Adding a shelf to an empty wall seems simple, and if your décor style is undetermined, it probably is. Just pick up a wooden shelf along with a couple brackets from the hardware store, and you’re halfway done. But what if you are looking for something specific? If you have a rustic farmhouse, you might decide to upcycle an old pallet. A budget-conscious first apartment? The Ikea Lack floating shelf would work. My recent design quandary was a small bare wall in my Midcentury Modern beach condo.
There are lots of shelving units from the 1950s available, but all I needed was a single shelf (or two). I couldn’t go rustic, as most of my furniture is retro modern. I couldn’t go ultra contemporary, as I’ve incorporated into my Midcentury design a few earthy casual touches (such as a live edge wooden dining table). I needed a compromise.
Here’s what I decided. Leather strap shelves with a Danish Modern feel.
First I cut a 3/4″ wooden board into two pieces, measuring 8″ x 24″.
After sanding the edges, I applied a light coat of oak stain just to add some warmth.
After the stain dried, I applied white furniture wax then wiped off the excess. This lightened the oak and gave the wood a slight luminosity. I was aiming for a Scandinavian light wood effect.
Now that the shelves were done, I needed two leather straps for hanging. Here is where I have a grueling confession for any DIYer to admit. I did not cut these leather straps myself (horrified gasps from the peanut gallery). I ordered them from the Etsy shop Leather EU in Slovenia. (Having them shipped from southern Europe lent an international air to my little Danish Modern shelves, don’t you think?) The straps are 1 3/4 ” wide and 39.5 inches long. Anchors and brass screws were included.
The rest was easy. And here’s the result.
I especially love how the warm color of the leather straps coordinates with the cork light pendants. Modern and fun, yet natural and warm. The perfect compromise.