It’s Week seven of my first One Room Challenge, and it’s almost time to reveal our new living room! I was feeling pretty good last week since we only had one project left before the reveal and I *thought* we had saved an easy one for the end. But nope! I don’t know why I ever thought floating shelves would be a more challenging project than building a fireplace surround from scratch… but here we are!
If you’re new around here, check out our design progress from previous weeks:
So one of the major pieces of this room refresh was adding more storage and shelving to make the space more functional. In week 2, I revealed one of our storage solutions, which was floating painted Ikea Ivar cabinets on our back wall. This week’s project was to add floating wood shelves above the cabinets for extra storage, and to make the large wall feel less empty. Sounds easy in theory, but we most definitely struggled! Hopefully if you’re thinking of adding floating shelves to your space, you can learn from our mistakes!
I knew from the beginning what I wanted our shelves to look like. I’ve seen so many dreamy kitchens with open shelving, and I knew that I wanted a similar look for above our cabinets. What Brian and I weren’t sure of though, was whether or not we would build out the shelf box and attach it to wood braces on the studs, or buy shelf brackets to drill into wood boards. We ultimately decided that the first option might be pricier to get it to look exactly how we wanted it, and that the second option would likely be easier! Was this accurate? Probably not! But we went for the second option!
Final list of Materials & Tools * after some issues with our original list of tools!
- Two red oak boards, planed and jointed – ~2″ thick, 8″ wide, and 67″ long.
- 8 Shelf brackets from Amazon
- Impact Drill (or drill press if you have one)
- 1/2″ woodboring drill bit – at least 6″ long
- Stud finder
- Tape measure
- Drywall anchors and screws
Since we wanted to use thicker wood boards, we decided to #shoplocal and buy from a local carpenter. This ended up being pricier than anticipated, but we opted for a gorgeous red oak, and they planed and joined the boards to our preferred dimensions. The wood was incredibly smooth and square, and the colour was so good, so we didn’t even have to sand or stain it! The only problem was that when we picked up the wood, it was a lot heavier than we thought it would be! We were worried about the brackets not being able to hold it, but, the stud placement in the wall ended up working in our favour, and we went ahead with our original plan.
Find the right tools!
In theory this project sounded easy: Put brackets on wall, drill holes in wood, put wood on brackets. Simple, right?
We ordered the brackets off of amazon, and this is where the project went downhill! While these are heavy duty, they are not the best quality, and some of them weren’t straight at all, and it was super frustrating! We also only bought 4 at first, and needed to buy 4 more once we felt how heavy the wood was. They eventually ended up working, but it required a lot of trial and error to find the right drill bit that would allow the brackets to snugly into the holes (but also provide them some wiggle room if they weren’t completely straight).
We initially bought a drill bit that was the same size as the bracket, and that was a BIG mistake! Not only were the holes really hard to drill through the hard oak, but when we started putting the piece of wood onto the brackets it fully got stuck halfway as we were pushing it towards the wall! I didn’t get pictures of this part, because we were both too busy trying to take off the piece of wood. It was also too close to the wall to unscrew the brackets, so we just had to pull and pull until it eventually came off! Honestly at this point, we considered scrapping the shelves and doing something else on the wall!
But then Brian did some research after our super frustrating evening, and discovered the world of woodboring drill bits! He found one long enough for our brackets that was a little bit wider than our old drill bit. He was able to easily re-drill the holes we previously drilled with the new bit, and even though we still had to push a bit, the shelf went on all the way and it was SO MUCH EASIER! And the second shelf that we hadn’t even started at this point was finished and on the wall in a quarter of the amount of time we spent on the first one!
Even though we struggled way more on this project than we did on any of our other ORC projects, we’re super happy with how they turned out! Don’t they look so pretty?!
More tips for mounting floating shelves:
- The holes you drill need to be very precise, so measuring is extremely important! We used our long level to draw a straight line where the shelf would be, and then marked where each bracket would be drilled in. We did the same thing on the wood before drilling the holes.
- It’s extremely helpful to have two people when you’re sliding the wood onto the brackets so you can do it evenly
- Even though it worked for us to use our impact drill, Brian said it would have been much easier to use a drill press, so that the holes were super straight
We’re Almost Done!
Now that all of our projects are done, we can fully clean and dust, and start gathering some decor pieces to style the space! We decided to save our budget and not buy a new rug at this point, but we moved the one from our bedroom down and it will definitely work for now until we find a new one in our price range. But our curtains have come in, and we plan on doing a little bit of shopping for some finishing touches!