Fixing Shelves in an Alcove



An alcove beside a chimney breast (fireplace projection) or similar protrusion makes a perfect site for shelves, as the hack and side walls can be used as supports. Although it is easy to use fixed shelf brackets or an adjustable-shelving system to support shelves, it is cheaper to fix wood or metal support strips to the alcove wall sand to rest the shelves on these.

If you are using wooden supports, cut their front ends at an angle so that they are less noticeable when the shelves are fitted. Paint them the same colour as the walls (or to tone with no covering) to make them even less obtrusive. If you use metal strips for the supports, choose a size that marches the shelf thickness so that they will be almost invisible once you have fitted the shelves.



The actual job is quite simple. Mark the shelf level on the alcove walls, cut the supports to the required lengths and screw them to the walls. Then cut the shelf to size and slip it into place, so that it rests on the supports. You can nail, screw or glue it in place for extra stability. The only difficult part lies in making the shelf a good fit, as the alcove walls may not be truly square. Accurate measuring of the alcove width at front and back, plus some careful scribing  in the rear edge of the shelf will ensure good results.

Workshop Storage

An area where some storage space is certainly needed is the workshop, whether this is a spare room, an attic area, back of the garage or a separate building. The basic need is for shelf space, to take everything from cans of paint to garden products, and also some form of tool storage to keep everything in order. Freestanding utility shelving is the ideal way of providing sturdy and compact garage or workshop storage



  1. Decide on the shelf positions, and then mark the position of the first shelf support on one alcove wall.
  2. Drill clearance and countersink holes in the supports, and use the first one to mark the holes positions to be fixed on the wall. Drill the holes and fix this support.
  3. Rest a shelf on the first support, adjust it until it is leveled and mark the shelf position on the opposite wall of the alcove. Then prepare the second shelf support.
  4. Screw the second support in place after using it to mark the positions of the fixing holes on the wall, then follow step 2. Check again if it’s leveled.
  5. Make up a set of pinch rods from scrap wood, held together as shown with a rubber band. Extend the rods to span the rear wall of the alcove.
  6. Lift out the rods carefully without disturbing their positions. Lay them on the rear edge of the shelf and mark on it the width of the alcove. Repeat the opens on in step 5 to 8. Cut the shelf to width and lay it on the measure, with the width at the point where it should be supported. If the fit is against the back front edge of the shelf, use a block and pencil to scribe the measurement to the shelf.
  7. Saw carefully along the scribed line with a lower jigsaw (sabre saw). Sand the cut edge until it’s smooth and then fit the shelf back in position.