On a DIY failure

Dealing with a DIY failure Few months ago I bought two shelves from Ikea to hang above my bed. That day a long battle with DIY began and has yet to end. Here is my DIY failure…

It all started with a visit to Ikea. I was looking for the best shelves for my tiny bedroom and the best solution was to hang them above the bed. Ikea approves, you can see them hanging proudly on the picture and possibly during a visit to your local store. My childhood memories approve too. My parents were sleeping for 25 years under big boards that stored their clothes, so it must be a good solution. Two shelves, nicely priced, fitted perfectly between two walls (1.60m). Few little details slipped my mind, but they were just that, details… While on a high from my recent purchase (shopping does that to me), I arrived home and built my shelves right away. Then came the time to actually hang them on the wall and Ikea instructions were clear: “Use fasteners suitable for the walls in your home (not included).”. I have a drywall. Few calls to my father and three visits to a hardware store nearby later, I came home with some screws that were supposed to work and a stud finder. It takes a while to get used to using the stud finder, but I got it and found all the studs that were to be found.

At that point I noticed the first problem. The studs didn’t align with the intended holes on the shelves. The DIYer in me though quickly about it and decided that nailing a scrap of wood on the wall, securing it on the studs and then nailing the shelves on the scrap of wood would save the problem, wouldn’t it? Sure, but let’s Google it first, because, oh well, this thing is going to go above my bed and I’m going to sleep under it and it better be safe! So I Google it and what I found was something that I didn’t expect. Most people would never sleep under shelves. Then I panicked! I felt the anxiety as if I was already sleeping under huge shelves. It didn’t feel good, so my next thought was to ask a professional do it for me. It should be safe that way, shouldn’t it? This is were things are today. I am ready to ask for help, but the whole shelves-above-the-bed debate stresses me. So the shelves are in the storage room, waiting to get hung or sold, and my bedroom is missing a valuable storage space.

Calling a professional wouldn’t be DIY, but also not as failure as throwing the shelves away or selling them. My question to you is: Would you sleep under securely fastened and not that heavy shelves? When is it time to stop DIYing and calling the professional to finish off?

It was not the small price that I paid for the shelves that was disturbing as much as the fact that I hadn’t thought it through at the beginning as I thought I had. But, I am more in terms with an idea of mine failing and ready to deal with the problem now, even if that means selling the shelves unused (I cannot return them anymore) in a fraction of the price that I bought them. How would you deal with your DIY ideas not working?

  • I have always been scared to sleep underneath shelves. At my parents house there is on on the side wall, next to my bed and it fell off once. Thank god it was while I was away, so nobody got hurt and it probably was because I stored too many books on this shelf. But my dad usually says that you can put an elephant on things when he hangs them… well, he should not be trusted but that is a different story! Coming back to your problem, I have a few ideas:
    – can you not hang them anywhere else in your bedroom or your apartment?
    – if you decide on hanging the shelves above your bed, definitely get a professional (better safe than sorry and there is no reason to be too proud to ask for help once in a while. And it is not that you didn’t try it yourself.

    With regards to the IKEA picture: Did you notice the small shelf directly behind the bed? In case the upper shelves fall off the wall, they would most likely land on this shelf rather than on the head of the person sleeping in the bed. Maybe you could get something behind you bed like this to make the situation safer.

    Ok, these are all my thoughts on that… 🙂 Let me know what you decided!

  • Anya

    I think I personally would just be very psychologically worried to sleep under the shelves, even if they would be attached perfectly. I have never liked an idea of something heavy hanging above my head while I sleep. I think I would be more comfortable if they were, for example, hanging on the side of the bed (just not above the head!) Maybe it could be an option?

    And I agree that if you decide to hang them there after all, call a professional.

    Good luck with solving this problem! 🙂

  • My answer would depend on how you hang the shelves. When I was a kid, my siblings and I all had shelves over our beds, with nothing more than screws. I’m not sure they were even bolted into studs. The only time I remember one of our shelves falling down was when we were roughousing on the bed. 🙂

    If you are really that concerned, there are a few DIY things you can do to make it extra sturdy. For example, in addition to that scrap of wood (good idea, btw), you could get a couple L brackets like this and pair them with these – I forget what they are called, but they go behind the wall and act as a brace. If you decide to try these, don’t put the screws in the studs.

    If you’re still concerned, you can always move your bed away from the wall a few centimeters. This way if it falls down, it won’t be right on you.

    If you decide you don’t want to mount the shelves, check out this site for ideas on how to modify your shelves for other uses. http://www.ikeahackers.net/