Determine the Space
- The space available for the shelves is perhaps the most important aspect when thinking about the design. Determine the amount of shelving space needed for the desired function, and measure the wall space available. Once the wall space and the storage needs are determined, you can move on to the design.
Types of Shelving
- Shelving comes in many forms. If you'll be using them to store items of the same general size, fixed shelving units -- those with shelves set in place and immobile -- may be the best choice. Modular systems allow shelves to be moved to accommodate different-size items, but these shelves are more complicated to design.
Shelves do not always need a frame. They can be secured directly to the wall, but make sure the wall can support the weight of the shelves and the items on them.
Materials for Shelving
- The type of shelving should influence the material you use. A modular system, for example, probably won't use welded steel. When selecting materials, be conscious of the weight the shelves are intended to hold. A sturdy shelf is important, but that often means the shelf itself will be heavier, requiring a strong system to hold it.
- Experiment with non-traditional materials and structures. Metal tubing can be a wonderful material for a unique set of shelves. The options for experimentation are endless. Visit home improvement stores to look for interesting materials that can work as shelving. The cinder block and wooden plank shelves found in dorm rooms are a great inspiration for thinking outside of the box when designing shelves.