Greg's Office

SEMI-DIY CUSTOM FLOATING SHELVES

Like Ashley posted on Monday, we spent last Saturday at our semi-local Ikea. Even though we ended up buying some other goods for the house (Who goes to Ikea and leaves with only the things on the list?), our main reason for making the 1.5-hour trip was to pick up six large floating shelves for my office. Since my office is going to have a bit of a modern bent to it, the clean lines and sharp contrast of the white floating shelves against the new dark grey walls is exactly what we want. So, here’s a picture of where we left off, after the new coat of paint:

We love the new wall color, but there’s no sense of height to the room, and the darker color is simply begging for something to balance it. Solution? Meet the wall of shelves:

Bam! Okay, so they’re still empty, but they completely change the look of the room. Everything has a more customized feel, which was really important to me when we went about figuring out what to do in this room. I didn’t want it to feel like we just went to Ikea and threw some furniture in the room. For any of you who were skeptical about the dark wall color, now you’ll see that the white and grey are starting to balance each other out a bit more. If you’re still not sold, we’ll be adding more color and contrast as we go on. The best part, though, is there’s tons of room up there for personal touches and pops of bold colors. I’m pretty much geeking out about the whole thing. I can’t wait for Ash and I to start filling them up. I’m definitely going to need her help–remember, she’s the creative one!

Here’s where we get to the boring part of the post — the “how we did it”. The first step was to measure how long we wanted the shelves. I made sure to leave a reasonable gap around the desk on all sides for cables, then took the measurement from the wall to the end of the desk. When we first started considering corner shelves around my desk, Ash couldn’t find the tape measure and ended up using a yard stick for the initial measurement. She was pretty sure that three of the 74″ Lack shelves and three of the 43″ were going to fit perfectly around the desk–no modifications necessary. Β When we went to get a final measurement to take along with us to Ikea, it turned out that we actually needed six of the 74″ shelves and were going to have to cut them all down by a few inches.

Ikea LACK shelves

The morning after our Ikea trip, we measured (and triple-measured) the right length on each shelf, then used a square to make a nice, straight line across the end. Then we put a piece of blue painters tape along the edge and scored the pencil mark with a utility knife.Β Scoring the paint, combined with the tape kept the paint from chipping and ultimately gave us a nice, clean edge. Once the shelves were all measured, taped, and scored, we cut each shelf using a circular saw and a slow, steady hand.Β In retrospect, I suppose the “proper tool” for this job would have been a miter saw, but I don’t have a fully-stocked New Yankee Workshop just yet.

Once we had all the shelves cut to length, we brought them inside to start the hanging process. The first three shelves (to the right of the desk) were pretty easy. When it came to the shelves on the left side of the desk… this is where I’d like to say we’re experts at this sort of thing and it only took us about 15 minutes, but that didn’t happen. It took a pretty good amount of trial and error because we had to line up the left-hand shelves perfectly with the shelves on the right, and the walls aren’t completely straight. That being the case, when we used our “exact measurements”, the shelves weren’t perfectly square or level. So we did what any self-respecting DIY’er would do and “eyeballed it”, which led to about 6 unwanted holes in the wall. Luckily, the final placement of the shelves covered the holes, so we didn’t have to do any patching. But I still know they’re there. If I had this to do over, I’d have hung the first shelf bracket, then used a laser level to hang another bracket on the adjacent wall at the same height. Then, all there is to do is measure up from there.

As for the space between each shelf, we measured what we think will be one of the tallest things we have – which happens to be the Tardis Ash bought me last week. Reason number 4,302 I love her. Yep, it even lights up and makes the signature Tardis sound when you open and close the top. Coming in at just under 10.5″, we made sure to have 11.75″ clearance for each shelf.

We wanted the shelves to be able to hold whatever we decided to put on them. Even though we aren’t sure what’s going on them quite yet, we didn’t want to have to worry about the 18-pound weight limit. On top of that, on the other side of the walls are the hallway and foyer. Let’s say, for instance, we’re moving a piece of furniture down the hallway and we accidentally bump the wall pretty hard. We wouldn’t want the shelf falling down, taking everything on it along for the ride. With that in mind, we decided each shelf needed to be attached securely to at least two studs. The pre-drilled holes in the bracket didn’t line up perfectly with our studs, so we marked each stud, drilled holes straight through the bracket into the wall, then drove three-inch pan head screws through the new holes. We also used drywall anchors for the pre-drilled holes at the ends of the brackets. I’m pretty sure these shelves would last through (another) earthquake.

The shelves are now the cornerstone for the placement and design of everything else in the room. Now we can start filling them up, hanging guitars, and adorn the room with wall art. I’m really excited to get a brainstorming session happening with Ashley to figure out how we’re going to finish things up. In the mean time… we have some shelves to fill.

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34 Comments

  • Reply
    Kelly C.
    September 26, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Love!!

  • Reply
    Christina @ Homemade Ocean
    September 26, 2012 at 10:58 am

    So awesome, and a great way to add storage if you throw some baskets on those shelves! I’m digging them for sure πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Brandi @ His Shabby Her Chic
    September 26, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I really love the dark and moody color you painted the office. And you guys are right, it doesn’t look dark in there. It’s just a bright room painted a dark color.

    The shelves look great! I love the Tardis. And I can’t wait to see how Ashley decorates them.

  • Reply
    Margaret R
    September 26, 2012 at 11:16 am

    How did you handle the corners?

    • Reply
      Greg
      September 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      We decided to just cut the right-hand shelves straight across the end so that they would fit right up against the corner, then we cut the left shelves so that the unfinished end would be able to sit right next to the front edge of the other shelf. Hopefully that makes sense. If you look at Ashley’s drawing in the post, you can see what I mean.

  • Reply
    Heather @ AccomplishingDreams
    September 26, 2012 at 11:20 am

    That room is coming together so nicely. Love that dark color and can’t wait to see what else you add to the walls in here!

  • Reply
    Heather T.
    September 26, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Looks great. I love that dark, moody color on the walls. The shelves are such a great addition. We’re putting up shelves like that in our office actually. But we’ve had them for months and months, and I’m not entirely sure when we’ll get around to it. Hopefully soon!

    And I need to say that the Tardis is probably one of my favorite things in there! Geronimo!

  • Reply
    Kylie
    September 26, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I’ve been craving a dark wall like that but I’m so in love with white that I’m scared to make the jump!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      September 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Jump! It’s good on the dark side ; )

  • Reply
    Kristen | Popcorn on the Stove
    September 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    The shelves look great – they completely change the look of the room! Can’t wait to see them all filled up!

  • Reply
    Beth @ BAndBBuildALife.com
    September 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    They look so clean and add a great depth to the room! It is infuriating that the ikea shelves NEVER match up to builder’s standard stud distances. Good idea drilling right through. Can’t wait to see how you fully style them!

  • Reply
    Kate S.
    September 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I’m increasingly interested to see where you take this room. I liked the plans, but right now it has a distinctly dorm-room vibe that I wouldn’t think matches the rest of your aesthetic. Excited for the rest!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    September 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Looks amazing! Great job with cutting down the shelves and joining them at the corners. But do remember that the 18lb limit doesn’t only depend on how they are fastened, but also the rods that are inside the shelves. If you pile books and heavy objects onto them they *will* bend, angle, and fall down slowly until you have a big pile on the floor (or, heaven forbid, your head!) so be careful with what you load up there πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Courtney
    September 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    The office is really coming together! I love the gray with pops of bright white and color. I’m switching a guest room over to be an office very soon, so you guys are giving me muchos inspiration!!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    September 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Those look so great – I love how they turn the corner!

  • Reply
    Ash @ HumberHomeProject
    September 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    The shelves look great! Love them wrapping around the corner.
    They look awesome with the desk – very sleek and streamlined πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Megan
    September 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Is crown molding in this room’s future? It almost looks like you guys could get away with a bold pattern on the ceiling πŸ™‚

    I love the color with the dark floors and the abacus!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      September 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      Crown molding is something we’ve been going back and forth on for this room. The verdict is still out though, haha.

  • Reply
    Jen
    September 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

    WOW, the shelves make such an impact. Love how they really contrast with the beautiful, I mean manly, walls!

    I am excited to see more!!

    xo,
    Jen

  • Reply
    Liz
    September 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I just had to comment on your blog. It’s great that both you and your husband share info. Also, if I don’t mention it my daughter will be upset, Doctor Who Rocks!!!!!! It is the best show out there & I love the cookie jar. We surprised my daughter before her bday & when the premiere was here in NY we went to see them. I wish I couldn’t gotten their autograph for her, but my husband took tons of pics. I love the gray in your office and the Tardis looks great. Take care.

  • Reply
    Debra
    October 3, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Love your room! The shelves look great. Just wondering, is there a limit to how much you can cut off the Lack shelves? We want to use them but the sizing isn’t right. Thanks πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Ashley
      October 3, 2012 at 9:46 am

      There’s about 8″ between the end of the shelf and the metal bracket. As long as you don’t hit that, you’re good to go. If you’re looking for small shelves, check out this post where we did “tiny” floating shelves where we actually cut the metal bracket. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Shauna
    October 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I love how this room is coming together! Would love an update as I’m contemplating doing something similar in my living room. I realize that this is not a 30-minute HGTV transformation, but I’m dying to see the shelves all styled and pretty.

  • Reply
    Kali
    October 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    This reminds me of my old office. I did the exact same thing and loved it. It really is easy to put up as well. Then, the results are limitless adding your own personal touches to it. I love having a neutral room with a pop of color in the decorative pieces. My bedroom is this same dark gray color. It is so much easier to add pops of color around the room than to change the wall color. Love this!

  • Reply
    Kristin
    April 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    can you tell me your paint color? i painted a room intending to look like yours… looks purple. i need a good solid gray without a purple tone!!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      It’s Seal by Martha Stewart – and we loooove the color. It’s a very solid, non-purple gray.

  • Reply
    Danielle
    August 26, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I love this whole look! For starters, where did you get the desk from? I love it!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      Thanks! It’s from Ikea.

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    January 11, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Love the color scheme here!!! What color and type of paint did you use for the walls and what color and type is the dark hardwood floors? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      January 11, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      Thanks! The walls are Martha Stewart’s Seal in flat finish. The hardwood floors are Minwax’s Dark Walnut with a semi-gloss finish. There are a ton more posts about the floors on the project page. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Dan
    February 8, 2016 at 1:50 am

    Thanks for fantastic info and love the White Galant Corner Desk~

  • Reply
    Scott
    July 4, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Hi. Does cutting the shelves compromise the shelf’s strength at all?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 4, 2016 at 12:12 am

      In our case, it didn’t. But that would totally depend on your materials, wall, etc. Also, we don’t place super heavy things on the shelves.

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