scaffold planks to coat racks and kitchen hooks, see what you can salvage, adapt or buy to create attractive storage solutions to suit.

First figure out what you need to store. Terracotta pots, watering cans and some garden tools are usually on the heavy side, while plant labels, twine and seed packets tend to be the small items that can easily be mislaid. And of course, there are lots of things you should never store in a shed you might want to take out, too.

Don't forget, shelves need to be able to support the weight of what is placed on them, so do check before loading them up with breakables.

'A functional, well-ordered shed will inspire you – if it’s all set up right, you will be able to dip in and out when you have the time,' says Selina Lake, stylist, gardener and author, Shed Style, published by Rylands Peters & Small.

1. Fix a shelf above a window

shelf above a window in a pretty shed / greenhouse

(Image credit: Shed Style by Selina Lake, published by Ryland Peters & Small / Photography by Rachel Whiting © Ryland Peters & Small)

Short on wall space? If your shed has large windows like this gorgeous part-shed part-greenhouse in Sweden featured in Shed Style by Selina Lake, maximize the vertical space by fitting a shelf above a window with metal brackets fixed to the frame.

Painting the shelf and brackets in the same color as the interior - in this case a cool white - makes them disappear into the background and lets the terracotta pots and green plants stand out. A beautiful shelving idea for your outdoor space.

2. Fit salvaged scaffold planks

thick wooden timber shelves in a potting shed

(Image credit: hed Style by Selina Lake, published by Ryland Peters & Small / Photography by Rachel Whiting © Ryland Peters & Small)

For sturdy shelves with plenty of space, salvaged scaffold planks will add character to your shed or garden outhouse. Clean up the planks and seal the timber with oil before securing them on brackets strong enough to support the shelves and any items placed on them.

Timber shed walls can be flimsy, so do check what weight they can bear. Alternatively, if your shed or potting area backs onto a brick wall, heavy shelves can be hung there.

'In this day and age, when we are focused on preserving natural resources, opting to recycle existing materials and accessories is a wise choice,' says Selina Lake. 'Not only does the use of salvaged materials keep a project on budget, but it’s a very desirable look.' Sustainable living and great style? Count us in.

3. Repurpose kitchen spice racks

Want a permanent home for those itty bitty items that you can never find like plant tags and labels? Repurposing a couple of IKEA spice racks creates the ideal spot, so small items can be easily found whenever you need them.

This spice rack IKEA hack has been teamed with vintage and secondhand shelf units and painted in the same soft grey as the interior walls for a stylish and integrated look in this shed of dreams from Mrs Plumtree @mrs.plumtree.

4. Secure hooks below timber shelves

Blogger Ann Karén K. Strand @husihagen has created a stylish and super organized storage area for her assorted collection of terracotta and ceramic plant pots in her chic shed, with a set of simple timber shelves on angled supports.

The additional hooks (similar to these we found on Walmart) screwed into the lowest shelf, provide an accessible home for her gardening baskets and trugs, which also serve as a place to store twine and other small items.

5. Paint it black

shed interior and shelves painted black

(Image credit: Shed Style by Selina Lake, published by Ryland Peters & Small / Photography by Rachel Whiting © Ryland Peters & Small)

A couple of standard wooden shelves have been given a stylish overhaul by painting them, and the rest of the interior in this chic shed, in matte black.

'Black paint works brilliantly in the garden, as it fades into the background,' says Selina Lake. 'In this instance, shelves painted the same color as the wall provide the perfect backdrop for plants, pots and other gardenalia. The exterior wall of this cabin is also clad with wood stained black for a Scandi look.' Keeping your outdoor storage's paintwork looking good is not only for aesthetics, it's also good shed maintenance practice, too.

6. Add hanging space with a coat rack

More insta inspiration from Ann Karén @husihagen and her beautiful garden bolthole. On this side of her shed, beside the shelves, Ann Karén has fitted a simple, timber coat rack, where she can hang a dustpan and brush, dibber and watering can.

She also uses the rack to hang outdoor lanterns, twine, trugs and other garden paraphernalia, so they're within easy reach when required. Coat racks like this can be bought inexpensively online, like this one from Amazon.

How do I put up shelves in a shed?

A classic shed is a single shell of timber feather panels, so you won't be able to put up "floating" shelves with supports like you would inside a home. This, alongside the weight of what you tend to store on shed shelves, means that your best bet is using brackets.

If you have a single-skin shed (one that hasn't been fitted out with separate internal wall paneling inside), you'll be able to find the studs just by looking at your walls. Use these as the anchors for your brackets, as they're thick enough for screws to go into. If you have an inner skin to your shed, you'll need to use a stud finder to find the studs for the brackets before fixing.

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.