Minimalist Shelf – Specifications and Constraints

Even though this project idea came in rather quickly, as with any project, there are several specifications and restrictions to it’s design that must be considered. I have listed some of them here.


1. Function

I am an engineer and a very practical person, so I want this project to serve a purpose. That purpose will be to contain several video game controllers. How they are currently stored, they are a mess and I think starting with a goal for the project to achieve will give me a clearer vision of what I want for the end result and help guide me in my future decision-making regarding the project.

2. Fit the Theme

I have been trying to establish a theme for my room for a long time and I think adding another piece of furniture is a perfect way to develop and add to the theme even further. In doing this, the aesthetic of my project will have to fit in with other elements of my room, drawing from several places where applicable. Black wood and simple is a large part of a number of the items in my room, so that will probably be the guiding principle by which I will take.

3. Dimensions

Somewhat part of serving the function, but I want each compartment of the shelf to be able to fit any of the controllers. This way I can reorganize it if I feel it necessary depending on my changing needs and interests. This will also help to sell the simple aspect as all of the units will be very similar in size.

4. Stability & Durability

I want to place the shelf at the end of my bed. As such, it will probably receive a few kicks in the middle of the night without me realizing it. To combat this, I want it to be structurally sound enough to take those kicks and not show signs of stress from it. I also will probably hold onto the shelf for a while, so I want it to be strong enough to be moved from house to house without showing signs of fatigue in the joints.

5. Can Stand Alone

I want the shelf to be able to stand alone outside of the theme of my room so that in the future it could still be used with other furniture. As many fashion-conscious people would agree, black goes with everything, So that will help with narrowing my choice of colors.


1. Skill

I have not done very much woodworking, so my skill will need to be developed to really pull off this project and have it truly look good in the end. (See my finished upcycle project for an example of my lack of still) I have a great resource for this in my roommate, so I will be asking a LOT of questions in the next few weeks.

2. Time

I have decided on this project rather late. So I will not have as much time as is ideal to design, plan, and build the shelf. As such I will have to make sure I keep myself on top of this project and get it completed on time.

3. Size

I do not live in a big room, so minimizing the overall cubic footage of the shelf while still fulfilling all of the requirements above will be a major aspect of the design process.

4. Practicality
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I want to make something of high quality and something that looks good, but I probably will weigh the factors of whether it would be practical to do some things. For example, I could cut 45-degree edges into all of the pieces so they fit together better, but I doubt the time and effort required to do so will be proportionally beneficial to the finished project, so I probably will not actually do that.

5. Money

We are all college students, so minimizing costs will always be a consideration. I plan to use MDF instead of a nicer wood to save on cost.

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