Hey folks, I’m back again with another Game Accessory essential. By now, if you’ve been reading my blog you’ve probably noticed the same back drop I use in all my game review posts. It’s my game shelf. After talking my wife into the importance of a dedicated location to store my games, she finally agreed. This process went on for some time. And I might have said we could also use it as the kids craft table. At the time of consideration, we’ve already been having a regular monthly game night, and our collection was out growing out thrift store buffet. So, I went into research and planning mode. More on that later.
My first storage for games was a simple buffet I found at a thrift store. I still have this piece of furniture because it fits nicely in our dinning room. It holds our plasticware and paper plates now used for game nights. Before, it help all of our games and closed. Now, I had to stack and layer these games. On game nights I had to pull everything out, stack them on top to display what I had and then pack them all back afterwards. The packing them back didn’t happen the same night or next day. It was a process of remembering what fit where and trying to stick games played more often in the front. Not very practical when I wanted to start a game blog and needed access to the game box and rules.
There’s where my research came in. I scoured the internet for the best storage solution for board games. I kept seeing the same shelving unit pop up time after time. The Kallax shelves from Ikea. Now, I don’t want to make it sound like that’s the only option for shelves. I want to talk about what I read about normal bookshelves. They would all eventually start to sag due to the weight of the board games. I wanted something more sturdy, especially with two young children. I also wanted shelves that were big enough to store all types of boxes. Some of the classic boxes are rectangular and long while the more modern boxes are square. The Kallax could it squares, but rectangles weren’t accommodated unless altercations were made. Luckily, from what I read on the interwebs, the Kallax was just able to adjust to this. I just simply left a wall or two out.
In comparison, Target and Walmart now offer the same size shelves as he Kallax. All three are 13 inch cubes for storage. For a 4×4 shelf, Target has a Threshold series that runs around $120, Walmart has a Better Homes and Garden brand that runs $130, and Ikea has their Kallax brand hat runs $110. So similar prices when you factor in shipping or drive time. I went for a combination of shelves to cover my wall. I measured what height I was aiming for, then looked to see what sizes the shelves came in. In the end, I went for a 4×4 shelf with a 2×4 stacked and secured on top. Once put together, I also anchored them to the wall. Didn’t want anything falling over and endangering my collection. Just kidding, it was all for safety reasons.
Now, I didn’t just want shelves. I also wanted an area that I could play games and work on projects. My kids also wanted a craft table. So, before I even bought anything, I looked the dimensions of the shelf, measured out where I wanted a table, and then started looking for what I needed. With Ikea, they sell parts of furniture. I started looking for a table top that was in my price range and matched what I measured. Now, I had an estimate of how high off the ground the table was going to sit, but I wanted to use the shelf itself as one set of legs. That means the other set needed to be adjustable. And wouldn’t you know it, Ikea sells adjustable table legs!
Now for the color. Ikea has a lot of different colors to choose from, but with a color chosen for the room already, I had a couple of selections made. I took into account the color of the table top, the color of the legs, and the color of our floors even. I wanted a space that looked good and I was proud of displaying my collection. Everything I had chosen went out the window when I got to Ikea and started looking at what I wanted. They were out of the color I chose previously. Well, that meant some impromptu decisions. I went with a light wood color and dark table top. I also changed what I wanted for the table legs. There was this cool looking adjustable trestle with bottom shelf. It matched our shelf color, so we impulse bought that. It was adjustable, so it would work.
So in total, we got a 4×4 kallax, a 2×4 kallax, a Finnvard trestle with shelf, and a Linnmon 78”x23” table top. If you’ve ever been to Ikea, then you know what process to purchase items. If you haven’t been there, here was our experience. First, we walked the pathway to the departments we were looking at. This isn’t too bad, but for us we had kids that we’re a little excited to be in a new store. They were well behaved, though one couldn’t walk halfway through the store and had to be carried. As we were shopping, we have a little putt putt golf sized “score card” that we write the box number and location on. So when we’re ready to go, we can find and load the product ourselves. Of course there were distractions along the way. Toys, wall art, toys, kitchen supplies, toys, and did I forget to mention toys? Ikea has a small toys section, but we still had to look around because of the kids. Once we got what we needed, then we head to the warehouse part. We had to hunt down the correct aisle and bay to get the boxes from. Once we were loaded up, it was time to check out. Lines can be long, but not too bad. After that, we got to the car. Now was the real challenge. Can the boxes fit in our vehicle? I pride myself with my ability to Tetris boxes into places. After a couple different attempts, I got everything loaded into our van. In a previous trip, for a storage bed, we had to put down the back seats, and wedge the box from back to front in between seats. I’d highly recommend measuring your vehicle and the boxes before going and making a purchase. Otherwise, I believe they can ship as well.
After our close to an hour and half drive, we got back home. I was like a kid during Christmas. I needed to unload the boxes and get them where they were going. I was all ready to get the shelves put together. Alright let’s do this. Then I hear my wife. I guess I can help make dinner and get the kids in bed first. So, after a total of 5 hours trip, then getting dinner made and the kids in bed I was all set to start building!
I started with the 4×4 shelf as that was going to be my base. I had measured where I wanted my table top to sit. I found that three cubes off the floor was a good height. So when building the shelf, I left out one of the dividers for that row. This created shelf area that was equal to double cubes. I also mimicked this for the 2×4 shelf as well. I had to make sure I could display the classics if needed or any other longer boxes. Now, when I didn’t add a divider to create this space, I also went in under the next divider up and still added a wooden dowel. I just trimmed it down to be flush with the shelf. I didn’t want the divider not attached to anything and free to swing. With the 4×4 completed, I test fit the table top. Good fit, just a little short on the width. Not bad though. Then I went to the 2×4. That wasn’t too bad either. I got the two in place where I wanted, mounted to each other with a couple of screws, then mounted to the wall.
Now, it was time for the table top. I mean, that’s part of the name of the hobby. Table Top Gaming. So, I got the trestle built and the table top in place. I got the trestle placed under the table top, and oh no! It was too wide to fit where I wanted. I swear I compared both the sizes and thought it would work. Got to love impromptu purchases. I just simple changed the way I was mounting it. I actually like the way it sits now better than what I had planned. It adds a footrest underneath the table. I found it was difficult to attach the screws to the table top. This was because of the angle I was going at and not having a guide hole drilled beforehand. This was lack of tools on my part. I just had to have my wife push on the top of the table as I muscled through gravity.
I got the shelf up, the table top up, and room all cleaned. I’ve moved around game multiple times trying to decided what the best way to store them would be. You can probably go through my game reviews and notice this in the background. I like how it looks when you store them vertically, but some games store better horizontally. This is due to components not falling out when storing them. There’s nothing worse than pulling out a game ready to set it up only to find out that it’s a mess inside the box. But that’s a different article.
Since I started writing this game accessory, I actually got a second shelf. I got the Threshold shelf from Target. It was build pretty much the same as the Kallax. It seems a little more on the cheaper side for materials, but it works for holding games.
Either way, Kallax, Threshold, Better Homes and Gardner, or even an alternative shelf, display your board games with pride. I find if they are out and in the open, it’s easier to get them to the table. If you have friends or family over, they’re more likely to see a game they find interesting. Let me know in the comments what you use to store your games or how you like to store them.