Étagères Buying Guide – How To Buy An Etagere

Étagère Buying GuideHow do you buy the right étagère for a space? So many options are available, so many materials, sizes, finishes and so on – it’s tough to decide which one to buy, whether it’s for your home or office. We understand your problem and have therefore put together a few guidelines here to help you buy the right one.

Why Buy An Étagère?

You’ll need étagères in your home for various purposes. You’ll need them in your bathrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and even in your garden. They’re space savers, storage options that come in different designs and styles. They’re the best way to store things while ensuring your living space does not look shabby.

Today, you can get Étagères in a variety of styles, ranging from contemporary to traditional. They feature both basic and unique geometric designs. The basic bathroom OJ (Over the John) etageres are unavoidable, but then there are the lovely slender corner and wall étagères that occupy unused spaces without crowding the openness of a room. What’s most useful about étagères is that they not only save space, but also your money. You can get several attractive wooden and wrought-iron etageres for under $200.

Evaluate Purpose

Before buying an étagère, decide why you want to buy it. If you’re buying it to add a decorative touch to a living space by storing ornaments, you will choose one that is artistically made. If the purpose is to remove and organize some of the clutter that’s lying around, you will choose one that looks good but has wide practical shelves to hold more stuff.

Evaluate Room Fit

The kind of étagère you buy depends on your room fit; you’ll buy different kinds of etageres for your bathroom, kitchen and living room. In your kitchen, the étagère is more for utility and must be tough and hardy enough to be put to rough use. Opt for wrought iron, tough basic woods or even a great plastic one painted in bright colors. In your bathroom, you need an étagère to store bathroom supplies, towels and knickknacks. You can get one that can be hung up, which has a mixture of open shelves and closed cabinetry. For your living room, you’ll think more in terms of decorative appeal; in this case you will opt for artistically decorated pieces which are useful, save space and yet enhance your room’s appeal.

Check Placement

A long étagère with narrow shelves topped with a mirror is ideal to break up a long corridor or passage. It might look odd in a living room. If you want to utilize wall corners to store things, best to opt for a triangular corner étagère with multiple shelves. These occupy very less space and do not intrude into the room’s space. You’ll want a wall-mountable étagère for your bathroom – the size depends on how much wall space you have. If the bathroom is small, then you want an étagère with narrow shelves so you don’t knock your head on it.

Evaluate Brands

It is important to get an étagère from a well known brand, especially those etageres meant for rough use. They must last you for a long time and still look good in the years to come. Choose a brand that has been around for some time. Check their catalogs to know their range, terms of service warranty and so on. Buy your étagère from a brand that offers you paid maintenance post the warranty period, such as painting or varnishing. Don’t invest in something just because it looks good – over the years, you’ll end up spending more on its maintenance than you paid for it initially.

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How Étagère Is A Useful Decorative Accessory For Your Home

Decorative etageres accessoryThe étagère refers to a set of decorative shelves, designed to be placed against a wall, at the corner of two walls, or hanging on a wall. This sort of furniture has been used to store everything from expensive ornaments, awards, trophies and daily knickknacks. The word étagère is of French origin, used to differentiate a decorative and ornamental shelved furniture from a regular set of shelves in your garage.

How An Étagère Can Add Chic And Usefulness To Your Home

The way your home looks depends not only on how much you invest in it but what kinds of things you buy. The right furniture can uplift your home’s looks from expensive but drab to chic, in one go. Nothing spells greater chic than a French-inspired étagère for your home. The French are known for their designs and understated expression of wealth and sophistication.

By combining utility with design, the French étagère brings you the ultimate in beauty, practicality and luxury. Think of installing a mirror-backed étagère with carved legs and gilded shelves for your china figurines. Could anything be more chic than that? On the other side, think of a simple étagère made of bamboo or cane, polished, rugged and yet beautiful to look at. Wouldn’t you love to keep your daily necessities on such a one in your bedroom? You’ll never be embarrassed when a guest walks in.

The beauty of the étagère is that it is eminently useful and practical, while being decorative. Their use is limited only by your imagination and need. You can use them to place decorative plant pots, awards, and knickknacks, even linen and everyday objects. Look at an étagère this way – they’re a beautiful alternative to boring shelves. They add additional storage space to your rooms without taking away the openness.

How To Buy The Right Kind Of Étagère For Your Home

When you’re looking for an étagère for your home, you have to think in terms of its purpose and the existing décor of your home. Along with purpose, the placement of the étagère should be the deciding factor with regard to the material. Wall corners can be used to store items; get some triangular etageres in different materials. The options are endless.

A wall-hung shelf unit made of polished hardwood looks decorative in your bathroom, while keeping toiletries tidy. You can even invest in a simple plastic étagère that echoes antique features – it can have shelves trimmed with curlicues, set in graduated sizes, with spiraling uprights. Materials such as wrought iron, exotic hardwoods, cane, painted metal, plastic, and fiberglass, ceramic and so on are used to make decorative and useful etageres.

How about a plant stand at the corner of your drawing room, just beneath strategically placed lighting? A decorate plant stand étagère comprising two or three shelves at different heights can be used to display attractive flower pots. Do you want one that can be used to store knickknacks and everyday objects but still look decorative? Pick up an étagère with large, broad shelves with back support so that you can place larger items on it.  Do you want an étagère that will look good in your futuristic drawing room with its chrome and steel furniture? You can opt for one made of chrome or fiberglass in a maze-like vertical structure. These look beautiful with the right lighting.

If you’re looking for a decorative étagère to keep in your drawing room, you can opt for one made of exotic hardwoods. Japan-inspired cane etageres that use the actual structure and shape of the wood look exotic in drawing rooms.

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Using Étagères In An Organization

Organization etageresYour home is not the only place where you can use a decorative and yet useful étagère. You can use these in your office as well. Companies mostly use practical, closed furniture such as wooden cabinets and filing cabinets to store things. However, while these look neat and efficient, they lack aesthetic appeal. It is important to make your office look good while keeping it formal and purposeful. Etageres are the perfect way to achieve this effect. Etageres can be used in office reception areas, offices, bathrooms, corridors and conference rooms to save space, lend utility and look good.

What Kind Of Etageres Look Good In An Office?

metal etageresThe etageres that you use in an office should be practical, sophisticated and well made, but not decorative. Decorative carvings, inlays, mirror-backing and other trappings of elegance may not look good in the corporate arena. However, deep polishing, painting in neutral colors and excellent cabinetry are recommended.

They should also be in keeping with the office décor. For example, if the décor is mainly of hardwoods such as mahogany and teak, the etageres should be either of these materials or painted to look similar. It won’t do to keep wrought iron or aluminum etageres when everything else is made of wood.

It’s also important to stick to the same tone. Variations in the tone of materials used will clash badly if not done with an artistic eye. Offices must not look drab but at the same time, they’re not spaces to go all out in terms of decoration. Etageres can be used to save space prudently, while imparting a richness to your office décor that will be much appreciated.

Étagères In The Reception Area

The reception area of any company is where visitors and clients are seated till they are met by designated officials. The reception area is the first place that a prospective client or employee views. It is important to deliver the right impression in this area.

A beautiful, high-polished hardwood étagère placed exactly opposite the visitors’ entrance can be used to display certificates and awards. This can be a large étagère or a medium one, depending on space constraints. A display of the company’s credentials, awards won by its senior management for environmental initiatives and corporate achievements will make the right impression.

Smaller etageres made of wood or cane can be placed at all corners, or next to the visitors’ seating area. These can be used to place magazines, periodicals and company brochures for visitors’ use. You can use wood, cane or even dark fiberglass etageres with glass shelves for this purpose.

Étagères Inside Offices

Within your office, you can take a few more liberties in the kind of etageres you use. Your office space is where you work and meet with clients and employees, but it’s also your space within the organization. As such, it’s ok to use this space to establish your individuality.

Keep an étagère behind your desk to display family pictures, personal awards and certificates and decorative ornaments. You don’t have to go over the top, but a few personal effects will resonate your personality and make your visitors feel welcome.

You can also keep a wrought iron étagère for decorative plants in a wall corner, with varying shelf heights. If you’re not the decorative plant type, a wall corner étagère creates additional storage space for your books and periodicals. If your office space is quite large, think of using a well made decorative étagère to store reference books pertaining to your field. You can even keep a small television set in the middle.

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What Is An Étagère?

What Is An Étagère?The étagère is a decorate shelf used to keep ornaments. There are different kinds of etageres, with mirrors, without mirrors, multi-purpose etageres and so on. The étagère basically evolved as a piece of light furniture sometime during the 17th century in France. It was later used extensively by people of means during the latter part of the 18th century. It is still used in modern homes and offices for several purposes, both ornamental and non-ornamental.

What Was The Original Purpose Of The Étagère?

In the olden days, the étagère was used for ornamental purposes. Special care was taken to construct etageres of the most exotic and expensive woods so that they will be pleasing to the eye. Such etageres would be placed prominently in halls, drawing rooms and parlors, where visitors would be entertained. Today, an étagère is used as a modern-day space saver. For example, a long-legged shelf unit that you would hang over your bathroom toilet is an example of an étagère.

What’s The Difference Between An Étagère And A Shelf?

Before etageres became all the rage in the mid 1800s, people would use sets of open shelves made of polished wood to store things. The British called these ‘whatnots’, as a reference to the varied objects that would be stored on these shelves. These shelves are practical but not exactly of exhibition value. An étagère is particularly used for ornamentation purposes, and underlines such a decorative piece of furniture as a decorative item in its own right. A set of shelves are just plain old shelving. To differentiate between the everyday set of shelves and a decorative statement piece, the French coined the word étagère. The British adopted this word sometime in the 1850s, to refer to decorative shelf units.

How Was The Étagère Made?

An experienced cabinet maker would work with a design depending on the fitment. For example, a drawing room or parlor étagère would be used only to display ornaments and therefore had to look very decorative. The étagère was built as a unit, with a series of shelves to hold large or small articles. These etageres were rectangular or square in shape, with well defined corners. Triangular ones were made to fit corners, and square and rectangular ones were meant to be displayed against a wall.

The cabinet maker would carve the legs and the frame of the étagère and often use decorative elements such as ivory or metal inlays to make it look more elegant. Since the étagère would be placed in a prominent location, it had to look good from all angles. The étagère was as much for decoration, as were the ornaments that it was used to display. Some elaborate etageres were made with marble shelves, mirrored backs, gold and gilt gilding and delicate carving.

Several graceful and elegant etageres that were made during the Louis XVI period are still available in the market. These are made of exotic woods and were designed by master craftsmen to last a lifetime.

What An Étagère Represents

The étagère represents sophistication, usefulness, practicality and luxury. During the Victorian era, emphasis was placed on cluttered opulence. Homes and offices were richly decorated and styled. Etageres played an important role in this period. They were status symbols in a way – the richer and more opulent one’s furniture, the higher a person’s status and standing in society. So by cluttering their homes with multiple decorative etageres mainly for the purpose of ornamentation, people would demonstrate their wealth.

It’s the same today; people with good taste invest in beautiful, conversation-piece etageres to display their prized possessions.


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