Built-In Ceiling Shelves

Category: Built-ins

Wow.  I just came across this idea on Flickr and was really, really intrigued.  I'm always fascinated by built-ins and the more unique they are the better.  At first look I immediately became disappointed that we've just finished up the ceilings on the second floor.  This could have been a neat way to use the attic space just above the nursery.  :-|

Luckily, though, we still have to do the ceiling in the first floor bedroom.  The ceilings on that floor are currently 9 feet.  In this case it looks like the extra storage was accomplished with unused attic space but I wonder...would it be worth it to bring the ceiling down a foot or so in order to achieve a similar effect?

You can see photos of the entire construction process here.

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I don't think it is worth it to lose the ceiling space all the way across the room with such a small space as they have in the pictures. You could gain alot more storage by building this around the entire perimeter of the walls down from the ceiling or just along one wall. It would allow the main area to stay open but allowing storage to be viewable from the entire room.

That seems a good idea, but a fairly major construction project. Is Aaron tall enough to reach up there without a stool??? POPS --30--

I don't want to seem disagreeable but personally I don't like it. It makes the room look really dark and gives the impression of sitting in a cave. Like you have this low area around the edges but a high point only in the top center. It definitely is interesting but Saple is right, you'd gain much much more by putting the bookcase around the outside edge of the room, of course you wouldn't have the same effect....

Any who.

I think it's great! I can see that they were going for an early 19th century nautical theme, and the dark room looks like a Empire-era ship's cabin--brilliant! We have recessed skylights in our bedroom ceiling that would look a lot more interesting with a shelf for plants or something just inside the recess...


All the more resaon to seriously discover the direction of the ceiling / floor joists in the living room. It really would be great, wouldn't it ? I'll lend a hand !


That's a pretty frickin' cool idea. I've never seen anything quite like that. I don't know if it would be worse losing a foot of ceiling space. Maybe if you put the shelf around the perimeter of the room, kinda like a bulkhead. I think you would get the same effect while maintaining a 9' ceiling height through most of the room.

It is unique, and I could see the effect working all right as a SHALLOW bulkhead around the perimeter of the room, but it seems like a beastly amount of work for the payoff. Did you notice just how much tight drywall cornering is involved? For little (if any) more labor I think you could get the same effect but richer by just doing it as a fine carpentry project.
Another thing to consider is how will it look in the context of other rooms. If you walk into that room from another one with a 9' ceiling, will it actually seem as if this room has a raised portion of ceiling, or will the effect be of the ceiling dropping in on you?

And as to reclaiming attic space...
In no time you'll be tinkering with what you've "finished"~ You've got the bug. Maybe prioritize this as something to do when turning Grace's room from a nursery into a young lady's bedroom.

I think it's kind of interesting but I like to be able to get at my books more easily ;o)

Definitely makes a statement if you have the room to spare. I like the idea of shelving running around a room at the ceiling with books on it too. I've seen this done in old world style kitchens with plates, dishes and cookbooks stored. We are all about finding storage in our place because it's not that spacious...

It's a waste of time, money and ceiling space. Whats the sense except for conversation, you can't reach the books unless your a mongloid bigfoot.

I've seen this done in my friends home. You don't have to lower the ceiling. You actually frame UP into the attic. The rooms ceiling height remains the same. I would say it's not an option if you plan to finish your attic later.

I agree with Tristan -- If you've got a peaked roof over your attic, you're going up in the middle, not bringing the rest of the room down. That peak is also what would rule out shelves around the perimeter. This is really quite beautiful, in my opinion.

You could always just do a lay-up when you wanted a particular book. Reshelving might be more of a problem though...

I am just passing through really, but why not comment? I do this, renovations, for a living.

What you aren't seeing or fully realizing here is that the ceiling "niche" (can't think of the word I am looking for) is really about twenty two inches high really, and that is a best guess estimate. You definently don't want to cut down the height of a nine foot ceiling that much. Even if you only lowered it a foot it really isn't worth it.

I would lean towards simply doing some open shelving bookcases at the ceiling height on the edge of the room. You can dress it up with a copper rail and a nice ladder to reach everything. It would give the same effect really, just put some crown on the top of the shelving to help dress it up.

(The painting on the ceiling in that picture looks really good though!)


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