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How to make a modern shelving system

April Kennedy April Kennedy
minimalist  by Vanpey, Minimalist
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One of the first DIY projects most home decorators tackle is the simple and ubiquitous modern home shelving system. It's a great start because modern shelving and simple DIY shelves add an uncluttered look to your home. They can also be as simple as you like.

But there are a few very important issues to consider when building your own modern shelving or storage system. Doing some research and taking a very considered approach is really important. There's many a home decorator who has wasted money and time on a system that looks amateurish, sags or completely collapses. This isn't just unsightly it's also dangerous when you are storing heavy objects and have small children around.

These issues are entirely avoidable with a little forethought. With creative planning you can very easily have a really lovely unique modern shelving unit. So keep reading for a simple guide to creating your own modern shelving system. Enjoy!

Plan your design and think minimally

The home decorator is truly blessed when you consider that the most modern shelving designs are often the most striking and easy to construct. Try not to get too complicated when you consider your design. Mark out the areas you have to work with and then sketch out a few possibilities. Just look at how simply this standing storage unit has been created with a hanging light and a few shelves.

Integrate pre-made items

scandinavian  by Prettypegs, Scandinavian

Prettypegs—Shoe your furniture!


There's something so earthy and pleasurable about being able to say you created something from scratch. But the DIY desire and can-do attitude shouldn't prevent you from entertaining the possibility of integrating some pre-made items into your design. This beautiful little box on the left here is very simple to construct. But the real polish and fun comes from the lovely blue legs. Prettypegs design a whole range of replaceable furniture that can be ordered online and simply screwed onto a whole range of objects. But this isn't the only option, look at upcycling and combining decorative pieces from older furniture as well.

Prepare your materials

There's an old adage that handymen and carpenters often use, and that's 'measure twice and cut once'. It's all too easy to rush into a DIY project and make a fatal mistake. If you find it difficult to visualise the final piece, cut out some pieces of paper and arrange them on the floor or wall to get a sense of how the final product will look. 

Consider the support system

The most common problem with DIY shelving is that the support system is inadequate. The safest approach is to install laddered shelf supports or brackets that support the shelf from beneath. Of course, it's always important to check the placement of wiring and piping before drilling into walls. But if you want floating shelves without any visible support system, you'll need to make a note of the material used in your walls and talk to your local hardware supplier for advice. In general, it's best to drill holes into the wall two-thirds the width of your shelf, inject resin into the drilled holes and supporting rods. When the resin has set, rest the shelves onto the rods.

Add a little polish with some recessed strip lights

It can be a little exhausting to build your own modern shelving unit, but it's well worth taking the time to add that extra polish. If your brackets are visible, small white plastic covers can be purchased for a small price. Finally, seriously consider adding some strip lights. They are very environmentally friendly and add a very spectacular effect. For a lovely diffuse effect, conceal the strip lights from view so the light bounces around the space.

If you are interested in shelving ideas, you'll love this Ideabook How to build a bookcase into your bed.

What do you think of the modern shelving units we've shown you here today? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments field below.
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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