Bookshelves built into the walls create places to store novels and other written works. These flexible furnishings also add character to the home. A built-in bookcase can be customized to fit available space and storage needs. Building bookcases around windows makes use of space that is often wasted and enhances the look of a room.
You will need:
• Decorative moldings (optional)
• Wood paneling (optional)
• Miter saw
• Headless nails
• Tack cloth
• Measuring tape
• Stain or paint
• Painter’s tape
Step 1: Measure the width and height of the windows where bookshelves will be installed and the wall areas surrounding each one. Decide how many shelves each bookcase will have. Allow for wastage and mistakes when purchasing wood. Wood type determines project cost, with MDF an inexpensive choice for painted bookshelves and solid wood like oak offering durability at an added cost.
Step 2: Use the miter saw to cut the vertical section of each bookshelf to the appropriate height. To create a seamless appearance that does not reveal shelf support method, consider making dado cuts at specific intervals and sliding the shelves into these. In this case, wood that is thick enough to support the shelf weight without splitting must be used for the vertical supports. One simple method is to create a wooden lip for each shelf.
Wide shelves should also have a rear support that runs the length of the bookshelf and is attached to the wall. Metal clips and tracks can be used to create adjustable bookshelves. Be sure to level each vertical section before nailing it to the wall with the hammer and headless nails.
Step 3: Cut each shelf to the correct size with the miter saw. Cut each one a few millimeters too wide, then use the sandpaper to make it the proper size. A rear wood panel can be attached with headless nails but leaving the back open can be appealing, especially if lighting will be added to the bookshelves.
Step 4: A section of assembled bookcase should be secured to each side of and above the window using the hammer and nails. Make sure each section is level before installing it. To make each window bookshelf appear integrated, position each section so it is flush with the others. Later, you can add a window seat to create a reading area.
Step 5: Cover the nearby areas with painter’s tape. Stain or paint the wood in the desired color. After the first coat of paint or stain dries, gently sand the bookcase and remove sanding dust with the tack cloth. Apply a second coat of paint or stain and allow it to dry. If desired, paint or stain decorative moldings to match and apply these to the edges of the built-in bookshelves.