Using glass shelves will help to refine any room from a mundane appearance to one that truly stands out. Glass shelves work so well as a solution to interior design needs. Custom glass shelves will do an even better job of fitting in with contemporary and modern designs. But if you do the installation yourself, you can save a good deal of money versus professional installations.
Some specialty stores that handle glass will have the right equipment on-site to cut, polish and bevel your glass shelves. If they can deliver them too, that will be one less thing you’ll need to worry about. I usually pick the shelves up myself, but I have a truck that is specially fitted to carry glass panels safely.
Glass shelving can be used in many areas of your home, including the living room, dining room, bathroom, kitchen, den or family room. It can add a unique touch to a room that already has contemporary styling, and can make a bathroom cleaner and less cluttered.
The various types of glass that are available for use as shelving include frosted, clear, tinted and more. The more customization you have done, the more expensive they will generally be. I usually go with plain glass shelves, unless you have a glass curio cabinet or some other glass work that you want to match.
If you visit the glass shop where your shelves are cut, they can show you the process the glass goes through to become the shelves for your home. You will also have choices to make about the exact shape of your glass shelves. I use generic rectangular shelves often, but once in awhile a room’s design may call for oblong or oval shelves, or shelves that are made free-form. Let the glass cutters know where you will be using your shelves, too, so they can help you to determine what type of glass will work the best for you. Tempered glass is usually an excellent choice, and is a type of glass that I work with a lot.
There are also various thicknesses of glass shelving, so let the glass company know what thickness you want – or tell them where you’ll be mounting the shelves, and they can probably tell you what kind you will need.
You can choose a custom edging to the glass made for your shelves, too. A simple polished edge is one of the more common shapes, but a beveled edge goes better if you have a modern interior design in the room.
The glass company can also recommend the proper hardware to use when you install your glass shelving. Some of the more popular finishes are brass, satin chrome, brushed nickel and chrome.
Glass shelves tend to be a less intrusive style than metal or wood shelving. They allow light to pass through, and you can play off the natural light by adding special lighting above or below your shelves, or by mounting a mirror on the wall, before you hang your shelves.
You will want to select shelf brackets that accent the glass material you are using, rather than a style that may detract from the look you are trying to achieve. You can use glass, wood or wrought iron brackets. These are not normally expensive, and they can be installed with a minimum of skill or experience.
Glass shelving is used more often for decorative purposes, rather than storage needs, but you can use this material for either one. I use glass shelves quite often, since they really add to the modern look, but whatever brackets you select, you’ll want to make sure that they are installed correctly before you place your glass shelves on them. Even though glass can hold more than you might think, it’s still not a good idea to store overly heavy items on glass.
Wooden shelf brackets work well if your room is perhaps a bit more rustic. They are very serviceable, and will properly hold your shelves, as long as they’re the right size. If you want a very simple design, triangular wooden shelf brackets will work quite well. If you have the proper tools, you can also cut wood brackets into specific shapes, to accent the shelving.
If you don’t have the money to spend for custom shelves, you can buy glass in stock sizes, which may work for the room you are shelving. If you want to use these to make your own shelving, you’ll also need a tape measure, safety gloves, a level, two brackets of your choice, a drill, screws, a stud finder, drywall anchors and duct tape.
Select the size of prefabricated glass that will work the best in your application. If you have the skills, you can cut the glass at home with a glass cutter, but I wouldn’t recommend this if you haven’t had any experience in this area. As a rule, a simple shelf made from tempered glass will work well. If you are buying prefabricated glass, you may still be able to get the company where you purchase the glass to add a different type of edge, without incurring much of an additional cost. Ask them if they would be willing to do that for you, since you probably don’t have the tools to make the edge properly.
Use a pencil to mark your walls where the shelving will be hung. You’ll want to be mounting your brackets into a stud, so locate those while you are deciding exactly where your shelves will hang. A stud finder is fairly easy to use, and it will ensure that your shelving is mounted in a way that the weight on the shelves won’t pull your screws out of the wall.
Drill small pilot holes in the wall, and push your anchors into those holes. Then you can screw your brackets into the stud behind the wall.
Once you have the brackets in place, all you have to do is to place the glass shelves on top of your brackets. If your brackets have notches in them, make sure that the glass rests there, for maximum support.