When it works, wall-mounted shelving can be the key to organizing a small space. The problem is that it's often poorly made, it sags and warps over time, or it's just not effectively designed. These products are ones we've been tracking for a long time, and some of them have been around since the 60s. They run the gamut from high to low, but they're all useful in different ways.
Designed by Dieter Rams in 1960, this is a classic modern design: simple, modular, and stripped of unnecessary detail. It's long-wearing, can adapt to your home as it changes, and it's expensive, but worth the cost. They have a NY showroom and online shop.
Scandinavian Design Center
Like Vitsoe, String shelves are modular and modern. Mounted on a side panel track, they can range from wall-to-wall shelves to the tiny String Pocket (€ 100). These Swedish shelves are sold through Scandinavian Design Center, which ships internationally.
Atlas' AS4 shelving system is a more contemporary, organic version of the Vitsoe. They're not cheap, but are hand-crafted from solid wood with a steel framing system. Expect to pay around $3,000 for a full bookshelf, more for a more complex arrangement.
At Work Design
We first saw Blu Dot's Wonder Wall shelves ($300) in person last year at Chicago store At Work Design, and they actually looked better up-close than in photos. The shelf frame is made of powdercoated steel, so it's strong, and the backs are made from walnut veneer.
This system is a little different, since shelves can be mounted from either wall-mounted tracks or compression poles. They're based in California and they sell nationally through their website. Prices are mid-range, and they're a lot less expensive than Vitsoe or Atlas systems.
Mash Studio's LAX wall mounted shelf ($690) is a really nicely made piece crafted from birch or walnut with aluminum doors that slide on a track. You can buy it through Design Public or At Work Design.
The Waveform Shelf is a really simple, beautiful design by John Paul Plauché. These are expensive ($1,300 for set of 4) but they're sturdy and sculptural enough to double as a desk or a breakfast bar. Made of sheet metal, they're available online through Generate.
In our opinion, IKEA's aluminum Bjarnum brackets ($15) and Ekby shelves ($15) are a step above the ubiquitous Lack shelf in terms of style and substance. The metal brackets make the shelves a little sturdier.
It's funny that we're adding a CD shelf to this list, when people aren't really even buying CDs anymore, but Offi's Duoplane Shelf ($89) is so well-designed that it's got a lot of other uses. Made from powdercoated steel, the depth and form feel very modern, and it's a good size for a small area like an entryway.