26 April 2010

Custom Shelving vs Pre-made

I'm big on built-ins when it comes to decorating your home.  Not only will you get the results/function you need, you will always come out in the end with a more "high-end" look.  Example: Shelving.  The convenience of pre-made, store-bought shelving is undeniable and you usually get it at a great price.  But depending on the application that might not be the best choice.  Sure it takes a little more work to make custom shelving, but overall, it's really pretty simple.

In my own bedroom I have a mixture of both custom and pre-made shelving.  One of my biggest tips in home decorating: LET THE ARCHITECTURE DICTATE THE SOLUTION.  In other words, if you have some defining architectural detail, don't fight it, use it! 

I live in a contemporary loft so exposed concrete posts are a defining characteristic of my home decor (and I absolutely LOVE them, by the way).  Instead of ignoring the post in my bedroom, I used it to my advantage.  Perfect solution: built-in shelf for some books and other decorative items.

This space between my concrete post and the wall is over 7 feet long... try finding a pre-made shelf that even comes close to that length!  I thought about layering multiple floating shelves, but in the end decided that I just couldn't fight that post... it sticks out from the wall about 9 inches and a custom shelf butting up to it was the best solution.
 It did take a little more work, but not much!  Hardware stores like Lowe's and the Home Depot and happy to help with this simple DIY project.  If you purchase your wood at their store, they will usually make a couple of cuts for free (or if they charge, it's usually about 75 cents per cut).  Knowing the size of the space you'll be fitting your shelf into is essential when you buy the wood!  They make the cuts and you take home pieces the perfect size for your space, without having to worry about using power tools at home (I am NOT a power tool kind of gal!!)

The only labor I did in this project was putting 2 coats of paint on the shelf and mounting the brackets to the wall and shelf.  The project took me about half a day and I spent less than $50.  The result is a great looking shelf that is completely custom to the space.

On the opposite wall in the bedroom, it was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of store-bought shelving.  This blank wall doesn't have any defining architectural details so a regular floating shelf was exactly what I was looking for in this case.
On another note, the mix of contemporary floating shelves with more traditional bracket shelves adds to my eclectic look.  And please disregard all of the empty picture frames... I'm working on that :)