Shelving Locations & Applications

Shelving can be used in almost any location and for nearly any application. In fact, some sort of shelving should be used in essentially every situation. After all, wherever there are things that need to be stored or used at various intervals, shelving is needed! So which applications in particular need which types of shelving? Below, we will outline common areas where shelving is needed and recommend the best shelving types that may be especially beneficial to you.


Industrial settings can encompass a range of specific applications, but in nearly every one of them, shelving is necessary. What usually sets industrial shelving apart from other applications is the weight and breadth of the items that need to be stored. To ensure your facility adheres to the highest-possible safety standards in supporting such inventory, you’ll need to optimize your shelving for facilitating heavy items. In order to do this, the type of shelving you choose (including the material type), the way you secure your shelves, and the layout you choose for your shelving will all be important. Before purchasing any shelving for an industrial setting, examine what it is you’re going to store. This alone will largely determine what shelves you’ll need. Do you have large bulky items that need a huge amount of wide shelf space? Are you storing a large amount of boxes of various sizes? Open wire shelving is probably for you. Are you storing small, fragile items? Solid shelving may be a good idea, but wire shelving could work too (you’ll simply need to purchase shelving inlays to keep items from falling through the wire spaces). Will you be storing liquids? You’ll definitely want solid shelving, which will prevent cross contamination in the event of a spill by way of a slightly raised edge on all four sides. There are other questions to consider as well. For instance, will your industrial area be cleaned often? If so, you’ll want mobile shelving (with wheels), which can lock into place for sturdy storage, then be easily moved when you need to clean. Speak to a Metro Representative about your industrial shelving needs, and they’ll be able to target the ideal shelves for your space.

Kitchen and Restaurant

Most restaurants and commercial kitchens can have many different styles of shelves in them. From solid and vented shelves to wire and plastic shelving, each material and style combination provides unique benefits and solutions to common kitchen organization challenges. When choosing shelving for these settings, it’s crucial to start with material type. Wherever food is being prepared, packaged, stored, or otherwise handled, surface materials are extremely important for health and safety. For example, if you were to use metal shelving in a place where salt water will touch the shelving, you may encounter corrosion, which could then cross-contaminate food. Conversely, you’ll be wasting money if you invest in expensive anti-corrosive, mobile shelving where you only need basic, stationary shelving for dry storage. In kitchens, these are your main choices for material types:

• Polymer or Plastic Shelving: Obviously, plastic is corrosion-proof and will never rust. This makes all-polymer plastic shelving the best shelving choice for all wet environments, including walk-in coolers and freezers. All plastic shelving from Metro features Microban antimicrobial protection, as well as removable, easy-to-clean shelf mats. Available in both solid and vented/grid options, the shelf mats can be wiped clean or even put directly in a dishwasher.

• Open Wire Shelving: For dry storage, traditional open wire metal shelving is the best shelving option. Available with or without casters, wire shelving is designed to securely handle your storage needs when moisture is not a factor.

• Epoxy-Coated Wire Shelving: Another option for wet environments is epoxy-coated wire shelving. Epoxy-coated wire shelving offers a corrosion-resistant solution when the budget does not allow for polymer shelving. When choosing epoxy-coated shelving for a foodservice application, be sure to choose one with added antimicrobial protection.


In hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other medical settings, there are strict guidelines in place to maintain a clean, sterile environment. Each medical setting has its own unique procedures, but in general, there are standard requirements that purchasers and managers must consider as they shop for the best shelving solution. In terms of shelving materials, even though open wire shelving can be used for general storage, it is generally not recommended for sterile hospital settings. That’s because the manufacturing process used in the creation of wire shelving includes processes like soldering and welding. These methods can leave snag points where the delicate blue sterile wrap of surgical kits may easily be ripped, which will then result in them requiring re-sterilization — a costly and time-consuming procedure. Metro offers sterile storage for hospitals by way of polymer shelving, which will not rust or corrode, even with repeated cleaning. It also remains durable even in a moist or wet environment. With antimicrobial protection built-in to the polymer, the growth of mildew, bacteria, mold, and fungi that can cause odors and stains on the shelf surface is inhibited. Finally, our sterile shelving also provides smooth, snag-free surfaces, which makes cleaning easier and helps reduce mishaps with sterile packaging.


Laboratory settings can encompass a variety of different applications, depending on the purpose and functions of the lab itself. However, most laboratories will need shelving, and the shelving best-suited for laboratories is clearly stainless steel shelving. Stainless steel is extremely durable, is rust and corrosion resistant, and is designed to handle the rigorous demands that a laboratory or cleanroom require. Stainless steel shelving is available with open wire shelves and also comes in a number of different types of solid shelves to allow you to customize a storage solution specific to your application. Stainless steel is also able to withstand high temperature cart wash and autoclave. For laboratories that have limited space, we recommend a high density shelving system. The Metro Top-Track systems eliminate aisle space that is otherwise often used in lab settings. Simply attach your desired number of mobile units to the overhead track, and move the units in and out of the way as they’re needed. A variety of sizes are available, and tracks and unit systems can be customized to meet your laboratory’s demands.


Offices require shelving in copy rooms, storage closets, cubicles and individual office spaces, lobbies, maintenance offices — basically, everywhere.

Shelving holds the paper products, desk supplies, and other materials that allow offices to operate efficiently. While all offices are unique and have special needs when it comes to shelving, there are general goals that are universal in most offices:

• Improved Organization: Without adequate shelving in an office, organization is nearly impossible. Keeping materials stacked on tables or in drawers makes them prone to disarray and damage, which is a waste of time and money for any office. Steel or wire shelving units from Metro keep products clean, neat, and well-organized.

• Easy Access to Materials: The ability to quickly and easily access the materials you need for your own work or general office needs is crucial in an office setting. With efficient storage, you can save time rooting around for envelopes, specialized paper binding materials, and more.

• Helpful Add-Ons: For shelving units that need to double as workspaces or storage for uniquely-shaped items, Metro offers many add-ons, such as hooks, baskets, and bins. These can be easily added to shelves for better, more efficient storage.

• Customization: It is immensely useful to be able to change the layout of your shelving units as storage demands for office settings will naturally evolve over time. With Metro’s open wire shelving, adjustments can be made quickly and easily whenever you need them.

• Durability: Even in office settings, weight needs for storage can be demanding. Many of Metro’s shelves can hold hundreds of pounds each. House even the heaviest items without worrying about breakage or deterioration of your shelving.

Perhaps more than any other setting, office storage needs can vary greatly. While paper products, binders, writing utensils, and other office supplies will likely be at the forefront of your storage needs, you may also need shelving storage for kitchens, bathrooms, product inventory, and more. With Metro’s office shelving options, you’ll find exactly the storage you need at price points that fit your budget.