One thing we miss so much from our last house was the floor to ceiling bookshelves we had built into our living room. We own lots of books, so having storage for them is important. But also, as a child who grew up loving Beauty and the Beast, big bookshelves will always have my heart. There’s just something so cozy about them to me!
Anyway, we moved. And I love our new house, but there was no wall of built-in bookshelves waiting for us. I didn’t want our books just sitting inside moving boxes for months while we figured out what we wanted to do with them. So I unpacked them and put them onto two small bookshelves that we had inherited from the studio house. Since they were free to us, I wasn’t going to complain, but they certainly looked temporary as they weren’t large enough to hold all our books and they just didn’t fill out the space at all.
First I started shopping online, but everything I found either felt a little too generic or was a little more pricey than I wanted to spend. Trey suggested we just build something that we liked, and so then we started sketching out a few ideas.
We both ended up liking this kind of open-shelving meets a diamond shape idea. So, we went for it.
Here’s all the books after I moved them off those shelves so we could measure and plan. At this point I was worried that maybe our idea wouldn’t end up holding all the books. I figured I could always distribute them to other areas around the house, but I kept my fingers crossed that we’d be able to fit them all in this one spot.
If you are going to create a similar project, you will likely want to change up the measurements some. We built this to fit well on our wall, which is about 9ft tall and 8ft wide (to the steps). If your wall is smaller or larger, you’ll likely want to adjust so it visually fits your space. One thing that helped us was using tape to mark where the shelves would go. This let us look to make sure we were happy with the size before we ever bought any supplies.
-one 1×10-6ft board
-two 1×10-4ft and 3.5 inch boards
-two 1×10-2ft and 7.5 inch boards
-two 1×10-1ft boards
-12 (or 13*) 8″ x 10″ shelf brackets
-4 3″ x 3″ angle framing anchors
-drywall screws with wall anchors
-white spray paint
-power saw (if cutting the boards yourself)
*We bought 13 brackets. You can see where we planned to place them from the small pieces of tape in the photo above. We ended up only using two brackets on the center shelf, but we’re going to wait a few months to see if it bows any. If it does, we may add that last bracket.
Altogether this project cost about $120 and took us two days to install. We could have easily done the entire project in one day, but we split it up into a Saturday and Sunday project because we had other stuff to do that weekend. 🙂
Step One: Cut your shelves to the size you need. In the supply list I’ve indicated the final sizes of the all the shelves we installed. We actually bought two long boards and cut the shelves to the sizes we needed as this made the project more economical for us. But you could also have your hardware store cut the boards for you.
Step Two: If any of the brackets or framing anchors aren’t the color of your wall, spray paint them. Our wall is white and the framing anchors only came in steel (the brackets could be purchased white). So I spray painted those before we installed.
Step Three: Install your shelves. Be sure to use a level to make sure you get them perfectly straight. Since the brackets are in a specific design, mimicking the diamond shape, we knew we likely would not get to install them all on studs. So we used wall anchors when needed. Well, really Trey did. He did most of this part. Which is for the best because I am notorious for “eye-balling” things. So when levels are needed, I am not always the best person for the job. Ha!
We left our boards raw as we already have some other raw wood looking pieces in the room, but you could easily stain or paint them if you wanted a different look. After that, just add your books and knick knacks and enjoy. I found that all our books DO fit on our new shelves, so that’s awesome. It does make the shelves fairly full, but I like that look, so I’m fine with it. 🙂 Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma
Credits // Authors: Emma Chapman and Trey George. Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.