The Power of Towering Shelves


Art can only do so much for your wall—sometimes a towering piece of furniture needs to step in and give a room dimension. This weekend we built bookshelves in our bedroom and the space is starting to feel complete. Granted shelves aren’t exactly furniture but with my vintage desk–together they become a commanding secretary. Plus, my workspace feels so much more dignified with a proper library stacked above it. I knew the shelves would add the height, storage, and depth I was looking for but the pleasant surprise has been the books’ pop of color. The covers’ and spines’ range of hues and patterns adds a little kick to the bedroom’s cool palette.

The Process

We actually bought these Ikea shelves (Ekby Hensvik beveled boards and Robert brackets) months ago but something about drilling massive holes in our 110-year-old wall gave us reason to pause and procrastinate.

wall bracketsThe brackets’ pre-drilled holes seemed so dinky to be holding up a few dozen books so we drilled larger holes to accommodate bigger screws–but even those would need extra reinforcement. Enter toggle bolt.

This is a toggle bolt: a super strong spring-loaded metal stopper that folds flush around a screw, which snaps open when it passes through drywall, keeping heavy mounted-objects from falling forward. We originally sought them out after our medicine cabinet came crashing down on my mother during her inaugural visit to our home. Shes fine–no real harm done–but I’ll never trust plastic-expansion anchors again.

wall  bracketsThe toggle bolts, held tight with long machine screws, go into the top and bottom of the bracket.

wall shelvesThese simple brackets are quite sculptural and what I love about them most is, they extend low enough to work as bookends for the lower shelf.