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This topic was originally posted in the "HELP" Lounge. Lots of great suggestions, so we moved it over here.

Originally posted by member Neil MacQueen

We're looking for creative suggestions for making this UGLY shelving unit look nicer in our new "Lion's Studio Video & Art Workshop." 

This shelving unit will have art supplies loaded on it (not shown in the photo), but it's a giant ugly thing. The rest of the walls have posters, stars, drawing board, and a video screen. Our sign outside the door features "Aslan" the lion, as does one of the posters inside the room (not shown).  Our other walls look pretty good, but this shelving unit .

photo (7)I've thought of the old "vines and baskets along the top" suggestion, but that's not exactly in keeping with the A-V - Art theme we are working with.

Thought of covering two or three openings in the unit with framed Artwork -hiding the shelves behind them. The individual shelves are removable/adjustable.  

Thanks for whatever suggestions you have! 


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  • photo (7)
Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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I LOVE stuff like this!  I would take the shelves out and:

1) paint the entire wall (including in the shelving area) with the Lamp Post and snow scene of Narnia. 

2) Paint the Unit brown and do a faux wood finish on the cabinet doors to look like the wardrobe.

3) Buy the 2" fiber board letters (available at Hobby Lobby etc) and spell out the names of the different supplies to be stored; ie: BRUSHES,  PAPER, CRAYONS, PENCILS, ACRYLIC PAINT, TEMPRA PAINT  etc. Paint them bright colors and then, using small wood screws, attach the letters to the shelves. They will act both as labels and bumpers for the supplies.

Lots of work but it would look cool. Let us know what you finally decide.

Why don't you cover up a few of the opening with a bulletin board--could attach it at the top with some hooks and eyes.  Then post some of the kids' latest artwork on those bulletin boards. 


Still thinking about what you could put on top of the shelves--besides your bulkier supplies.



Thanks for the good suggestions.


Snix, have you fastened lettering to a shelf? I would think the kids would snap it off.


I like the idea of lettering and it makes me think of putting a Bible quote above the unit.


Also like the idea of covering some of the shelves as a display space. Now thinking about what "off the rack" covering I could fasten there.


More ideas welcome.

Neil, I just saw this picture of an open cabinet with wallpaper in the back.

As I was looking at it and thinking how it draws your eye away from the clutter in the open cabinets.

So I was thinking what if you painted a can of paint in the left hand corner of the room tipped over by the ceiling with colourful paint coming out in a wild rainbow of assorted colours.  Here's a picture (second photo shown) that gave me the idea, although the paint colours they used are dull.  The paint would continue right throughout the back of the cabinets.  Could always ask the congregation for leftover paint or go to your local recycling center to pick up paint for free (if that's available to you in your area).

You could still have room across the top of the wall (height of your paint can) to put your lettering across.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Could cover up the end portions of the cabinet with "movie curtains." Use this type of fabric (it is fire proof and is what I made our stage curtains out of).


How to hang? Not sure that tension rods at the top of a shelf section would be strong enough but you could install a shower curtain type of rod. (With the cups at the end). Or do a rod across the entire unit?  Sew a rod pocket at the top of the fabric so that it could be pulled to the side to access stuff hiding behind on the shelves. Here's a mock-up:


Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 4.10.52 PM


Not shown: The idea of doing the curtains from the top of the room -- more long term storage behind, on the top shelf!


-- Carol


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  • Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 4.10.52 PM
Last edited by CreativeCarol

Why not put paint buckets along the top (much as you would do the baskets of ivy you mentioned) and have fabric flowing out of the buckets - a different color for each bucket.  Then paint the backs of the shelves different colors to match the "paint."

We have painted Bible verses along the ceilings of all our preschool classrooms - this photo is of our nursery. Maybe something about creation or even use your Chronicles of Narnia theme for a verse or inspirational saying. Here's an example of one we painted in our nursery. You could also organize your storage of extra supplies in colorful crates or those fabric collapsible boxes to minimize the cluttered appearance and bring more color to the space. Be sure to label so you know what's in them! Also if it's also an AV room, we have found cute pictures, canvas art and items like film canisters and reels to decorate the tops of our AV room shelves. I'll try to remember to take a picture to show you how we "staged" those shelves.

Oh, and WHAT A BLESSING to have that storage!!! Wow!



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Last edited by Luanne Payne

You could paint each section a liturgical color.  I do like the bulletin board idea, too.


I have some Biblical bobble-head dolls - something like that might be fun across the top!


Julie Burton

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