Let there be more storage!
We finally got some long-awaited shelves up in the living room a couple of weeks ago!
We really needed more space to put books as the bookshelf currently in our bedroom is overloaded and these shelves were a great and inexpensive solution.
Here are all the details on how they went up…
To start, we had to figure out how many shelves we wanted. Initially, I was set on four. So, I stuck four pieces of painter’s tape up on the wall about where I’d want the shelves to be and stared at them upon passing for a few days.
After those few days, they started to look a little too close together but I didn’t really want to raise or lower them so I took them down and re-taped with three lines instead.
After much hemming and hawing and consulting friends, we decided that three it would be.
I’m kinda in love with these curvy metal things. I got five packs of them (Threshold from Target) at Dirt Cheap last year for under $2.50 a pack (80% off original price).
Four of them were black and the other one was silver so I knew I’d definitely be painting them to match. After a coat of Clean Metal spray primer* and a few thin coats of my favorite gold spray paint*, they were ready to go up…right after I also spray painted the screws that would hold them up since they would be visible. Sticking the ends into a diaper box and then spraying them from the top ensured I didn’t gunk up the threaded parts with paint.
The Wood Planks
We bought two large pieces of wood at Home Depot and had them cut-to-size in store to make the shelves. (I think the wood was called common board. I don’t remember the actual type of wood. Sorry! Next time I’m there I’ll look and update the post.) The two bottom shelves were cut from one piece of wood and the top shelf plus a matching extra shelf we have were also cut from one larger piece. Home Depot makes the first two cuts of any piece of wood you buy for free so we paid zip for the cuts and (bonus!) didn’t have to do it ourselves! We wanted to keep them au naturale but I did brush two coats of Polycrylic over the top of each piece to protect them and so I could clean them without ruining them.
After we got them up, we had major doubts about leaving them void of stain. They just looked really unfinished and hastily hung. I reached out to my Insta and Facebook friends the second we got them up, eager for favorite stain colors, and I got lots of ideas in return (thank you!!). Before we stained them though, we decided to just live with them unstained for a few days to make sure we didn’t like them and whaddya know? They grew on us and we decided not to stain after all!
We hung the shelves so that they butted right up to the brick of the chimney. The plan is to eventually move the cable box, modem, and blu-ray player onto the shelves so we wanted them as close to the television as possible. And we wanted to give them a built-in feel…does that sound like crazy talk? Probably. My heart longs for built-ins and this is as close as I’ll probably get in this house.
Their placement will make a little more sense a few paragraphs down. For those of you who want technical details though, the shelves themselves are 8 inches deep. Each bracket is screwed into a wall stud and so, since the closest wall stud to the chimney was 14 inches out, there is 14 inches of wood shelf extending out from the end brackets with 16” in between each bracket since that’s the distance between the wall studs. Also, there is about 15 inches from the top of one shelf to the bottom of the other vertically. Make sense?
Currently, they’re filled with a bunch of stuff that will probably get moved around. I just wanted to get them up and running for this post. There are a lot of browns and golds going on, which isn’t bad, but I’m wanting to incorporate more beachy hues kind of like in the hutch opposite the room. Of course all the books on this shelf will be actual books that we read vs. thrift store books just bought for the color of their bindings so I won’t be able to “decorate” with books this time around.
Bottom shelf: the JESUS plaque was made by my grandfather-in-law, the vase/upside-down light fixture was thrifted, the leaves are from the hydrangea plant in the backyard and wilted five minutes after this shot, the Mary statue was thrifted, and those books were thrifted and will be turned into a modem-hiding contraption soon.
Second shelf: the close pin vase on the left was something made by my dad in his teens, the bramble ball-thing used to be a friend’s old topiary, and the gold vases were yard sale finds.
Top shelf: the yellow vase was a Kroger clearance find and the bottom is broken off but you’d never know, the mirror was a $3 Dirt Cheap find and the bottom of that is broken as well but you’d never know that either, the blue pot is a hand-me-down, and the clear vase was a Gabe’s find back in the day.
Between the brackets, the spray paint, and the wood, this whole shelving unit/thing cost us a little over $40. But, that includes the extra shelf and three brackets we have that we’re going to sell to bring the total of this project down another $15-20.
Way back when the girls were infants, I enlisted photoshopping to visualize what I wanted for this big, blank wall. Shelves close to the chimney with a frame collage to the left, balancing the whole thing out.
Then we moved the living room furniture around and our infants grew to toddlers and I realized how foolish it was to think we could get away with having shelves that low with lots of non-toddler stuff on them.
These three frames over the couch to balance out the shelves and a “please let’s get rid of that awful mantel and build a big, chunky white one Anthony…pretty please”. He agreed…on the mantel, not the color. Details to be worked out later. I know the photoshopping is real bad but if you squint, it’ll look better. :)
I can’t promise a diy mantel post any time soon but it’s on the assembly line, complete with a hidden compartment on the left side to house cable wires.
I can’t wait.
. . .