There are a few routes to buying alcove shelving; Ikea? DIY shelving? Cabinetmakers? or from Europe? but where do you begin, below we looked at several routes. We have included our own alcove design guide and prices towards the end of the post and will be adding a step by step process for designing and fitting the ON&ON shelving system.

Where do you start?

We started with the most accessible places to buy wall shelving. We looked into freestanding units at John lewis, Habitat and a few others. Some of the freestanding units are easy to assemble and looked good, but we didn’t like the unused space around them.

Freestanding alcoce shelving
Freestanding alcove shelving

We thought the units or bookcases looked like an after thought or later addition to our rooms. We wanted to avoid the Ikea shelving route as we were looking for something better made and that could take heavy loads. Most of their single shelves are easy to wall mount, but are difficult to fit or adjust if you want a large number of shelves in one area.

We came to the conclusion that we wanted our shelving to properly fit the space and for it to feel like it’s part of the space and designed properly into your building. We even looked at traditional modular shelving systems and found the same thing. You can select different sized modules so you can try and use the best size or a combination of sizes to fit, but we kept finding we were left with either too much space or the modules were too big. Living in London apartments and flats made us realise that every sq/cm of space counts.

We realised we wanted fitted shelving or something similar.

So what are the other options for fitted alcoves?

We looked at the other end of the market, in our view well made but very expensive fitted storage systems and this was way beyond our price point and not quite the right look for us.

Bespoke fitted shelving
Bespoke fitted furniture

So for us it was either the DIY route or pay a carpenter, joiner or cabinet maker and spend the time to design it with them. Good cabinet makers like good builders are always very busy and getting several quotes seemed to take weeks. Prices do vary and you can pay a lot, but fitting is very labour intensive and will usually take several days. They are normally built from MDF and so are cut, trimmed and glued on site to fit. Alcove shelving built from MDF/particle board then has to be primed and then have one or two coats of paint applied which will take a few more days.

We also didn’t want traditional looking alcove shelving or cabinets with embellished trims or moldings. We obviously like modern buildings but we also like old properties with traditional features, but tend to combine these with modern or contemporary furniture.  All we wanted was for our shelving to be simple and a well made part of our home, something straightforward and uncomplicated.

DIY alcove shelving

For many people DIY used to be the best way to improve your home, and now there’s some great articles and websites to give you advice along the way. We specifically liked this alcove shelving article www.practicaldiy.com as there’s plenty of detail and if you’re not experienced in DIY in our opinion the more detail the better. Alternatively try Natalie Morris and her article in the Metro 10 Steps to Building your Alcove Shelving. If you can it is a great way to add storage and display space to your home. Many people do build their own alcove shelving and it is really rewarding if you have the time. After you’ve bought all the materials, cut and fitted everything you then have to spend several days priming and painting everything.

How to build DIY alcove shelving
10 Steps to building your own alcove shelving

This is how we started ON&ON, building wall shelving over the years for our own family homes, designing and making something that’s well made and fits. We understand the time, effort and costs that are needed to make your own shelves.

ON&ON alcove shelving

If you’re interested in finding a happy balance between cost, quality and service we may be the best solution for all your wall shelving. The ON&ON system is designed and manufactured by us in the UK, it is great quality, made to measure and easy to fit and includes cabinets, clothes hangers and wall desks.  It can be designed and configured in many different ways, but may be the best part is it’s easy to take with you if you move home. Many of our customers reconfigure it into a new space or even sell the system to any new home owners.

White alcove bookshelves

Our wall shelves are perfect for storing all your books. They are designed to be strong and can hold heavy hardback books even if the installation is onto a cavity or plasterboard wall. You can choose from 2 depths of shelves 255 (25.5cm) or 345 (34.5cm) depths and both are available in black or white finishes or with solid wood fronts.

ON&ON white alcove bookshelves
White alcove floating shelves

Our shelves can be cut to any size making them perfect for small alcoves or even running them from wall to wall across a room.

 

ON&ON bookshelves
White alcove bookshelves

Alcoves with wall cabinets

Our wall cabinets with fold down doors are made to measure and great for fitting into alcoves. Available in our standard black or white finshes or ask our planners about our wood fronted finishes. Cabinets are 34.5cm deep or 36.5cm including the wall fixings.

Fitted modern alcove shelving by ON&ON
Combine our wall shelving with our made to measure cabinets

 

Modern alcove shelving system by ON&ON
Wall cabinets are load bearing and designed for heavy books

 

ON&ON wall mounted cabinet
Loading bearing cabinets designed for heavy books

 

ON&ON fold down door
Fold down door detail

Living room alcove shelving

Shelves are adjustable and can be spaced at different heights after installation creating different display or storage areas.

ON&ON bespoke shelving
White alcove shelving with F&B yellow cake

Our shelves will fit even if both your alcoves are different widths.

ON&ON white floating alcove shelves
ON&ON alcove floating shelves

Our shelves do not touch the side walls giving them the appearance they float within the alcove.

Alcove shelving with lighting

You can choose to have different finishes or undershelf lighting in your shelves. Lighting is simple to include in your design but they do need a wall power socket close by to work. All the leads are concealed inside the shelves and wall rails so you don’t see any visible wires.

ON&ON bespoke alcove lighting
Alcoves with undershelf lighting

You can turn your alcove lighting on or off from the wall socket, alternatively we recommend using a smart plug. This allows you to control the lights using your mobile phone or tablet. You can also set timers or routines so your lights can come on or turn off at the correct times.

ON&ON smart shelves
Philips smart lighting controls

We have tried a few systems and would recommend Philips Hue bluetooth switches and plugs really because the interface is so simple. We will be doing a full review and post about how you can get them set up and working.

ON&ON Alcove design and costs

We have included a design guide showing how our system works and how you can create different configurations. Take a look and download our alcove design guide which includes our alcove prices*. (please note these are 2021 prices).

Our planners will design your systems free of charge. Tell them what you’d like to use the system for, they will help advise you and set out your systems. Our planners do this via phone, email or site visit. They will provide drawings, samples and costs until you are happy with the designs. All our planners need to start designing is the height and width of your walls and a photo always helps.

ON&ON alcove shelving costs
Download our design guide

Measuring your alcoves

Download our measurement guide for alcoves and wall to wall systems as a high percentage of rooms do not have square or plumb walls, we recommend taking several measurements and then giving us the smallest to base our design around.

Alcove measurement guide
Download our wall measurement guide

Free planning service

Our planners will produce designs and costs for you until you are happy with both.  Draw on top of our drawings if you want to make any changes and send them back to us.  Use the drawings as a guide to see if you have the correct sizes and heights on your wall. If you would like to see our shelves the fastest way is to use our sample service to help choose your finishes.

ON&ON alcove shelving drawing
Planning drawing for two alcoves using 255 and 345 shelving depths
ON&ON alcove shelving
Planning drawing – Shelving with cabinets in two alcoves

If the post looks unfinished it is…..We are continuing to update this post to fully explain our system. If you are interested in seeing other customers systems take a look at our gallery. If you need more information please contact our planning team. Many thanks ON&ON