Whether they’re used for storage or display, shelves are easy to assemble and even easier on the pocket – and DIY versions have way more character than purpose-built units or ready-made bookcases. Here, five creative shelving ideas that beautifully blend form and function and are guaranteed to turn your walls into talking points.

1. Pipe Dream

Shelves bracketed with iron plumber’s pipes will lend an industrial-chic edge to any contemporary interior. Give your pine shelving boards a suitably masculine look by treating them to a couple of coats of dark wood stain – do this at least 24 hours before you start your installation process. Use pipe clamps to fasten the boards to the pipes and attach the pipes to the wall with dry-wall anchors to ensure a secure connection. If your screws are not wide enough for the pipe flange holes use a washer for each of the screws.

2. Covert Cabinet

If storage is skint and the four walls of your kitchen are a little closer together than you’d like, you’ll need a compact solution to incorporate a breakfast nook into your space. Surprise! This unassuming hinged cabinet swings into action when it unfolds to form a

handy eating surface. For avid DIYers, the project is easily accomplished with little more than a few pieces of strong hard- or plywood, hinges and hinge supports. Some designs require piano hinges with S-hooks and chains, while others will make use of a pair of folding brackets.

3. Pretty Neat

Decorative display units such as this unusual pair are ideal for turning shelving into a focal point. Where the unit on the left makes ingenious use of a series of mirrored hexagons, the one on the right is configured around a collection of different sized floating boxes. The key to creating a shelving vignette is to work with the negative spaces as much as you the positives. Don’t fill every nook with things – instead, remember that empty space allows the eye to rest and focus on the important things you want to show off.

4. Culinary Contrasts

Doorless cabinets are trending in kitchens and this desirable duo shows the striking effects that can be attained when sticking with a strictly monochromatic display. Your choice of cupboard paint is all-important in the kitchen, which is exposed to high levels of grease and steam. Plascon Kitchens & Bathrooms is a water-based enamel formulated with Silver Protect, which is designed to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mould and fungus, reducing the chances of your units discolouring. Remember to first apply a wood or melamine primer, such as Plascon’s Tile & Melamine Primer.

5. Divide and Conquer

Once thought of as an organisational necessity hidden behind closed doors, shelves have come out of the closet and are making a grand entry into the design world. Open shelving is not only an efficient and typically inexpensive way to sort, display and store your sundries, but can also make a space feel lighter, bigger and more open. What is required, however, is that you be a ruthless editor – get rid of or store all those dust collectors you just don’t use. And if you’re going for a floor-to-ceiling ensemble, consider investing in a stylish stepladder.

For more DIY inspiration, not to mention plenty of take-home ideas for planning and building, including walls, floors and finishes, be sure to visit the interactive Builders DIY Theatre, sponsored by Builders, at Decorex Joburg 2016. Gauteng’s biggest annual décor and design event takes place from 5 to 9 August at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand. Tickets on sale at Decorex.co.za.