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High/Low: Vitsoe Lookalike Shelving for Less

All of us on staff are huge fans of Vitsoe’s modular shelving, the brainchild of design luminary Dieter Rams. Vitsoe has been around for nearly 60 years, and there are few companies that offer wall-mounted shelving that’s as sturdy, well-made, and attractive as this iconic brand. (See The World’s Greenest and Most Economical Shelving System? for our tribute to Vitsoe over on Remodelista.)

It is, in short, the gold standard for modular shelving. Not surprisingly, it’s also quite expensive. (Go here for a sampling of its prices.) Those who covet the Vitsoe design but not its cost have looked to Ikea’s Algot system and the Container Store’s Elfa shelving, both of which were designed for closet organization but are stylish and minimalist enough to work in living rooms or home offices. Now there’s another system that budget-minded design enthusiasts can consider—Kernel, a Kickstarter-funded company that specializes in modular shelving.

Let’s compare.

High

Matthew Axe Jackson Heights Apartment Vitsoe Shelves by Eric Piasecki
Above: The Vitsoe 606 Universal Shelving System in creative director Matthew Axe’s home office is “by far the most expensive piece in our apartment,” he says. “I love the quality and the design, and how discreet yet imposing it is.” For more on his home, see 10 Storage Ideas to Steal from an Artfully Organized Apartment in New York City. Photograph by Eric Piasecki for Remodelista.
 A Vitsoe 606 kitchen. The owners have since moved and repurposed the shelving in the study of their new home. One of the perks of the system is that it can travel with you (as opposed to built-ins, which have to stay put). Photograph courtesy of Vitsoe.
Above: A Vitsoe 606 kitchen. The owners have since moved and repurposed the shelving in the study of their new home. One of the perks of the system is that it can travel with you (as opposed to built-ins, which have to stay put). Photograph courtesy of Vitsoe.
This Vitsoe unit will set you back $966. For a similar Kernel setup, it would cost less than $700. Photograph courtesy of Vitsoe.
Above: This Vitsoe unit will set you back $966. For a similar Kernel setup, it would cost less than $700. Photograph courtesy of Vitsoe.

Medium

Kernel Modular Shelving
Above: Kernel’s modular system relies on a hangtrack and standards (the vertical tracks) for holding up the sheetmetal shelves. The shelves come in two widths (2 and 3 feet) and three depths (8, 11, and 14 inches); Modular Shelf Pairs range from $129 to $199. The hangtracks range from 24 to 80 inches and start at $21.99; the standards range from 20 to 84 inches and start at $12.99. Shipping is free to the continental US.
Kernel Modular Shelving Desk
Above: The Kernel Desk is 3 feet wide and has a solid walnut armrest; $399.
Kernel Modular Shelving Desk
Above: The desk features a storage compartment in the back. Flip up the hatch door to store notebooks and office supplies, and to hide unsightly wires; close it to increase your work surface.
Kernel Modular Shelving Desk
Above: Just like Vitsoe shelves, Kernel’s can be oriented upside down or right-side up. They come standard in satin white, but you can custom-order different colors.

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Ikea Algot Upright Shelves
Above: You can buy this entire Algot design for just $106 at Ikea.

More wall-mounted shelving solutions ahead:

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