Decorating With Etageres



I guess you have noticed that the étagère has become a "must have" piece of home decor. A fun alernative to the  book shelf, you are seeing them everywhere. Pronounced : ā-tä-ˈzher, this piece consists of a series of stages or open shelves for the reception of ornaments or other small articles. Extensively made in France during the late 18th century, the word étagère was taken from the Middle French word, estagiere, referring to “estage floor of a building or station”.

All you have to do is look in a decorating magazine or visit a design blog or pinterest board and you will see what I mean. The etagere, even though it has been around for centuries, is once more a trendy item. These graceful and elegant open shelves are perhaps best known in the brass construction. Yet the history of the étagère, shows that even Louis XVI adored this elegant piece,especially in exotic woods.
Popular once again during the Victorian era, the excess of details would additionally adorn the shelves of style. Gilded carvings, marble shelves and mirrors made them heavier pieces of furniture.

This decorative piece has evolved into the stylistic elegance and simplicity of the brass étagère and has certainly gained iconic appeal today. I have gathered some pictures of beautiful french antique etageres as well as modern versions so you can be inspired to incorporate one into your interiors.




Those who follow my blog know I an an antique enthusiast so naturally I have a few beautiful French antique etageres to show you. These etageres usually had metal "pie crust" edges and were of course made of wood, many times with inlay.This Louis XIV etagere serves as a bookshelf carousel.



An example of a French Antique Marquetry Etagere.  They are so stylish and elegant and the perfect way to display a few pretty treasures.


A 19th Century French Etagere. Like the "what not" shelf, it was very often shaped to fit a corner.

An etagere in Reese Witherspoon's Ojai Home

Étagères by Garrison Rousseau in Nina Griscom's elegant Manhattan apartment.

An etagere will appear to take up less space than a traditional bookshelf while elevating your style a few notches.


This stylish home office features a Cynthia Rowley desk, great greek key patterned chair, orange Ikat pillow and a trendy brass etagere.


The etagere is a very versatile furniture piece as it can be used in many different ways and in all types of spaces. They come in a variety of styles and are perfect for displaying books, collections and other treasures.


Don’t forget to place books horizontally as well as vertically on the shelves of your etagere...... it adds a nice rhythmic pattern to the shelf.


What a fun and eclectic space made all the better with the addition of brass etageres.

Lindsey Harper


I love Chinoiserie and the enduring design of the pagoda etagere. These are from Brooke Astor's estate. 


Pagoda etagere in brass is classic yet trendy. These shelves are decorated in monochromatic style with all brass collectibles, but pops of color would look great too.


This Chinoiserie latticework etagere belonged to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor



Etageres are not all book shelf size. Smaller ones look wonderful as a unit that fits over a bathroom toilet or on the floor as a small shelf for storing hand towels and other bath necessities.


This is a pretty iron and glass etagere used to display perfumes, powers etc. I like the way it sits on the vanity and creates a lovely reflection in the mirror.



Small etageres make great bedside tables as well.


And who didn't fall in love with the etageres in Darryl Carter’s kitchen!!

The Cross Decor And Design

Faux bamboo etageres are very popular.  Here a white one blends beautifully into the walls of this pretty sitting area.



A pair of faux, orange bamboo Campaign Etageres,Sabina Danenberg Antiques



You can find great bamboo etageres at antique shops as well as thrift stores and flea/collectible markets.


The lucite chair with fuchsia cushion, mirrored desk, brass bed, and fabulous etagere make this the perfect chic bedroom.


This is another style of metal etagere that is easily found home decor stores.

MMR Interiors

 White washed wood plank floors and glossy teal book shelves. Add in an eclectic zebra tufted chair and ottoman paired with an interesting brass etagere and you have eclectic perfection.


You can find an old piece that has seen better days and save it with a quart of paint and some elbow grease.
via pinterest

When grouping objects together  just remember the basic rule of threes. Objects tend to look better when gathered in odd numbers, like 3's or 5's.


Etageres are functional as exceedingly graceful and elegant room dividers.

source unknown

Flank your fireplace with etageres instead of conventional book shelves for a more modern wist.


Use them singularly......


..........or create a wall of etageres for a truely unique look. I love the like artwork above each etagere and the pops of color.  Make sure your displays are interesting and well thought out.....not just clutter.


I love, love, love, this etagere of the kitchen island.


Proudly display your appetizers, finger foods and other entertaining fare during all your parties with an elegant etagere. These European-inspired pieces are perfect for convenient entertaining.



So much more fun than bookshelf the etagere is very functional in an office setting.




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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer


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