* Prices may differ from that shown
What do you do when you run out of space to put things? Buy a shelf! That's what I do and it seems to be the answer to many of life's storage issues. Utilising the space-saving possibilities of the wall is a must when you have more clutter than room.
=== Where From/How Much? ===
I actually have two of these shelves in my home; one in the upstairs bedroom and one in the kitchen. I bought both of these flat-pack shelves a couple of years ago from Argos for £17.99 where, amazingly, the price still remains the same today. One of my shelves is used for DVD storage whereas the kitchen shelf is used to hold the likes of coffee jars, boxes of teabags, a bread loaf and various other kitchen items to free up space on the worktop.
=== Design ===
The panels of the shelf are made from solid wood with a wood-effect laminate coating. Despite being described as 'beech', the colour is quite a bit darker than any other beech effect I have seen and is actually bordering on oak in my opinion. I quite like the colour though because it seems to fit in well with the cream coloured walls in both my rooms. On the whole, the shelf is a simple blocky design but still looks quite stylish and in no way tacky despite the slightly plastic feel the laminate gives it.
When fully assembled, the shelf measures 165 x 970 x 148mm (H/W/D) and consists of a two long flat pieces which fit together to form an 'L' shape; with the back of this L-shape fixing against the wall. At each end of the shelf is a square piece which acts as the sides for the shelf and there are also three optional square pieces which can be fixed at regular intervals to separate the shelf into sections. I say 'optional' because they are exactly that - on both of my shelves I have only fixed the middle piece into place which creates two large sections on the shelf. You can however fit all three pieces which will give you four small sections but I didn't need these so stuck with my own rebellious design. The choice is yours.
=== Assembly ===
Thankfully, the instructions state that this shelf is suitable for wall mounting (which is what I tend to do with most of the shelves I buy) however they then throw a proverbial spanner in the works by not supplying the screws and wall plugs to do so. I was irked to say the least and the customary cursing had started early with this particular flat-pack assembly as I then had to root around the house to find some suitable screws and wall plugs. The instructions add insult to injury by not giving any kind of guidelines as to what sized screws you will need, so I was left with only my best judgement to help me decide; which is quite often a recipe for disaster.
I'm afraid I can't remember the specific sized screws or wall plugs that I used, but as a general guideline the shelf is quite heavy even with nothing on it (about 5kg) so you will need some long wall screws and accompanying wall plugs to make sure the shelf is securely fixed to the wall. I made the mistake of using shorter screws for the shelf in my kitchen which backfired last Christmas when a game of Monopoly was interrupted by the sound of carnage emanating from the next room. The shelf had fallen down and taken with it my favourite mug along with some other things which I cared a lot less about. I still haven't got over losing that mug but the lesson has been learnt that appropriate screws need to be used. I, of course, blamed the instruction's distinct lack of guidance on the matter but no one was too convinced.
On the other hand, the shelf in the upstairs bedroom went up with no problems at all using the longest screws I could find in the house and has to this day remained in place...cue crashing sound.
But before wall mounting, you will need to assemble the shelf to your required design. The shelf comes in six parts in total; two long panels and five square panels. The back panel is easy to distinguish as it has four larger pre-drilled holes for wall mounting. The pack does include the screws for fixing the shelf together and despite some rather sketchy instructions the whole process is neither too difficult nor time consuming; it took me about 5-10 minutes to put it all together and once done it feels solid and well-made.
To wall mount, the shelf requires four wall screws (and a screwdriver) at regular intervals using the pre-drilled holes on the back panel. You will need a pencil to mark the holes on the wall and a power drill to make said holes...and possibly a spirit level to make sure it doesn't go up wonky (it's difficult to adjust it if it does!) I found this process relatively straightforward and I think it took me about 15-20 minutes to put the shelf up once I had assembled it.
A nice little extra is the inclusion of some small stickers to cover over the screw heads. These blend in well with the panels and cover the wall attachment screws if desired. However, it is slightly riling that they include these stickers but not the actual screws to put it up, but that particular rant has already been aired.
=== Practicality ===
The shelf I have in my bedroom was bought to hold my ever-growing collection of DVDs and it has done this very well. The total usable width of the shelf is 930mm, which reduces by 18mm with every separating panel you attach. With only the middle separating panel attached I have two sections of the shelf which each hold 31 regular sized DVDs. I feel the middle panel makes the shelf look neater because it breaks up the row of DVD cases, without which it might look a bit cluttered.
The main purpose of the shelf is as a DVD/CD shelf although the simple design allows it to also fit in well in my kitchen. The use of the separating panels can create some neat little sections for you to store various items whilst still keeping everything looking tidy. You cannot however attach the separating panels after the shelf is on the wall because the screws need to go through the back panel so make sure you are happy before you put it up. The whole unit is very solid and capable of taking a decent amount of weight but I would be wary of over-filling it with heavy items such as books because the wall mounting design isn't as strong and secure as a bracketed shelf would be.
The only niggle I have with the design is when the shelf needs dusting. The fact that the shelf has a vertical back panel means that the top edge of this gathers dust and can be fiddly to wipe where DVDs are blocking said panel. A shelf which fixes onto a wall with brackets doesn't suffer this problem but then I do prefer the fact that no unsightly brackets are needed to wall mount the shelf.
Also worth noting is that the shelf can be wall mounted vertically as well as horizontally so would be ideal positioned in the corner of a room, perhaps as an ornament shelf. You can then use as few or as many panels as you wish to act as mini shelves on the shelf itself (that's quite a mouthful). I'm not sure this would be much good to hold DVDs or books though as they would simply fall off without anything to hold them in place.
I can't comment on whether the laminate is waterproof or not and therefore suitable for use in the bathroom but my instinct tells me that it probably isn't. The laminate may well wear if you constantly get it damp which would ruin the appeal of it.
=== Overall ===
On the whole, I am very satisfied with this shelf and the fact that I have bought two shows how much I like them. Despite their simple design they look very stylish and although the colour is slightly darker than I would call beech they look good in both the bedroom and the kitchen of my house. The assembly is straightforward and requires minimal skill and time and when complete they feel very solid and robust (the one which fell down from my kitchen wall survived intact despite making its way to the floor!)
I would definitely recommend this shelf as a versatile and good looking addition to your home but would impose a caveat because of the lack of included wall screws/guidelines. Despite this, if I had the need I would definitely buy another of these shelves and may someday do just that as my DVD collection continues to rise. You can currently buy this shelf from Argos for £17.99 which I feel is good value for the quality. You will however need to spend extra on the fixings to wall mount the shelf unless you want to run the risk of spending Boxing Day cleaning up a large mess and picking up the pieces of your favourite mug whilst leaving your Monopoly money unattended...although your experience may differ.
Thank you for reading :)
Wall shelf for storing DVDs and CDs. The appropriate picture is the first one shown on the argos website of the shelf mounted vertically.