5 wonderful ways with wall cubes & shadow boxes

With curating and collecting fast becoming the weapons of choice to use against minimalism, we’re seeing more open shelves pop up on the walls of our homes.

Whether they’re stacked from the floor or floating, one of our favourite open shelving trends has got to be the wall cube or shadow box. The world is your oyster as to how you choose to stack or arrange them; if you can get your hands on some old wooden boxes it makes for a particularly easy DIY hack.

Here are some of our favourite wall cube ideas to share with you.

1. The uneven stack

There’s nothing wrong with a good old Billy bookcase but if you really want to add interest to a living room or bedroom wall, it doesn’t hurt to think outside the confines of straight up-and-down lines.

This open-ended bookshelf from Oz Design looks like a stack of uneven wooden crates; its design allows for little nooks to place plants or ceramics, which is why we love it.

The Kote Zig Zag bookshelf is a nod to traditional Japanese design. Picture: Oz Design Furniture

2. The hand-painted job

When we toured the home of Obus founder Kylie Zerbst, we had to ask her about her wall cubes: It turns out, Kylie painted them herself – when she was a teenager!

They now function as a catch-all display case for husband Simon, and son Orlo, too.

“This shadow box is mine from when I was little. I think I painted the red on there when I was a young teenager trying to redecorate my room with not much at my disposal! What’s so cool about it now is that it holds treasures from all three of us: Simon’s favourite Star Wars figurines from when he was little; his Grandad’s war medals; Orlo’s souvenirs from a trip to Europe last year; as well as many of my tiny treasures from over the years,” Kylie says.

Kylie Zerbst adores this shadow box she’s had since she was a child. Picture: Eugene Hyland

3. The mixed materials

For added effect, get creative with colours and textures for your open-shelving solutions. That doesn’t have to mean reaching for the paint samples, though; think about mixing materials, or even different species of timber if you want to keep the look thematic.

This one cuts a fine figure with its old growth Oregon timber frame, jarrah shelves and metal finishes.

4. The record display

If you’ve got a decent record collection, cube shelving is a fantastic storage-meets-display option.

The cubes are the perfect size for records and the partitions allow you to get creative with categorising – different cubes for different genres perhaps? Or you may prefer to stick with alphabetic order, with each cube reserved for a different portion of the alphabet.

In the home of interior designer Jane Newey, a cube bookshelf houses an extensive record collection. Picture: Erinna Giblin

5. The colour-me-happy shelves

It’s the stuff on the shelves that’s supposed to make the statement, right?

But who says the shelves can’t do a bit of the talking on their own? This wall hanging from woodworker Luke Neil is 13cm deep x 100cm wide x 85cm high, made with reclaimed baltic pine and spotted gum, and comes with a colourful backing that is as functional as it is stylish.

Originally published as 5 wonderful ways with wall cubes & shadow boxes by Alice Bradley. Author at realestate.com.au.