After the success of the microcement ledge shelf I installed as part of my budget kitchen revamp, I was keen to build another one for a little alcove I decided to turn into a coffee station. This kitchen area initially had upper units, which I removed (for reasons you can read about here) to create a nook above the mini section of countertop.
As usual, this was a project being completed on a shoestring budget, so I set about finding ways to create a luxe look without flashing the cash - first stop...IKEA of course!
You will need
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IKEA Mosslanda shelves (or similar)
Screws and wall fixings
Spirit level (or laser level)
Utensil hanging rail (here’s my tutorial on how to fake antique brass with paint for this)
Fluted mdf - I buy mine here… use discount code CLAIRE15 for 15% discount on any wall panels from this store.
Source a shelf
I used the IKEA MOSSLANDA shelf because it’s so cost-effective at only £10 per shelf and it has a greater depth than the picture shelves I used previously, which means greater potential for styling ahem, I mean it’ll be more useful and practical!
Cut the shelf
I measured the width of the area I wanted to fill and cut the shelves to fit. I used a basic handsaw to make the cut. The shelves are made from particle board, so cut very easily.
Fix the shelf to the wall
The key to success for a streamlined and practical shelf is to install it upside down (bear with me!) because this means the whole of the top surface is flat as the part that fixes to the wall is underneath.
Once you know where the shelf needs to go, check it's level, mark its position and the screw holes and drill some small pilot holes for your wall fixings. I was fixing into plasterboard so used plasterboard fixings, but you’ll need to match to the surface you are working with. Position the shelf against the wall and attach by screwing through the holes and into the fixings you installed. Tip: Do not drill through any walls without first testing for wires or pipes with an appropriate tool (I use an electric stud finder).
Once the shelf is attached, fill any gaps with decorator caulk as the built-in look is the name of the game with this kitchen DIY project.
As you will see, I installed a small panel of fluted MDF under the bottom shelf. This was to add texture and interest (I've been adding to lots of areas of my home because it's brilliant). I cut out the sections where the plug sockets were and glued the panel to the wall behind before priming and painting. You can use my discount code (CLAIRE15) for 15% off on all wall panels here... (not an ad!)
You can skip this step if you aren’t applying microcement; it’s not essential and you could easily swap for paint if you are just starting out on your DIY journey. I’m a huge fan of the texture and depth that microcement adds to a surface and regularly incorporate it into my interior schemes. It’s super easy to DIY which is a bonus. I have lots of posts about microcement on my blog - you can read them here... I highly recommend watching all the Concrete Lab (where I get all my microcement kits from) YouTube tutorials as they are super helpful
I primed the surface using the primer included in the microcement kit and a roller before applying the first layer of mixed microcement thinly with my skimming spreader. I was hoping for a more rustic texture for this project as the shelves and wall wouldn’t get the same type of food prep use that the countertops do, so there wouldn’t be the same cleaning and maintenance considerations.
I applied two layers of microcement (priming in between) on both the shelves and the wall behind as well as the sides of the nook (the adjacent cabinets). I didn't sand at all as I wanted the texture, but you could sand to make a smooth finish if you wish. You should seal microcement because it is porous until this point and can absorb dirt and moisture. Once sealed it's waterproof, food-safe and easy to clean as long as you don't use an abrasive cleaning agent that damages the seal.
Time for styling
Once the area was fully DIYed it was time for styling. I sourced the decorative items from the high street mainly. Some of them are IKEA buys, you can read my top 10 IKEA finds here, some of them are items I already had and the beautiful pendant light was from Zara home.
Let me know what you think!