AdviceInterior design

Your Guide to Custom Shelving

Getting a home looking as good as the ones you see in interior magazines is only possible with good storage. Part of that is also knowing what to hide and what to show, as well as how to do it. So good shelving is an essential for any organised home and it helps if you can get this made for your own needs rather than relying on the cheapest available option at one of the big box retailers.

There are many businesses that offer bespoke shelving solutions for your home, although most of the ones you see advertising in the Sunday newspapers will be offering you variations on a theme rather than anything highly original that is tailored just for you. For this you will need to speak to a carpenter or joiner who can come round and design something with your home in mind, taking into account what you need to store. From there they can then talk about materials, colours and even decorating the wall behind the shelving to provide a finished overall look.

custom shelving

Image source: Lost Found Art

Custom shelving can be pricey to have made and installed. But it is not a decision you will ever regret. The right tradesman will be able to create a shelving system that enhances your home as well as any collection of objects that you care to place on it.

The first stage is to think about how much shelving you will need and what you want it to do. You may just think that shelving is shelving, but do you want it to show things off, hide them away, have space around items or to pack the maximum amount of items in? Just think how differently you may display your DVD collection to that of a selection of antique vases. Or, contrast how you would show off your collection of original Star Wars figures against how you would shelve your first edition hardbacks. You need to think about scale and style, as well as the look of the items you will have on show.

bespoke shelving

Image source: Jasmine via Flickr

Next you will want to consider materials. Your tradesman can help you with this.If you are building your shelving for books you will need it to be very strong and won’t want long stretches of unsupported shelf as books can soon get very heavy. On the other hand, if you want something to house a few framed photographs of family you can get away with lighter materials.

Many people decide to get custom-made shelving made for their audio visual equipment, including televisions, hi-fi and satellite TV boxes. As well as considering materials here you will also want to think about how the units will join up and reach the power supply.

custom bookshelves

Image source: charlotte holmes of rogue-designs

Finally, you will want to think about style. What colour do you want? What kind of look are you after? Do you want a huge grid of shelving to take up a whole wall? A library that lives above your door frames? Or how about a selection of small floating shelves in different colours that contrast with your walls? If you have ideas then this is the point at which to grill your contractor and make sure they are on board with your own vision and to see if they can make it work. If you want lighting built in then ask. The same goes for doors, particular handles or backing boards.

Always remember that custom-made shelving is an investment that will make your home work better for you. But do also think how long you will be staying in your home before you ask for work to begin. After all, your idea of great shelving may not be a potential buyer’s, so your investment may not always carry over into added value.

Need help designing and building custom shelving for your home? Post a job on Rated People in our Carpenter / Joiner category to receive quotes from our qualified and trusted tradesmen.

Iain Aitch

Iain is a London-based writer who works as a journalist for a number of newspapers and magazines. He has also written two books, one of which is a hilarious lexicon about Britishness – Iain is a Brit through and through!

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  1. I would never be able to focus on a program if I was looking at this wall! Think of the dust it will accumulate!

  2. Interested in a quote to produce shelving, storage and space for office PC in a medium sized dining room located in BA4

    1. Hi Lionel,

      You can use the webform on our homepage to post a job (our form will give you the opportunity to state that you’re looking for a quote at the moment).

      Kind regards,

  3. We are looking for someone to design a display wall for our large collection of Swarovski crystal, with lighting and storage for the boxes mostly in glass with glass doors. Any ideas?

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