Building DIY Plumbing Pipe Shelves in My Dining Room

We've seen more than a few posts featuring DIY plumbing pipe shelves around here and I have been trying to think of a way to incorporate it into my own home for the past year or so. I recently switched around my rooms and ended up with a blank wall surrounding a radiator and that seemed like as good of place as any to finally take on the project myself!The first post about plumbing pipe shelving that really got my attention was way back in 2009 – Morgan's DIY Plumbing Pipe Shelving. I will be forever indebted to Morgan and her blog, Brick House, for her insightful, detailed post about how she put together her shelves. Without her post I don’t know if I would have ever figured out the details of how to DIY this unit on my own. Even with her post as a guide, my project still required numerous trips to the hardware store, including one last minute trip when my measurements turned out to be a little off. Although, granted, the repeated trips weren’t entirely my fault. One trip to Home Depot was quickly aborted when I learned that the machine that cuts the metal pipes was out of order.

When I had finally collected all the components I needed for the shelves, I set out prepping the area where they were to be installed. (Rather than list the components for the shelves here, I'll refer you back to Morgan's comprehensive how-to post.) Thank God we had the foresight to paint the radiator before we assembled the shelves. For anyone who has never painted a radiator let me just report that it is a pain in the neck to get into all the nooks and crannies! Also, high heat paint is stinky so open all the windows! We stained and drilled the holes for the pipes in the 1” x 12” pine planks that we would be using for the shelves and washed the greasy residue off all the pipes while the radiator paint dried overnight.

With the radiator painted and all the components prepped, it was finally time to start building the shelves. As Morgan at Brick House reported, measuring and planning were the lion’s share of the work for this project, putting it together was the easy part. Still, it’s definitely a two person job and I’m grateful my husband was home to assist.

Basically erecting the shelves was like working with Legos or Lincoln Logs. We screwed together the base, laid a shelf on top of it, screwed together the next level of pipes, laid the next shelf, and so on until we reached the top. Once we had the entire unit pieced together, we straightened it out and then screwed the flanges to the floor at the base and to the wall at the top.

I’m absolutely giddy with the way the shelves turned out. They have a stunning visual impact and, because we went almost to the ceiling with them, make the walls, and thereby the room, seem taller. While I had never thought much about the radiator before, it looks amazing painted black. And surrounded by the black pipes and dark stained shelves, it recedes into the shelving.

Images: Jason Loper

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