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Built-in cupboards and 'floating' shelves either side of fire place - top tips??

(6 Posts)
WindUpBird Fri 06-Nov-15 14:24:24

I've got a carpenter coming in next week to do this in my 1930s hous. He's going to build them out of MDF. I think this is ok as they will be painted white (I guess) so I presume they are strong enough for lots of books. He said they would be! I just can't really envisage the low-level cupboard bit though I have seen examples on Pinterest etc. I don't want the cupboards to look too kitcheny.
I was going to go for a cupboard and 3 shelves on just one side of the fireplace. But now I'm wondering if it would look better on both sides. So, I might have a cupboard on both sides, but just shelves on one side. The TV will be on the cupboard without shelves above it. I guess the TV cupboard will have to have an open shelf in it for DVD, freeview etc. Do you think it would look better to have symmetrical cupboards and shelves (though the alcoves are not the same width, if that makes any difference)?
Has anyone done this recently who can be bothered to give me any top tips re design of the cupboards height of the cupboards, symmetry etc etc! I want to get it right but don't have much time to dither over it! Thanks!

wowfudge Fri 06-Nov-15 15:31:55

It depends what you think you'll use the storage space for. I would go for symmetry with a cupboard on both sides and leave the space between each cupboard and shelves up to the picture rail the same.

Have the cupboards the depth of the alcoves and the shelves not a deep to still keep a sense of space. Consider a half shelf or couple of shelves behind the TV to one side for the freeview box, etc otherwise you need to open the cupboard doors to operate them. Definitely have at least one shelf in each cupboard.

silversixpence Fri 06-Nov-15 16:24:07

Ours have 4 shelves on one side and 5 on the other, this was to accommodate a TV but we have since moved the TV to the other room. I don't really notice the difference now. Cupboards have one shelf in each and are very spacious. We didn't have an open shelf for dvd etc.

The carpenter did all his own measuring. He also said the shelves would be strong enough to take his weight and climbed on them to demonstrate!

BreeVDKamp Fri 06-Nov-15 16:27:42

Can I ask how much you paid, PPs? Sorry to be nosey. Am wanting the same thing done but no idea what's reasonable. Been looking on www.diyalcovecabinets.co.uk but don't know if it's worth the faff!

namechangedtoday15 Fri 06-Nov-15 17:07:58

Exactly as wowfudge says. Symmetrical, gap between cupboard and shelves the same (we have TV in one alcove, lamp and photo frames etc on the other side).

Are you having mdf "line" the alcoves (so a frame is built into the alcove to which the shelves attach) or are you having the shelves attached directly to the wall (if that makes sense)? If it's the latter (so you'll see the wallpaper / paint) make sure that's done before the joiner comes. Gives a much neater finish.

Just a couple of practical points - our TV aerial comes into the house under the carpet in one alcove which caused havoc when we needed to get to it and it was underneath the built in cupboard, and if possible have a small hole drilled in the top of the cupboard so the tv cable can drop through it. Get plug sockets in the cupboards.

WindUpBird Fri 06-Nov-15 22:56:26

thank you everyone, I'm having a think!

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