Any kind of shelving will add to the storage capacity of any room, but decorative shelving has the ability to add great style along with improved function. Floor-to-ceiling shelving, in particular, can make a grand statement that mimics the look of craftsman constructed built-in shelving and it can add a lot of character and charm to a room. Shelving materials are very affordable and if you have basic woodworking skills, adding the look of custom-made built-in shelving to your home can add to its value and appeal.
Deciding Where to Put Floor-to-Ceiling Shelving
Nearly any room can benefit from the addition of floor-to-ceiling shelving. In a home office or library it’s usefulness to hold books, magazines and office supplies is obvious; ditto for a craft room or sewing room. In a kitchen, floor-to-ceiling shelving offers a treasure trove of storage space for cookware, cookbooks and dishware and adds a charming retro or cottage feeling. In a dining room floor-to-ceiling shelves provide a place to show off your vintage dishes and tuck away linens and other essentials in pretty fabric covered boxes or woven baskets; or may install doors over lower shelves. In a family room or living room they can be used to hold books, framed photos and art, magazines, decorative accessories and even be designed to function as an entertainment unit for the TV and other electronic components. Floor-to-ceiling shelves in a bedroom provide a place to display accessories and collectibles as well as books, framed photos and artwork and in the bathroom a narrow shelving unit adds storage space for folded towels, baskets of toiletries, candles and decorative accents.
Designing the Shelves
After you’ve decided where to place the shelves, take careful measurements of the height and width of the space. Decide whether you want to build the shelves yourself or purchase a ready-made unit; ready made units run the price gamut from affordable to expensive depending on the material and finished quality of the unit. If you are going the DIY route, decide if you want a framed cabinet of shelves or if you want to mount shelves directly to the wall. Open floating shelves on the wall create a clean modern look and there are many sources for finished shelves that are ready to hang on the wall. The size, trim, finish and material will determine the price of ready made shelves. Whether you build wall shelves or purchase them be sure to securely mount them to the wall by finding a stud to hold at least one end of the shelves and use toggle anchor bolts if there is no stud at the other end.
Think about how you will use your shelves to determine the size you’ll need. If you are building shelves for a library, your book collection will grow over time and you’ll need shelves to accommodate that future growth. In a dining room, the size will be dictated more by the available space in the room and you can edit what you choose to display from time to time.
Considerations when Building Shelves
Choose hardwoods like cherry, oak, walnut or maple for sturdy, durable sturdy shelves. Use a center support for shelves longer than 36 inches to keep them from sagging. Kits and plans for shelving units can be found online and in woodworking books. Finish with trim options like crown molding or fluted edges that make your shelving unit as elegant as you please.