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A shelf (plural: shelves) is a flat, horizontal plane used to display or store items in a home, business, store, or elsewhere. It is raised off the floor and frequently anchored to a wall, bracketed on its shorter length sides, or otherwise anchored to cabinetry with brackets, dowels, screws, or nails. Columns or pillars can also be used to support it. A shelf may also be referred to as a counter, ledge, mantel, or rack.  Console tables are similar to individual shelves in that they are designed to be placed against a wall, possibly mounted.
A shelf can be attached to a wall or other vertical surface, suspended from the ceiling, a free-standing frame unit, or a piece of furniture such as a cabinet, bookcase, entertainment centre, some headboards, and so on. A unit is typically made up of two to six shelves, with each shelf attached perpendicularly to the vertical or diagonal supports and positioned parallel one above the other. Free-standing shelves can be accessed from one or both of their longer length sides. A floating shelf is one that has hidden internal brackets. A bookshelf is a shelf or case designed to hold books.
The length of the shelf is determined by the space constraints of its location as well as the amount of weight that it will be expected to support. The vertical distance between the shelves is determined by the space constraints of the unit’s location and the height of the objects; adjustable shelving systems allow the vertical distance to be adjusted. The unit can be either fixed or mobile shelving. Pallet racking is the most robust type of shelving. In a store, the front edge of the shelf beneath the object(s) held may be used to display the object’s name, product number, pricing, and other information (s).