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DIY Modern Wall Shelves

My husband claimed a spare bedroom as a “man cave.” There was nothing manly about the room. It was more like a storage room until recently – I got tired of looking at the clutter, so I decided to install some shelves.

What I originally wanted was the String shelving unit to cover the entire wall. I had searched eBay for a while for a vintage kind and found some, but they were more than I could afford. The reproduction ones were not affordable either. It seemed like DIY was the only option (once again).

string® system

string® system

I wanted something easy to build, affordable, and that hides HVAC pipe runs through the room – all under $500. Originally (back when the room was still pink), the HVAC pipe was hidden in the box built onto the shelving (top half of the photo below). We destroyed the box/shelving and painted the room. Now we were trying to hide the pipe wrapped in the duct tape (bottom half of the photo below).

What were they thinking?

What were they thinking?

I came across a perfect alternative on Atomic Ranch (Spring 2010 issue, page 60) which led me to the original article by Jess Chamberlin on Sunset Magazine website. Below is the “Easy Floating Shelves” designed by the architect Stephen Atkinson. You can also find intstructions in the article.

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Photo by Thomas J. Story

I simply modified the configuration to fit my husband’s needs and wants. Everything you need to build these shelves can be easily found at any home improvement centers (as long as they are in stock, of course…). The hardest part for me was to find the boards that were not warped. I literelly pulled all boards out of the shelves and had to inspect every single one of them (and still ended up with some warped ones).

Below is my version inspired by the Stephen Atkinson’s design.

Materials:
1″ thick (actual thickness is ¾”) furniture grade pine board in various length (I used mostly 1″ x 8′ boards) for shelves
1″ x 3″ pine board for trim to be attached to the front of the helves
Double track shelf standards (slotted vertical pieces)
Shelf brackets for double track shelf standards
Screws
Wood glue
Wood conditioner
Stain

Tools:
Stud finder
Saw
Screw Driver
Nail gun
Air Compressor
Sander
Wood filler
Brushes
Rag

How to:
1. Measure and configure the shelves to fit your needs
2. Locate studs with a stud finder and attach the shelf standards on studs- I attached them 16″ apart (on every stud), because I knew we would be putting a lot of books. If 16″ apart feels overkill to you, you can place them every 32″ apart.
3. Prep shelves (cut, attach trim with wood glue and 2″ finishing nails, fill holes with wood fiiler, sand, stain, etc.)
4. Place shelves onto the brackets and screw to a bracket for stability.
5. Decorate shelves with lovely things and admire your accomplishment.

Shelves in progress

Shelves in progress

Ready to decorate!

Ready to decorate!

Other end

Other end

My husband was happy to have his man cave decorated with mostly geeky things and I was happy to find an excuse to buy a nail gun.

infamous pink room (when we moved in)

Before – infamous pink room

DIY Modern Wall Shelves

After – shelves are now filled with geeky things!

underneath of the shelves

underneath of the shelves

corner detail - should've sanded more carefully...

corner detail – should’ve sanded more carefully…

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One response so far

One Response to “DIY Modern Wall Shelves”

  1. Saraon 15 Feb 2016 at 11:34 am

    I love this project! I’m curious – what color did you paint the walls? It’s fab!

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