The Shelving Store Blog

  1. How to Hang Floating Shelves (Safely)

    As befitting their name, floating wall shelves are a stylish type of wall shelving that seem to ‘float’ in midair by hiding their anchor points and obscuring the kind of mounting needed.

    Hanging this style of shelf isn’t quite as difficult as it might sound, however! Much like any other home shelving project, you just need the right tools, the right guidance, and maybe a little patience to get it done. If you’re about to set up those new floating shelves you’ve been thinking about for so long, here’s our quick-and-dirty guide to hanging floating shelves and creating a new accent piece or storage option:

     

    1. Check the type of wall you’ll be hanging it on: Different materials of wall (wood, drywall, etc) require slightly different methods of handling. If you don’t already know what kind of wall you’re dealing with, give it a simple knock—if it sounds hollow, it’s drywall, otherwise it’s likely wood or plaster. (Also, if you’ve been able to easily slide nails through the wall in the past, it’s drywall.)
    2. Look for studs: Ideally, floating shelves should be attached to wall studs as they can provide the greatest support for this sort of shelving, but not all walls have them. Use a stud finder to locate potential anchor points, or tap around the harder points in a plaster wall to identify the source of studs.
    3. Get the right kind of mounts: Floating shelves, true to their name, use smaller anchors to connect to the wall than other types of shelves so they can keep up the illusion of ‘floating’. Many floating shelves will come with the anchors you need, but if not, make sure to double-check the style of anchor (or ‘molly plug’) you need.
    4. Measure and mark the correct space on the wall: Identify where the anchors will go on the shelf and make the correct corresponding marks on the wall.
    5. Trace the shelf’s location: Use a level to trace a line between these newly drawn anchor points and make sure the shelf will sit flush and straight on the wall.
    6. Get drilling: Take your favorite drill and make pilot holes into the wall where the anchors will sit.
    7. Insert anchors: Place the anchors into the newly-drilled holes (making sure to follow any provided instructions, of course).
    8. Get aligned: Line up your shelf and/or bracket with the anchor-filled pilot holes, then take a regular screwdriver and attach the bracket into the wall by screwing into the anchors.
    9. Lay the shelf down: All you should have to do now is place the shelf onto the bracket (or directly onto the anchors, as the design calls for) and you’re done!

     

    Have you hung up a wall shelf recently? Got any tales of victory (or woe) you want to share? Leave them in the comments below!

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  2. Using Wood Shelves For Neutral-Color Rooms

    There’s a big design trend in homes these days to use more neutral tones for certain rooms; a lot of whites, off-whites, and beiges to create a more ‘subdued’ look.

    It’s a look that goes great in a lot of rooms, but if you’re the sort that fancies yourself an interior designer you might notice that it can be a little hard to decorate with sometimes. The neutral colors can find themselves oddly contrasting with anything you try to decorate with, and it can make it more difficult than you expect to arrange things in a way that’s pleasing to the eye.

    We think we have just the thing: wood shelves! Wooden wall shelves are a good, neutral way to add more ‘rustic’ looks to a room and add storage space without worrying about contrasting colors or mismatched tones. The possibilities are nearly endless, but here’s a few ideas we’ve seen and liked:

     

    • Mirror storage: A good way to open up any room, especially one with solid lighter colors, is with strategic placement of small mirrors to make the space feel bigger. Use wood shelves (or other wall shelves) to hold mirrors and expand a space.
    • Coordination: For more neutral-colored rooms, an easy solution is to use earthy tones splashed about the room to provide greater contrast. Pair wood shelves with darker, wood-colored dining room furniture or living room furniture to get a more cohesive look.
    • Bathroom spas: For master bathrooms (which are generally white or lighter in color anyway), wood shelves are a great way to create a more relaxing, spa-like atmosphere. Use them to keep things like bath salts, lotions, and anything else you need to relax.
    • Office nook: Unless you have a dedicated office in your home, converting an unused corner in another room into an office can be a good way to maximize space but it can feel ‘forced’. Wood shelves can help complement your home office desk and maximize your space without the bulk of bookcases or other big shelving installations.
    • Room to sit: If you have larger bay windows or an unused corner in a larger living room, wood shelves are the perfect complement to a couch. Set up a couch or loveseat in front of the window and place wood shelves around it - if the couch matches the white room, wood shelves will help add a pop of color and give you somewhere to keep your books.

     

    Have you used shelves to decorate a primarily white or neutral-colored room in your house? Drop a comment below and tell us how it went!

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  3. Setting Up Your Home As An AirBnB

    Much like Uber and Lyft encouraging us to share our cars (and our rides), AirBnB has become an increasingly popular way for people to make money by renting out a space they’re not using to travelers and other guests, often at better rats (and higher quality) than a nearby hotel stay.

    Maybe you have a spare bedroom because the kids are at college, or you finally renovated that guest room nobody ever used, and you’re looking for a way to make a little extra money. Using a room as an AirBnB is a great way...but where do you start with getting it ready for your guests? We’re glad you asked:

     

    • Fix any obvious hazards: Both inside the room you’re renting and any space that will be visible to your guests (entryways, hallways, bathrooms, etc), make sure to repair any visible, obvious damage that could prove harmful. Exposed wiring, loose steps, leaky pipes, and the like.
    • Safeguard valuables: If the room you’re renting is inside your home (as opposed to a vacation space or apartment you’re not currently using), try to keep your valuables and personal possessions safe. Odds are your guests are just going to be some nice twenty somethings on vacation, but it’s better safe than sorry—keep expensive jewelry, family heirlooms, and similar items in a locked safe in an area of the house they can’t access (or in a safe deposit box in a pinch).
    • Declutter for company: Think about your AirBnB customers the way you’d think of a houseguest: you’re going to want to tidy up a little bit first—especially in the room they’ll be staying in, but it’s good to keep in mind for all areas of the house they’ll see during their stay. Try to remember to dust, clear off tables, toss out old magazines, and the like. Again, a good rule of thumb is to pretend that you’re getting ready for company to come over, except they’re paying you to be there.
    • Provide for your guests: Ask yourself: what would you like to see in a hotel when you get there? Now, imagine that hotel is a room in someone’s home—what’s changed? Try to provide the creature comforts you’d expect from staying in what is essentially a guest bedroom, such as bedroom dressers, nightstands, and the like. This sort of thinking could extend to the rest of the house depending on how much room you’re renting out; a little extra living room furniture and bathroom shelving could go a long way towards keeping your guests happy (and willing to drop those 5-star reviews).
    • Safety first: Not unlike leaving your kids alone for the night with a list of emergency numbers, try to make sure your guests can reach you if needed. Leave your contact information in the event of an emergency like lost keys, mark everything with your address and phone number, and make sure things like smoke detectors are up and running.
    • Leave a little extra: If your AirBnB setup is big enough to include a bathroom and kitchen, try to drop some amenities where you can. Soap, toothpaste, hand lotion, condiments in the fridge, and so on—they’ll remember it for next time.

     

    Have you started renting out part of your home as an AirBnB lately? Leave your tips below!

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  4. 5 Easy Ways to Reduce Utility Bills

    Whether you’re trying to keep the heat out or in, no matter what time of year it is, it can feel like utility bills are a constant struggle.

    The heater runs up the gas bill, the air conditioning runs up the electric bill, and either way it can get difficult to manage that balance between keeping your utility costs down and having a home that’s a temperature comfortable for everyone.

    Sure, you can ask anyone for solutions to this issue, and you’ll get a variety of responses—thicker insulation, installing a new heater, and so on. And as well-intentioned as that advice might be, it’s not always viable due to finances, schedules, and other life concerns.

    So what are you to do? Luckily, with a little imagination and some patience, there’s ways to cut down on utility spending with simple reorganization and renovations that are far cheaper, and it’s never too late in the season to give them a try:

     

    Keep heat-generating devices away from the thermostat: Thermostats work by detecting the heat nearest to them and turning the heat or AC up until the desired temperature is reached. What a lot of people don’t know is that the thermostat can be easily influenced by heat-generating objects near it, like TVs and lamps. If you have any floor lamps or TV stands near a thermostat, try to renovate your living room/bedroom/etc a little bit to make sure these electronic devices aren’t accidentally causing your thermostat to go into overdrive.

     

    Remember your window shades: Now’s a great time to show off those curtains and blinds. Well-placed window dressings can help reduce the temperature in your home during the warmer months (and prevent cold air from coming in when it cools down) and stop the thermostat from pumping out too much air.

     

    Don’t clog the vents: A big part of thermostat overuse comes in when the vents are prevented from distributing air properly through the room, resulting in too much adjusting of the current temperature and forcing your bills to climb up. Don’t let things like couches, bedroom dressers, or other bulky furniture take up too much room around your vents—try to swap out these installations for something more open like wire shelving or any kind of open-backed cabinet to let the air flow freely. This goes for other tables in the room as well; if you can swap out your bigger tables for things like wall shelves to hold onto everything, you can help the air move around more easily.

     

    Cook lightly: There’s a big reason grilling outdoors is a popular solution for dinnertime in the summer, and it’s not just because charcoal makes everything taste better. Overuse of ovens can actually cause excess heat in the kitchen, which (as you can guess) your thermostat will interpret as excess hot air and try to work harder to overcompensate. Use the microwave or the toaster oven when you can.

     

    Turn off and unplug everything you can: It’s a lesson you heard from your parents growing up too, but not leaving lights on when you don’t need them is a great way to cut back on both utility bills and errant heat production throughout the house. If you’re really looking to save, remember to unplug everything too—‘phantom power’ can cause devices like cell phones and computers to keep drawing power when they don’t need to. Turn off desktop computers when not in use, don’t leave things like tablets and phones plugged in longer than they need to be, and make sure everyone is being smart about lightbulbs.

     

    Have you done anything in your home to help reduce utility usage? Leave a comment below!

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  5. Preparing Your Home For Rental

    Whether you’re looking to rent out your entire home while away on vacation, have an extra property nobody’s permanently living in yet, or just have a room to rent out for a little added cash, getting your home ready for rent can be a bit of a process.

    Don’t despair just yet! There’s plenty of easy ways to declutter your home and get it ready for rental no matter how big or how long you’ll be renting it out—it just takes a little motivation, imagination, and the right organizational supplies. Read on for a few tips on preparing your home for rental and figure out how to get everything clean for your new guests!

     

    Protect your damage-prone items: We all have a few things in our house that we have to be a little more...careful with. That coffee table where the glass falls out if you bump it, that stain-prone carpeting, the couch with one foot missing that squeaks a little if you sit on it too hard—you know what we’re talking about. Budget allowing, replace some of these items with newer living room furniture to better entice renters (and prevent further damage!) And for everything else, just make sure everyone is as careful as possible. Let your renters know about the door that sticks or to use a tablecloth to prevent further scratches on your mom’s old dining room table.

     

    Repair major damage as able: Of course, some things are too big to throw a tablecloth over, and these issues should be patched up as fast as possible before your renters settle in (or before you even put the house on the market, ideally). Take a look around for big structural issues like leaky roofs, musty basements, broken doors/cabinets/etc, and get those repaired before you welcome your new guests, or before they move in at all.

     

    Declutter what isn’t needed: There’s going to be something of a balancing act to strike when it comes to decluttering your home for renters. Some things may be better left for them—excess plates and dishes, that stack of bath towels you never use—but some items could get tossed out no matter who’s renting from you. Ditch things like stacks of old magazines, dead batteries, ancient phone chargers (you know, what you could be decluttering anyway) to both free up space and make your home a little more appealing to potential renters.

     

    Work on curb appealbut not too hard: Speaking of, a good tip for renters is to try and make your home seem aesthetically pleasing and comfortable from the first glance, like a mowed lawn and trimmed hedges. That being said, try to avoid making it look like it’ll be a pain to upkeep. Not every renter is going to want to take over your gardening duties, and having an overly-complicated front yard could be a turn-off for some potential tenants. Stick with the easy stuff like a neat and tidy yard, leave out some entryway furniture to make it look more welcoming, and maybe skip the rhododendrons until the rental period is over.

     

    Leave behind some creature comforts: As opposed to an apartment, a lot of renters move into a home expecting it to be at least partially furnished if not fully. Even above and beyond the big obvious fixtures like beds and couches, make sure to provide things like coffee tables, nightstands, and the like so they’re not forced to bring in a bunch of their own furniture (especially for shorter-term rental periods, such as vacation homes). Things like closet storage and wire shelves for the basement are always welcome in rental properties to help them organize whatever it is they’re bringing with them.

     

    Don’t leave anything too personal: Finally, it’s a tip that might sound obvious but is worth mentioning—don’t leave anything too personal behind in your home while you rent. This can run the gamut from a number of things, but it’s important to ask yourself: is this too valuable for me to leave here (ie expensive jewelry, family heirlooms, etc), not something you want leaving unsupervised (medical records, sensitive documents), or just plain old too personal (pictures of you on vacation)? These are all good candidates for taking with you or moving. Get a safety deposit box for your valuables and needed documents, or take them with you if possible, and clean the wall shelves of those pictures of your last family trip to Myrtle Beach. The memories might be important to you, but the person renting it probably doesn’t care.

     

    Have you recently rented a room (or your entire home) and have some decluttering tips? Leave a comment below!

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