DIY: Nook Book Shelves and Benchtop

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Remember how I mentioned that our carpenter had installed a few simple shelves in our nook to hold our TV components? I like the easy bracket system he had come up with, so I duplicated it recently when I wanted to fill out both sides of the nook with shelves.

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I pulled off the old shelves, but kept the brackets and cut down 1x2" primed pine boards with a miter saw to fit the back and sides. The side pieces were finished off with a 45-degree angle cut.

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The first bracket installation is the most important. Starting with the bottom most shelf, I made one measurement and mark on one of the walls. 

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Then the most important part after that first measurement is to use a level to mark all the way around the nook to help you know where to hang the brackets. 

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I used an 18-gauge nailer to hang the back bracket first, right on the line, and then the side brackets.

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Once you have the first set of brackets perfectly level and installed, the rest of the measurements are easy. Just figure out the distance you want between each shelf, measure up from the bracket and make a little mark. If the first shelf is level, the others will be too.

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When all the brackets were installed, I filled all the nail holes with spackle before giving the whole nook a fresh paint of gray paint.

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I used laminated pine boards for the actual shelves. Home Depot cut them all to size for me and I stained them with half classic oak and half driftwood stains.

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The pine boards are just sitting on top of the brackets, but I could have nailed or glued them in place if I was more worried about it. I'm so happy with how these shelves turned out. I really love the thicker, more chunky look!  

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I don't know why installing shelves has sort of felt too hard-core for me up until now. It's a crazy simple project!

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The bench solution was simple too! I didn't want to sew a box cushion, so I had a piece of 1/4" plywood cut to fit the seat area and used a coupon to buy a piece of 2" upholstery foam at Joanns.

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The bench is wider than the full width of the fabric. so I had to seam the fabric. The pattern made it pretty easy to line everything up, and a really good pressing fixes even less-than-perfect seams. In the end it's pretty hard to tell where the seam is on the bench. 

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I think the key to a really soft and fluffy bench top is a good, high-loft batting layer. I used my trusty handheld staple gun to attach the seamed fabric. I went a little overkill on the stapling so there would be no pulling on the linen. (You can see where I seamed the fabric on the right side of the bench here below - it's not that noticeable!)

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I think the bench turned out nice. The pattern is fun and the seat is a comfy, inviting place now!

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Have you made any shelving or bench tops yourself? Any tips you'd like to add?
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