alcove shelves opinions

(20 Posts)
firewithfire Wed 30-Dec-15 16:12:04

We've got a Victorian through lounge with two alcoves in each part of the room. I was thinking those bookshelf strips would be easiest to put up and then adjustable if we ever wanted to move them. But are they too ugly and in practice we'd never want to adjust them? Were not ultra fancy so I don't think we need floating shelves, the alternative is just struts around the sides (and backs?)

Also tv cabinet at the bottom of one of them.

Who's got some and are you pleased with what you've got?

Pipistrella Wed 30-Dec-15 16:29:10

I would use battens around the sides and backs, do it neatly and paint to match the walls. Do it from half way up if you prefer, to accommodate the TV - or just match the two in that part of the room, and have full length in the other half perhaps.

I have solid pine shelves in the alcove in my kitchen - I put them up myself - I like them very much.

Don't use MDF, it'll bend. Use pine or whatever solid wood you fancy. You can paint the shelves too.

Pipistrella Wed 30-Dec-15 16:30:29

btw try to find your studs in the wall and put the screws for the battens into those. Should be roughly 14-16 inches apart - use a detector or drill tiny pilot holes in a straight line till you get a hit.

firewithfire Wed 30-Dec-15 18:09:33

Thank you you're right that would be best. Good idea re matching in one room and more in the other room too. They're a bit wide for solid wood, i was thinking very thick plywood with fancy edging?
Do I ask carpenter for a quote to include materials or not? I would do it but got more children than time.

Pipistrella Wed 30-Dec-15 19:11:47

yy include materials but make sure it isn't MDF! smile

Solid wood will be stronger than ply and lighter as well.

You can get it with a nice chamfered edge or add your own decorative strip - lovely.

If you can though get him to prime and knot-seal the wood before he puts them up. And ask him not to screw down the shelves permanently - leave the screws accessible - so you can take them off the battens and paint them and then re-attach.

He may not screw them onto the battens at all, but I like them to be screwed down. No nails, just screws.

Pipistrella Wed 30-Dec-15 19:13:27

Oh by wide do you mean deep? That could be a problem yes with solid wood.

How deep roughly? I'd guess up to about 12" pine would be fairly cheap, beyond that it gets a bit dearer.

firewithfire Wed 30-Dec-15 21:59:24

Wow you've really thought this through, thanks that's so helpful. All great ideas. And I didn't realise pine would come that wide. The tv cupboard is going to have to be about 600 deep, what should I ask for it to be made of?

Marmitelover55 Wed 30-Dec-15 23:05:19

Our alcove units are painted MDF and are fab!

MrsHooolie Wed 30-Dec-15 23:07:12

They look lovely marmite

firewithfire Thu 31-Dec-15 09:06:29

They're really nice marmite. Did the carpenter make the doors or buy them somehow(??)

Marmitelover55 Thu 31-Dec-15 09:09:43

He made then from scratch. They were quite expensive (£1,100 per side), but a neughbour (who is quite practical) managed to copy them very cheaply and they still look good. I think one of the trickiest things was the higgledy picklediness of the walls and floors. Now just need to save up for my sitting room alcoves...

Pipistrella Thu 31-Dec-15 09:30:46

Are they battened at the front too? If so they should be fine, they do look brill.

I hadn't thought of that style. OP you can get wider pine board. We have it in our custom built kitchen, for the bottoms of the cupboards. You won't need an awful lot if it's just for the TV so it shouldn't break the bank.

Main thing with pine is it's a better surface to paint than MDF (not so hairy!) and also it's safer to work with because of the dust issue, (no mask needed)
and it is stronger in itself, so you can use it without a front batten, and just battens round the inside of the alcove.

It's up to you though. I just hate MDF and my parents had a vast alcove bookcase unit built by a carpenter from MDF, without front battening, and all the shelves have a slight curve to them now.

So you'll need something at he front to strengthen it. The ones in the picture look lovely - it depends what style you prefer.

Cornelialovett Thu 31-Dec-15 09:35:17

Ours are also painted mdf much like above. Is your floor real wood Marmite? Just trying to decide what to do with ours.

Marmitelover55 Thu 31-Dec-15 09:40:04

Our floor is engineered oak - very happy with it.

Our alcove units don't have any visible battens but the shelves are floating, so maybe they are concealed?

The surface of the MDF is lovely and smooth - certainly not hairy at all!! grin

Pipistrella Thu 31-Dec-15 09:51:10

yy floating shelves will have a frame all the way round, covered with the sheets of MDF either side, I think. I'm not sure, I've not built them before.

That will make them very strong if so. It's more work than pine board on battens though.

Also it starts off hairy so getting it smooth means a lot of work sanding, painting, repainting, sanding again etc, IME at least. I can never get it smooth! Not as smooth as wood anyway.

I think this might mean the labour costs are more if you do it that way,

Certainly our hand built custom kitchen cost in total about £720. It's all pine, apart from the worktop which I had already. Doors all made from scratch etc.

firewithfire Thu 31-Dec-15 14:49:16

I don't want a frame all around I don't think. Battens are fine.

I was thinking of getting them made the right height to fit ikea Kallax boxes in the playroom but the boxes are too deep for the alcove. Would shelves sticking out look too weird? Are there any other standard sized boxes I could try and have the shelves made to, that are a bit less deep? Would have just bought some kallax for the alcoves but it would need to be 3x4 which seems a lot of carpentry in itself to adjust a 4x4.

Pipistrella Thu 31-Dec-15 16:10:26

I think sticking out shelves would probably look less than beautiful, yes grin

I'm not familiar with Ikea boxes, but there are a lot of other good ones - we use a combo of 'Wham' boxes with the coloured lids, and Really Useful Boxes in various sizes. You can get them at Staples, they tend to be a lot cheaper than Homebase etc, particularly for the really large ones.

jevoudrais Thu 31-Dec-15 20:41:58

Love the photo Marmite put up! Gorgeous.

We just have floating shelves in one, got to move my piano into that alcove so no fancy units for us sad

Sunnyshores Sat 02-Jan-16 16:48:16

Marmite - they look lovely. Are they painted in eggshell?

Marmitelover55 Sat 02-Jan-16 17:05:11

Thanks - they are painted in satin wood.

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