When you are determining whether you will hang glass shelves yourself or have them done for you, think first about what you will be displaying on the shelves. If you’re looking for book shelves, it’s usually a good idea to stay away from glass shelves – wood or metal will be much more suitable for that purpose. Not to say that books cannot be displayed at all on glass shelves, but avoid placing a lot of weight on them.
You’ll also want to look your room over and think about what you are trying to achieve with the use of glass shelving. Check out the decor and the current room furnishings. If your room is ultra-traditional, you might actually consider wood shelves before glass. But if you have a modern or contemporary design in your room, glass will fit right in, and accentuate the look. On the whole, glass shelves can go with most styles of room without looking out of place.
Safety is also a consideration when you’re contemplating glass shelving. If you have young children in your home, be sure that the shelves are installed high enough that they cannot get hold of anything on the shelves, or the shelves themselves. Most glass used for shelves today is tempered, but it is still better to be safe than sorry.
Glass shelves lend themselves particularly well to bathroom decor. Since bathrooms may be small, the glass shelving can make them appear larger and more spacious. You can even use tinted glass for the shelves in your bathroom, as long as the color complements those colors already in your room.
Glass shelves for your bathroom are very easy to clean and maintain, since there won’t be any varnish or veneers to mess with. Even chips and scratches can be repaired, so that the glass shelves can go on letting light shine all around your bathroom. The fact that you can see the decorations or toiletries on glass shelves from any side is also a plus, during your busy morning routine.
If you want a more striking look, mirrors behind your glass shelves will reflect back even more light on your objects, and in the room. Spot lighting can be used with glass shelving in other rooms, for a dramatic evening look.
With the technologies available today, you can purchase glass shelves with wavy edges or curves. These custom designs may be more expensive, however. Check with your local glass specialist and see what the charges would be for special shapes. The advantages to custom shelves include the fact that you know the style and size of the shelves will accent your room perfectly.
Floating glass shelves can be even more dramatic and striking, since the tongue and groove mounting system allows for installation without brackets, with the result that the glass shelves appear to be unsupported. This is an extremely clean look, and will be a focal point in any room.
If you aren’t sure how to mount your glass shelves, you might want to have them installed by a professional. Some handymen can also handle this type of installation. I have worked with many do-it-yourself-ers who had never done glass work before, and most of them were able to mount glass shelving with little or no problem.
Be sure that your fittings or brackets are strong enough to support not only the shelves, but also the decorations or collectibles you will be displaying. Some dealers have the option for you to purchase a mirror that mounts on the wall and has integrated glass shelves. These are very dramatic and they reflect light all around your room.
If you decide to install the shelves yourself, take care when you handle glass shelves, in preparing to hang them. The process of bracketing your wall is much the same as it is with other shelving types, unless you are doing floating shelves, which I’ll talk about in another post. Select your favorite glass shelves from the many styles available.
There are specific tools needed to hang glass shelving, but they can be purchased at any home improvement or hardware store. You’ll need a measuring tape, a pencil, shelf brackets, a screwdriver, a drill, a level and screws.
The first step is to measure the width of your new glass shelves, and then purchase brackets that are the correct size for them. You don’t want brackets that will stick out further than the glass, or it will look tacky. By the same token, the shelf brackets need to be strong enough to hold your glass shelves and their displayed items securely. You’ll need two brackets for each shelf you’ll be hanging.
Next, you will want to plan where each shelf will be placed on the wall. Traditional units have rows, but you can place glass shelves wherever you want, in offset rows or in columns. Lightly mark the wall with a pencil to designate where you want each shelf to be hung. If you will be using mirrors behind the shelves, allow room to mount them between the shelf brackets.
Measure how long each shelf is, and then make pencil marks on your wall from one to three inches from either end of the shelf length. The brackets will then be placed in these positions, inside the ends of the shelves, for the best possible support.
You’ll want to drill small pilot holes, as a start for the screws you will use to attach your shelving brackets to the wall. Then use the screws to attach your brackets to the wall. As you work, check every bracket and then every pair of brackets with a level, to be sure that they are in position to hold your glass shelves evenly.
Then you’re ready to place your new glass shelving on the brackets you have just mounted. You may wish to use glass cleaner on them before you hang them, to make sure they are just how you want them to look. Glass shelves can make an enormous difference to the feel and look of any room.