Many homes have nooks, alcoves, or narrow walls that offer a sliver of space too small for most furniture. Tall, narrow shelves can transform areas like these from underused space into valuable storage.
If you're working with an alcove, it's easy to fake the look of built-ins by installing a wall-mounted shelving system (photos 2 and 5). Freestanding shelves can also be useful. Look for tall dining hutches in thrift stores and on craigslist, and keep an eye out for unusual pieces that could be repurposed as shelves. Roommates B, Joe, and Rachael painted an old gun rack a bright blue (photo #4) and remade it into shelving.
Photos: Sarah Coffey (1, 3, 4, 5), Evan Thomas (2)