Do You Love Unique and Beautiful Custom Shelves?

Our semi custom home has been a lot of fun to make our own. There have been a lot of changes to spaces. Some changes have been one and done and some are works in progress. Meaning I didn’t get the result I was after so it required a little more attention. I also get tired of things faster then I should.

Our office shelves is one of the first projects we worked on. I considered doing straight horizontal shelve. The size of the opening dictated the size we were building which was very tall and pretty wide. I also wanted something creative and unique.

I was able to create the uniqueness by staggering the shelves making different sized boxes and shelving units. The purpose of these shelves was to house books but also display favorite items.

Building the Shelves

The first step in this project was measuring the space. I then thought I’d try to sketch out the shelves so we had an idea of dimensions and lengths. Trust me when I say I’m not an artist but I figured I could draw straight lines on graph paper. This is something I’ve done before but for whatever reason ended up being easier said then done.

So I scratch trying to make a pattern and figured we’d just wing it. We built the initial frame of the shelves then got busy creating the uniqueness. Since I was winging it I created in sections. With a tape measure in hand I would tell Monte how high and wide I wanted the section then would lay out shelving so it was appealing to the eye.

We initially thought we’d build it on the drive way and move it inside when it was almost complete. Wouldn’t you know the walls weren’t square so it wasn’t working or fitting properly which meant we had to bang it apart and start over.

Trying again

A lot of DIY is trial and error. Unfortunately we can’t make it through life without making mistakes and trying again and sometime again. We had a solid plan just had to adjust our initial strategy.

Once we decided to build it in place we followed the same procedure. Building in sections and then make the shelves look appealing to my eye. That may be a little weird but that is how I work. I really need to see it to know if it’s what I want.

Purpose of the Shelves

We had a collection of books and pictures I really wanted to display on the shelves. I had an idea about what I wanted so that really helped me create functional shelves. My hope was to end up with something stylish and unique but also function well in the space.

Working in sections

I didn’t plan to work in sections but as we got it framed I realized what I was picturing in my head were different sections. Creating the sections made the building process a lot easier. We would frame out the sections then I could figure out the shelves I was wanting.

custom shelves

I had Monte hold up the vertical board then add the longest horizontal board. I would then fill in the pieces. It looks a little crazy zoomed in like this but I wanted to give you an idea of how we got started.

Working in sections and without a drawn out plan meant I stood back and examined things. I didn’t want any of the smaller section shelves to line up so as I stood back and looked at the unit I could get an idea of where we were going with it.

Unfinished Look

custom shelves

It looks a bit like a tetris game. As a side note I was really good at tetris many years ago. I was a little worried that it was looking a little busy. With it not being painted it definitely stands out a little more then I hoped. I also wanted some variety in the sizes. My plan with this built in was to display some pictures, momentous and a storage spot for books.

Getting it Painted

I’m not going to lie it was a bit of a pain to paint. I thought about taping off the back wall but decided I would be better to free hand it and touch up if needed. There were a lot of corners to work around. I like to use a small sponge roller for these types of projects. I did us a brush to get in the corners but the roller works really well every where else.

custom shelves

I’m so happy with the way it looks now that it is painted. It’s still looking a little busy but I’m excited to get going on the styling. When I first filled up the shelves I was happy with it until I took a picture and saw how busy it looked so I’ve decided to scale back on what I display and be a little more intentional.

I also decided to do something super cute and cover all my books in brown paper. Not only will it make it look less busy but also more elegant. It wasn’t a hard job just time consuming.

I had seen the idea before but when I was visiting Magnolia Home store in Waco TX they had covered all the books in their display shelves. I was sold on the idea and got too it as soon as I found a free afternoon.

Covering the Books

covering your books
kraft paper covering your books

After cutting off a piece that would work for the book I folded down the edge of the paper then sat the book on top to get a size to cut the paper.

I found it useful to use the construction square. I would lay it down and draw a line then use scissors to cut the size needed.

kraft paper covering books

Once it was cut to size I’d fold it over to the size of the book. It was then a matter of folding it into the book.

folding kraft paper
covering your books

So simple but effective. I considered removing the book covers but decided for now to leave them on. Personal preference here but it would fold a nicer without the cover.

covering your books

This simple project that didn’t cost anything because I had a huge roll of butcher paper made a beautiful difference in the shelf display.

The Beautifully Styled Shelves

custom shelves

I am so happy with the way they turned out. They will continue to be a work in progress.

The cost for these shelves is about $200. The only expense was purchasing the wood. It is painted the same color as the baseboards and doors which I always have a can of.

custom shelves in an office
custom shelves in an office