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Please tell me about/show me/help me with shelves

(26 Posts)
thenewaveragebear1983 Wed 03-Jan-18 20:21:23

Since taking the Christmas decs down I have realised how very bare our living room is. Very plain stone coloured walls, grey chimney breast. We have 2 lamps, 3 pictures, and one case on the mantelpiece and that's it. The place looks like a dental surgery waiting room.....

I like retro ish style, but Dh hates it so we have reached a compromise of having virtually nothing.

We have a very large alcove (175cm) which I think is crying out for one or maybe two floating shelves- artfully accessorised with a few frames, ornaments and 'things'. We have two picture shelves in the other end of the room, so I am envisaging more 'proper width' shelves.

Dh reckons only 1 shelf. 2 is 'studenty' apparently. I'm not one really for buying coordinated bits from places to complete the 'look' but I would be in my element searching for the perfect things to go on my one two shelves from charity shops/ vintage shops etc.

So: one or two shelves? White or wood? All the way across or not? If two, staggered or directly above/below each other?

And yes. I know we need a new, massive lamp!

JohnLapsleyParlabane Wed 03-Jan-18 20:23:23

What about one of these?

thenewaveragebear1983 Wed 03-Jan-18 20:29:30

I like the principle, but not that particular thing unfortunately John. I would also worry It might make the place look a bit 'seaside ' as we have cream, blue, grey. Thank you though. A pre-made shelf unit might work.

Caroian Wed 03-Jan-18 20:32:39

I think one shelf would look a bit... odd. It would look really half hearted! We have a similar space and it has five shelves! (To be fair, I own a huge number of books, one shelf is almost entirely devoted to our 15year collection of travel guides arranged in rainbow colour order, but we also have photos, trinkets, plants, a clock, a lamp etc on them. The bottom shelf is similar in height to a coffee table, and we just have a magazine basket underneath).

I'd go for full width and put at least two or three shelves. Otherwise possibly two that are not full width but are staggered, so one starting from as far left as possible and the other from as far right as possible so they overlap in the mid part of the wall.

Filling these kind of alcoves with shelves is a really common thing though. It's not really either retro or modern, it's just a sensible use of space and a good way to add visual interest to a room.

thenewaveragebear1983 Wed 03-Jan-18 20:43:16

Thanks Caroian (I am with you entirely on the 1 shelf- Dh is so wrong about this!) We don't need book shelves as we have an entire wall of bookshelves in our playroom. So this will be purely for, as you say, visual interest and warmth in the room.

I think 2 shelves must be the way forward. Would two shelves look odd if they simply floated above nothing? As you can see in the picture, we have a very dinky radiator underneath where these shelves would go.

Caroian Wed 03-Jan-18 20:58:40

I don't think they will look odd floating above nothing else. Will you leave the nest of tables that is currently there? You would need the lowest one to be a reasonable distance above them to look balanced (so the table can still function as a table). As above we have a wicker magazine basket/rack under ours, but the other thing that works well is a storage basket - useful for things like throws. There are lots of such baskets around and could also be a good way to add some additional colour to the room.

thenewaveragebear1983 Wed 03-Jan-18 21:33:59

I would probably want them higher, although we have a mantle over the fire. I'd need to see them in situ to work out where they would go in relation the the mantle- exactly the same height would look a bit odd I think.

Lleyr Wed 03-Jan-18 21:54:06

If it were me, I'd do two wood shelves either all the way across, or nearly all the way across. I can't get a good sense of the room or what else is in that photo.

Another option could be to do staggered cube shelves, as long as they were sizable and not some tiny little things on the wall.

wowfudge Thu 04-Jan-18 07:44:30

Visually, odd numbers look better. Three shelves would work - you can go quite high up with them too. On a big wall one shelf would look wrong.

thenewaveragebear1983 Thu 04-Jan-18 09:05:52

I am definitely leaning towards two, maybe three. I've found some online that are 175 cm wide, perfect for the alcove. Now just need to convince Dh!

Joinourclub Thu 04-Jan-18 13:00:54

Shelves are only studenty if they are filled with DVDs and bottles of spirits!

lashy Fri 12-Jan-18 23:32:19

Kelly Hoppen is a big fan of shelves and offers some great suggestions on how to style them.

EnidButton Sat 13-Jan-18 02:54:50

3. Odd numbers always look better. It's why florists use odd numbers of flowers when doing bouquets we'll ignore the dozen red roses thing

So 3 or 5.

1 would look lonely.

thenewaveragebear1983 Sat 13-Jan-18 07:58:33

I agree. I think his main concern is that he sees no need for ‘show shelves’ (think stunt pineapple.....) - as in, we have perfectly functional bookshelves, but these would be shelves to hold things we don’t currently own where their sole purpose is to look nice. I on the other hand love the idea of accumulating over time lots of interesting things that will enhance the room.

I usually win on these things though, it just takes time......!!

Fantasticmissfoxy Sat 13-Jan-18 09:23:37

I think shelves across the full width would look much better than 'floating' ones hovering about in the middle. They're a bit 'next catalogue' to be honest. I think dark wood across the full width, minimum of 3 would look good.

Vitalogy Sat 13-Jan-18 09:48:15

What about a large:

thenewaveragebear1983 Sat 13-Jan-18 12:00:55

Vitalogy hmm

Fantastic, it couldn’t be dark wood unfortunately, or any ‘real wood’ as we already have a wooden mantle and different wooden furniture so a third wood style would be too much I think. But I agree about the Next catalogue look!

Fantasticmissfoxy Sat 13-Jan-18 12:05:52

In that case, choose a dark colour you like or already have in the room (like a dark grey, blue or sage green) and paint the shelves that colour

Vitalogy Sat 13-Jan-18 12:38:47

Not your taste, fair enough.

thenewaveragebear1983 Sat 13-Jan-18 13:37:38

Well no. It’s also not a shelf. I can’t imagine many people would want that in their living room tbf, never mind the fact that it seems a bit of a childish thing to post on a thread about shelves.

But yeah. Not my taste.

thenewaveragebear1983 Sat 13-Jan-18 13:39:28

Fantastic can I ask why you say dark shelves? Is that a current trend? I’m not really too adventurous and Dh is even less so, but just wondered! We have light walls, would you still suggest dark wood/colour against a cream wall?

Vitalogy Sat 13-Jan-18 15:01:35

Well it's brightened up the thread at least. grin glitterball

buckeejit Sun 14-Jan-18 19:33:33

I'd go for 3 or preferably 5 shelves. Full width too, alternatively change the big radiator for an upright one & add a bookcase.

I love nothing more than filling shelves with treasures, so much fun & you probably have a load of admin paperwork that you could put in a nice box & make it more useful rather than just pretty.

I'd get a local carpenter to do it rather than do yourself. If you use mdf & pain it it won't be too expensive. Although I disagree about different colours of wood looking weird, the more the merrier I say! Or just stain wood the same colour as your mantel

Fantasticmissfoxy Sun 14-Jan-18 19:52:20

Short answer - because I think it'd look nice 😂
Long answer - running the shelves full width would add an element of horizontal emphasis in a room where the proportions look (by the limited amount I can see) to largely highlight the vertical. A dark shelf would act as a proper focal point and highlight your objects / ornaments rather than blending in, which is what would happen with a pale colour. Also yes, dark deep rich colours are probably considered 'in' at the moment although that's not something that would usually have a bearing on what I'd reccomend.

thenewaveragebear1983 Mon 15-Jan-18 13:16:37

Thanks fantastic, that’s very interesting. It’s a strange room to be honest, and you sound like you know your stuff so I might pick your brains some more! It’s a high ceiling, but is also a long room. We have windows both ends, east/west facing so its bright but not sunny. The grey/duck egg enhances that cool feeling as well, so I’ve added some copper bits for warmth, but it’s not quite there yet. I categorically do not want it to look ‘seasidey’ which is quite hard with blue/grey/duck egg.

I understand what you’re saying re: the long shelf, but I’m not wholly convinced about the dark colour. The alcove is 175cm so they would be big, dark shelves- it might be one step too far for me (I am very unadventurous!) . It’s food for thought though, I am currently trying to find examples on Pinterest etc but no luck yet! It’s also quite hard to find examples of alcove shelving that doesn’t have build in cupboards beneath.

Thanks everyone for your really valuable advice.

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