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What Is Bespoke Shelving?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Bespoke shelving, also commonly known as custom shelving, is a storage unit which has been designed and built for a specific space. In most cases, a bespoke shelving company is involved in every step of the shelving creation process, from designing the unit to installing it. Bespoke shelving has several positive attributes, namely that it is designed to fit a space both physically and aesthetically, and that it is often of higher quality than mass-produced pieces. On the downside, this type of shelving can be significantly more expensive than a mass-produced unit, and its installation may require the ongoing presence of carpenters in one’s home.

Generally, a firm which provides bespoke shelving is involved in every step of a unit’s creation. A furniture designer or carpenter may visit the space in which the unit will be installed to get a sense of its layout and aesthetic tone, and to consult with the shelving buyer to determine how the unit will be used. Next, the firm will present potential designs to the shelving buyer for approval and input. Once a design has been agreed upon, the firm will build and install the unit.

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Apart from the obvious fact that bespoke shelving is unique and thus will not be found in anyone else’s home or office, there are certain advantages to purchasing this type of storage. First of all, the units are designed to physically fit a particular space perfectly. Additionally, their shelf configuration corresponds exactly to the buyer’s needs. These qualities can be difficult to come by in store-bought shelving.

This type of shelving is also designed to fit a space aesthetically. For instance, a furniture designer might create Mission-style shelving to complement an early 20th-century American bungalow home, or design a unit with dramatic arches to suit a Tuscan-inspired living room. In fact, every aspect of a piece’s appearance, from shape to color to small details such as hardware, is controlled by the designer and the buyer.

Often, bespoke units are of a higher quality than mass-produced shelving. Generally, bespoke pieces are constructed from solid wood, while many store-bought units are made from a composite material. Solid wood units which are hand-assembled by an expert craftsman tend to be far sturdier than composite pieces which are either machine-assembled or put together by their buyer.

On the downside, bespoke shelving can be significantly more expensive than mass-produced shelving. It should be noted, however, that bespoke units tend to last much longer than mass-produced ones. While custom shelving may require a hefty initial investment, it may actually prove more cost-effective than budget units over many years.

One final negative aspect of custom shelving is the fact that its installation may require the ongoing presence of carpenters in one’s home or office. This may prove disruptive or uncomfortable to some shelving buyers. Once the shelving is completed, however, many find that its functionality and attractiveness negate the temporary discomfort caused by its installation.

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