CD Storage Units CD Storage Units

Everything seems to be getting smaller these days, at least among those electronic things we use to entertain ourselves. And yet, even though it's a lot easier to store a CD or DVD than an 8-track tape or a record album, a proper system is still necessary in order to keep the living room, bedroom, or study looking great.

Luckily, there now nearly as many styles of CD storage systems and CD storage units as there are styles of music, and it won't be difficult to find one to match your home's décor.

But before you begin, consider imposing some organization onto your CDs when you prepare to put them into a new CD storage system. Rather than organizing them by name of artist, you may want first to organize them by category of music. That way, when you want to hear some jazz, you can just reach for the jazz section and take your chances, surprising yourself with a little Coltrane or a bit of Ella Fitzgerald.

One thing to keep in mind is how versatile a given CD storage unit is. Some of them have immovable dividers to keep each CD on a separate shelf, or in a separate slot. These will not allow for multi-pak jewel boxes, so make sure you have that versatility somewhere else, or you'll just end up stacking the multi-CD cases off to the side instead of in the CD storage system, increasing rather than decreasing the room's clutter.

As with any item that is both decorative and functional, consider next the style of the room you're working with. Is it modern? Contemporary? Victorian? There is a CD storage unit for every style, but it may take some looking to find just the right one.

The "wave" tower is particularly popular among college students and people who like the young, contemporary look of this wiggly-appearing tower. Any CD tower has the advantage of taking up little floor space; you get a lot of storage room without sacrificing the place where a table or a chair would be. The disadvantage is that it can literally dominate the room.

If the wave tower isn't contemporary and unique enough for you, you can also find sculptural CD storage units, such as a tower with a guitar shape.

For those who have moved on from the college dorm-room look, there are many styles available. As usual with home design, to achieve the best look it is often most profitable to seek out handmade pieces, each with its own stamp of creativity and style, each designed and made by a craftsman.

One such artisan is Stan Pike, in Colrain, Mass. He found that customers were buying his apothecary chests - based on a Shaker style and similar to the design seen in old-time pharmacies and doctor's offices - and using them as CD storage units.

"While the idea for apothecary drawers holding CDs is a good one, their inside dimensions are not always best for that use," he said. So he started making CD cabinets that retain the clean style of the apothecary chests, but with dimensions best suited for CD storage. These chests fit in nicely in a more traditional room, or a room where you're building your collection of antiques. Or, one could be a focal piece for a room which is otherwise bright and modern. Pike is now making them in an Oriental look as well. You can see more of his work at www.stampikedesigns.com.

Another look is the "Jewel Chest" created by Joel Goldberger at Jewelsleeve.com. This chest has a distinctly contemporary look, without bringing the college dorm room back. It would also look good in an office, to hold important work-related CDs, such as Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits.

For a smaller collection, Tim Holmes of adirondackcraft.com makes a "Tornado" model that captures the feeling of the spinning CD as the music swirls from the speakers. This can hold a cache of 50 CDs, but doesn't take up a lot of space, and would be a nice addition to a room that already has a lot of wood furniture and trim, or a contemporary or modernist style.

If you want to combine having a well-designed CD holder with doing something to save the planet, you might consider a CD holder made of recycled parts. The people at Resourcerevival.com make all kinds of things from all kinds of other things, ending up with very creatively-made items.

This CD player, made of recycled bicycle parts, would be a great gift for someone who loves both biking and music, and it would look great in any modern or contemporary room.

You can even enhance an Asian look to a room. Cabinets from asiandreamsfurniture.com are based on traditional Chinese furniture design, and add a note of elegance to a formal living room. They can hold all your entertainment paraphernalia, from plasma TV to DVDs.

Whatever style you're aiming for, remember that there is a probably a CD holder or CD storage system to match it. And if you can find a CD storage unit that is well-made, designed by an individual, and created with respect for the materials, it will last long beyond your fascination with Emma Roberts.

"It's very important to me that everything I produce be both beautiful and functional, otherwise what's the point?" Pike says. "If something is not beautiful it will not be appreciated and taken care of and will not survive. In order for something to live on, it absolutely must be beautiful."

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design.

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