Watch out for these mistakes when you’re putting up shelves.


Firstly, putting up a shelf is going to require two people. You can get pretty far by resting the weight of the shelf on a stepladder while you bracket it, but a second set of eyes comes in handy when marking studs, drilling holes for the shelf brackets, not to mention sweeping up the plaster dust and sawdust.


The effect of furniture

Be mindful of the way furniture is arrange in your room. Do you want people entering the room to be able to see tracts of wall or not? Shelves should usually be discrete and not positioned near the entrance to the room.


Colour conflicts

Typically the easiest shelf brackets to find are coated in black or white. A white bracket could work well in a room with pure white walls and lots of white accents, but almost always black brackets are the best option for holding up almost any colour of shelf.


The right light

One of the first things to look at when situating your shelf is the effect of light. Certainly you don’t want that shelf to protrude over any light source – but it’s not always good to bury a shelf in the darkest corner of the room, either. It may be necessary to position a floor lamp in the same recess as a shelf to evenly distribute light around your room.


Don’t solely see a shelf as functional

A beautiful piece of timber can be a conversation-starter and a centrepiece. If you’re choosing to invest in a really handsome shelf, don’t have the shelf in a place where it’s going to clash with something else in the room like a TV or a bookcase or the back of someone’s head. Also, think about what can go on the shelf and what colour scheme the shelved objects are. Mixing up the items on the shelf can create visual interest for visitors.


Cabinet, open shelf or grid shelves: hard choices.

Open shelving for essential items needed close at hand in the kitchen works well. Open shelves also help you to show off beautiful artwork, heirlooms and knickknacks in the hallways and lounge of your house. Any ‘dirty’ or unsightly items, though, are going to require cupboard doors – and a cupboard door necessitates the right gap for the door to swing. Before putting any aspect of a cupboard up, the swing space needs to be worked out.

Another related factor is support for the cupboard. If the cupboards themselves are heavy, or if they’ll be packed with lots of weighty things, the cupboard/open shelf will need to be bolted to studs and joists and cannot be allowed to join to open wall.


  • Never forget the paint and wallpaper in the background

Think ahead while pressing your shelf boards and brackets against the wall: how is my new shelving going to affect my wallpaper and paint?

Take a hard look at the wall and work out where the studs are, for stability. Then factor in whether you are planning on amending the wall surface any time soon, as you don’t want to leave shelves in the way. Therefore: it might be a good idea to get the backdrop sussed first.


At Renovation Warehouse we occasionally get complete shelves in, as we’re in the business of taking the best bits from houses undergoing demolition. Other bits and pieces we often stock include fasteners and brackets, and we can cut any wood to size for your needs. You may even like to take advantage of some of the magnificent slabs we stock.  Phone us on 0800 274 438. Renovation Warehouse is here to help save you money and make great renovation and redecorating decisions.

Come and see us!

Just look for the BIG ORANGE building next to the Caltex truck stop.

28 Kioreroa Road
Port Whangarei 0110

Phone: 0800-274-438 or 438-2887