Hi, I just moved to a small apartment in Park Slope with adjustable shelving in the living room. We do have a lot of books, but would like a better, prettier solution to what is currently up. Can you help — I need ideas! Thanks, Elizabeth
(Note: Include a pic of your problem and your question gets posted first. Email questions and pics with QUESTIONS in subject line to: newyork(at)apartmenttherapy(dot)com)Who has ideas for Elizabeth?
Thicker, nicer wood for the shelves in a darker stain?
What's your money and/or time budget for this project? A quick and easy DIY approach would be to line the wall behind the shelves with some appealing wallpaper/fabric ... maybe paint or stain the shelves (could even treat all the same so the shelves would "disappear" into the background) ... but if you wanted to spend more money there are tons of pre-made alternatives out there (have you searched AT's archives?) that would serve the same purpose in the same space...
Are you keeping the brick wall white? Are you on a tight budget? If so, your best bet would probably be to paint the shelves white so they blend into the wall and the books (and other objects you put on the shelves) become the focus. Or, even better, paint the shelves a bold color that matches or complements your living room furniture.If you have money to spend, then by all means remove the industrial tracks and get a local carpenter to install built-in bookshelves, which would look beautiful and also make best use of floor-to-ceiling storage.BTW, I'm jealous: Park Slope, a fireplace and brick walls... if only... OK, fantasy time done. Good luck in your new place!
if you have money, custom bookshelves on either side, nice mantle/shelf over fireplace, and either nice tv or some great Art.If you have no money, welcome to the club, IKEA shelving units, they have lots of options, no mantle/shelf, and some DIY art over fireplace
You can paint those and they would look nice. Do what the others are saying and use some paper in the backdrop.If you want to be even more bold, you can give them some texture with glued-on shelves, fabric, decoupage (my Memorial Day Weekend project!!!), or something else. Be creative, play around with it I say.
While this solution is not well suited for large quantities of books, It may give you the 'prettier solution' that you are looking for:http://maydecemberhome.blogspot.com/2009/05/invisible-bookshelves.htmlThere are also many other sources for this type of do-it-yourself 'floating' or 'invisible' bookshelf.
I would paint that fireplace white, hang a nice painting over it (in a nice frame) and put two white bookshelves on either side. Or, some silver industrial shelving.
I'd remove the shelves and hardware from above the fireplace - They just don't belong there.For the others, I'd take the existing boards and trim them out w/ 2" MDF strips along the front and sides so that they appear thicker and give them more strength and paint them white to match your brick walls. If they aren't already, cut notches in the back to accommodate the vertical rails so that they fit flush against the back wall.I'd also paint the black brick white to match the rest of the wall, put a nice big large round silver-framed mirror above the fireplace, and a pair of matching credenzas on the floor in the niches below your shelves.
If you want to keep the shelving, I'd remove the shelving on the fireplace, make sure the shelves were symmetrical, add a strip of wood to the front of the existing shelves so they look fatter, and add some closed cabinets below. Your books will hide the industrial brackets and the whole thing will look more cohesive.I don't mind the shelves now but the ones on top of the fireplace really detract from it's loveliness.
I'd paint the brackets and supports white, probably the shelf boards, too, although they might look good dark. I'd remove the supports over the fireplace and add an IKEA Lack shelf (actually I really did that in my house. They make nice mantles.)If you want to beef the shelves up, you could nail strips of wood (lattice? what are those thin strips called??) along the fronts of the shelves before painting or staining them. Hang art or a mirror over the fireplace. Put furniture or more shelves to the floor under the existing sections. (Or maybe big plants). Once you fill the shelves with books and ornaments (arranged artfully, of course) they will seem much prettier than they do naked.
The Duraflame logs are worrisome. That doesn't appear to be a usable fireplace. Eek.It's begging for symmetry, and a mantle of some sort.You could consider salvaging some hollow core doors as a sort of slipcover over the unattractive existing shelves. Paint them to match the walls. Easy and inexpensive.As for paint, I'd choose two tones similar in value... one with a little sheen for the fp either a shade lighter or darker than the wall color. Washable flat to tie together the new shelves, the brickface flanking the fp, and walls. Please, lose the black entirely. It makes no sense to see it painted like that.A balanced (not necessarily matching) pair of reading chairs suited to your body types (assuming this is a real "WE"...) flanking the hearth, a substantial ottoman to share and hold a snack, and a pair of reading lamps. Art over the fireplace to reflect your interests. Goodbye ceiling fan, hello low wattage spotlight or pretty pendant.You will have yourself a lovely library, lady.
I agree about removing the shelves over the fireplace, thickening the edges with molding, and painting the shelves white (or offwhite). You could also add another shelf to the one on the right and make the top shelf as long as the others, generally making the two sides symmatrical. When loaded you won't be able to see the standards.Those kind of shelves provide a lot of support and are very useful for books. It's nice, too, to have some room beneath for cabinets.
do what bepsf said. it'll be great. Slope is wonderful, enjoy.
I agree with the other posters. Remove the shelving above the fireplace. When you repaint, paint the shelving in the same color. The brackets will disappear behind the books.You could also install some little Ikea bookshelf spots (they come in sets of two) and run the wire along the corner of the wall.I would also recommend changing the ceiling fan--the landlord wouldn't mind I'll bet.
Get rid of what you have on the walls now, sorry, but they are dreadful. Ikea is a good place to start. You can get adjustable shelves units in any size and they could be combined. If they could be floor to ceiling would be awesome.It could be open shelves or maybe a combination of shelves and door units. Here is where the fun starts. The back of the units could be painted in a strong contrasting color. If they are white, use an intense color. If they are dark, a cool modern color like light green, orange, you get my point. Look around the stuff you're bringing to the room, it would be best if you can choose a good color from within the palette you have. The other thing you can do to bring character is to glue narrow mouldings to the shelves borders and crown moulding on top. It'll look custom made at a fraction. For above the fireplace go wild with something big, artwork, a mask, something ethnic, who knows....
I must agree with the others about removing those shelves. They cheapen the look of what could be a fantastic room. You could put in 2 bookcases, flanking the fireplace or keep the wood shelves, install wood brackets and just have a very clean look of wood shelves from floor to ceiling. No, they're not adjustable, but they allow the focus to remain on the fireplace. That black paint is throwing me off.....
Hanging shelves are actually really nice for larger collections: they alleviate the weight of all those books.I agree with bepsf, but I would lower the shelves a little to human scale, rather than placing credenzas. One more shelf on the bottom, one less at the top, SYMMETRICAL layouts on both sides, and you're gonna have a beautiful setup once all the books are in. Good luck!!
Definitely take the shelves above the fireplace down and paint the black light gray or another lighter tone (including the detail just above it).You might consider something like the customized RAKKS suspension shelves (with cabinets below) sold by The Shelf Shop in Manhattan (http://www.shelfshop.com/gallery.htm). They are handsome, and you could take them with you when you move. They would also frame the fireplace to make it seem less like it's sticking out into the room, and you could avoid installing anything in the masonry, which is hard.
Kitset storage cubes! Before you put them together put some pretty paper or a nice paint colour on the back panel to create a funky look. Buy kitset shelving units if you want a larger space (like for a lamp or something, just leave some shelves out) and just stack and screw them all together in a way that works with your stuff.
I've got this exact same layout in my lounge room! I've used forsted glass shelves instead of wooden ones in the alcoves, and I have a very large Gilda canvas print above the fireplace. Above each alcove are recessed lights in the ceiling, and when their on, they shine all the way through each of the shelves. You'd have to check how much weight you can put on each glass shelf, as mine have got things like paintings I've done and wine glasses... though I'd imagine thicker glass would take more weight...
Simple solution: fill those shelves with so many books you cannot even see the adjustable metal bits.Also, Martha Stewart once did an article that included ideas for adjustable shelving. It suggested camouflaging the hardware in the back by painting it the same color as the wall and making the shelves themselves look a bit more substantial with wider trim pieces on all sides (which will also hide the metal brackets).
Ah, the affordable solution to all things shelving: IKEA. Billy bookcases to be specific ; then paint/decorate/ fill them to your hearts desire.You can get a mantle shelf at someplace like Home Depot or Lowe's near the lumber area, but it would be fun and cool to go to a salvage place and find something suitable.
I'm on a 'recession budget' this would be my plan. Those shelves look like real wood, I'd stain them darker, then paint the brackets the same color as the wall. Take down that one random shelf above the fireplace, it looks silly. And try to find a real mantel instead.But if you have real money decide to install something new either hire someone who knows what they are doing, or do a lot of research before screwing things into brick. You need the right kind of screws and the right amount of torque or you'll ruin your walls and your tools.
Remove the shelves and buy Ikea Billy bookcases. They are surprisingly sturdy. And you can use a pop of color on the back of the bookcases with fabric, wallpaper or paint.
Paint them white or stain them dark...don't listen to those saying ikea, ikea, ikea. I wouldn't lose them since they are very valuable storage space.
The slope is great.I agree with many of the comments above. Here are some additional thoughts.1. The shelves will essentially disappear when you load them with books. If you have enough to fill all the shelf-space, there shouldn't be any visual issues. This is the cheapest ($0) solution.2. Is symmetry really that important? Maybe try having shelves on 1 side and not the other (?). I would put shelves on the far side and leave the window side free for whatever.3. Paint the black portion white.4. Remove the shelf and hardware above the fireplace.Good luck!
In my old apt, I had essentially the same solution and didn't mind how it looked: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ooh_food/1355482235/in/set-72157601950420297/I would replace that top shelf with one that's appropriately sized. If you don't think you can fill the shelves entirely (essentially causing the shelf itself to disappear) then take down one side. The symmetry won't matter much.It really is a very valuable space-saving setup. If you want to make it disappear more, paint the shelves or use nicer (or double thickness) boards.
Oh, and I would remove the center shelf and replace with a large mirror or art piece.
1) Paint hardware and shelves all same color as white walls2) If you can afford to, buy thicker shelves3)remove shelving above fireplace4) paint entire fireplace all the way to the ceiling high-gloss Black5)Go to BBand Beyond or some space and buy 6 or 8 full length mirrors (about $10 each) and paint the frame white or remove frame perhaps.6) evenly space out shelves and adhere mirrors to back of shelves which will a) hide more if the hardware and b) make your small apartment seem much sunnier and larger7) and Yes, switch out that ceiling fan for something more appealing to you8) I would either buy two trunks on castor wheels or 4 of those square ottomons with storage inside of them and throw pillows on top and place under the shelves- you can store your off season clothes and when friends come over they can pull them off the wall for instant entertainment seating. wahooo!
Will look forward to a great 'after' picture!
"don't listen to those saying ikea, ikea, ikea."I agree - There's so much more to life than IKEA.
Finally someone who doesn't shout Ikea at first glance of a room - LOL. For the most part, their stuff is overpriced junk - bought an almost exact model of their Poang chair for half the price they have it listed for at Target (including shipping charge which Ikea doesn't include).
Just reread this thread - do think the mirror trick mentioned above would look nice on any shelf you have decorative items on. Just don't do it on shelves with books - a) would be much too easy for someone to push a book back on too hard and break it, b) you won't see it, and c) not worth the money to reflect back the closed pages of a book.
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