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. 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.
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. 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. 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.