Although neoTerra is not a Tiny House, we have downsized from the home in Chicago so we are always looking for ways to use space efficiently. We eliminated the study early in the design phase so we widened the main hallway by 18" to provide space for a 22' library wall. This allows the hallway to do double duty and reduced the house footprint by approximately 100 square feet.
We saw some ideas on the web that were built with IKEA Besta cabinets and Billy bookcases. Unfortunately, they discontinued the Billy suspended bookcases. I considered using Akurum cabinets in place of the Billys but IKEA discontinued those too so we had to build the entire project with Besta. It was not our Besta experience.
Since we've already installed a ton of Akurum cabinets in the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms I feel qualified to heap criticism on the Besta product. What do I NOT like about Besta... let me count the ways:
- The tops and bottoms of the cabinets are hollow. It is very difficult to put screws through the top or bottom to anchor cabinets together
- The wall mount brackets for suspending the cabinets are terrible. (more on this later)
- The hinges are of low quality compared to Akurum / Sektion. It is difficult to get doors centered and they sag almost immediately.
We designed the hallway itself to accommodate a shelving system with two-foot modules.
The west end of the hallway (in the foreground) has a 10 foot niche and the east end (background) has a 12 foot niche.
Each niche has a full height cabinet and three suspended shelving units arranged to create a display area and four bookshelves.
Akurum and Sektion both use an inexpensive galvanized steel rail for suspending cabinets. The rails come in eight-foot sections that can be cut to length. Cabinets can be hung anywhere on the length of the rail and then slid left or right into position.
Not so with Besta. The brackets are 22" aluminum sections joined together with flimsy steel spacers. If your studs are on 16" centers then each bracket will likely hit at least one stud. If your studs are on 24" centers then you may be out of luck. We used a combination of deck screws and drywall anchors to make sure that each bracket was attached in at least two locations.
The brackets are pre-drilled for attaching the cabinets and there is virtually no left-right adjustment. This is definately a system where the old adage of 'measure twice and cut once' comes into play. Oh... almost forgot to mention that the brackets are expensive.
Once we got past the issues with the brackets the rest of the installation was fairly smooth. Now we have lots of space for books and mementos.
We really like IKEA products but I would strongly recommend spending a few extra $$ to get Sektion cabinets rather than Besta. Sektion offers a lot more choices in cabinet sizes, the suspension system is far simpler and the hardware is better.