Alternative Wall Shelving

When I remodeled our basement Rec Room to create my “Man Cave / Game Room” I got rid of a freestanding fireplace and two built-in floor to ceiling shelves on either side.  To complete the remodeling, I needed to come up with suitable replacements.  Some of the shelf space would be replaced by new shelves I built under the stairs but those would only be used to store the games.

The renovation was partly needed to waterproof the hidden concrete block wall.  After a few coats of DryLoc and paint, I decided to leave the concrete wall exposed.  It added to the ‘manly look’ of the new Man Cave, but it would also allow me to keep an eye on how well the waterproofing worked.  It realized it would be counter productive to mount any shelves to the wall since any bolts, screws or nails would jeopardize all the work I’d done to keep the water out.

I decided on two ideas.  A set of shelves would be built from the floor up out of boards and blocks under and beside the large window.  A second set of shelves against the long wall would be based on a few Pinterest posts I’d seen made out of boards and pipe and hung from the rafters.


Years ago I made a set of shelves from several 12″ x 12″ x 4″ decorative hollow blocks with a diagonal piece in the middle for my college dorm room.  That was the inspiration for this – plus I had a few left over… until I broke a couple moving them.  AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!!!

Anyway, I needed new ones.  I found a local block maker who told me YES! They were the ones who made and sold those diagonal decorative blocks a couple of decades ago, but NO! They no longer make them.  The sold the molding machine overseas.  On the upside he said the ones I have left are probably worth something to someone.

They had nothing close to what I wanted so after talking to the owner I left.  Something was nagging at me.  Surely I could come up with SOMETHING that would work!  I turned my car around and went back to talk to the owner.  After explaining what I needed them for he had an idea.  They had 12″ x 12″ x 8″ blocks with a HORIZONTAL support that they could cut in half… for pennies.  REALLY!  Cut me up a bunch!

I painted these black and finished all the boards with Boiled Linseed Oil.

When building the shelves I left the short boards by the windows as floating by putting two blocks on the side nearest the wall and making sure to keep blocks on top of those to carry the weight.  It gives a nice updated look to the standard block and board shelves.


I could have made this cheaper by going with black pipe, but that would have involved cleaning (they tend to be very greasy) and spray painting since I wanted the galvanized look.  This isn’t difficult, but it takes some planning and a lot of imagination.  You also have to balance aesthetics with the practicality of supporting the weight of the boards and items on them.  As I said earlier, I mounted these to the exposed ceiling supports.  Everything is solid!

I purchased several different lengths and bends as well as a valve to keep it interesting.  I also staggered where the pipes went as much as possible.  I think it turned out great!

I’m sorry for not taking pictures of the build process, but it’s not like there is much to them.  Here are some photos of the end result.  Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

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