A solution for bookstorage in the older house by Philip Lund of Lund Theological Books
Lots of older British houses have chimney breasts in living rooms and bedrooms which look ideal for putting bookshelves in. At first glance it would seem simple to screw a few battens on the facing walls of the alcove and put some shelves across between them. However, anyone who has ever tried drilling into a brick wall knows how difficult it is to put in holes that are exactly at right angles to the surface, and lined up horizontally. Drill bits slip, they encounter hard material, they end up slightly in the wrong place. By the time you have made two holes for every batten, and put in two battens for each shelf, and have got half a dozen or more shelves fitted you will be very lucky to have a set of perfectly positioned horizontal shelves.
And I see lots of home-fitted shelving sagging under the weight of books because the shelves are too thin for the span between the walls.
The following suggestions have been used and modified by me over the years very successfully in most rooms of our house. The basic principle is that you don't screw the shelf battens to the wall, you screw them to a plank you've fixed as an upright to the wall. As putting screws into wood is a lot easier than drilling holes in walls the whole job is quicker and neater. Of course you still have to drill some holes, but not half as many as in the traditional method. Here's an example:
Click to continue reading Easy Bookshelves for an Alcove.