By giving you more options for storage, shelving reduces clutter and makes a room more organized. From bathroom shelves that hold towels or toiletries to kitchen shelves for spices or living room shelves for thoughtfully curated displays, there are endless ways to improve your organization with shelving. Customize your shelves by building your own, instead of shopping around for a product that will work. You don’t have to be a power tool expert to create a shelf.
Brainstorm your needs first by answering some simple questions. Where would you benefit from new shelving? What are the dimensions of the available space? Do you want a long shelf, or would it make more sense to stack several shorter shelves? What are you planning to put on the shelf, and how heavy will this be? Once you have an idea of your needs, browse design blogs and magazines for inspiration. You may find a shelf that seems perfect for you and even includes instructions!
Sketch out your design before you start. List out the dimensions, so you know how much material you need. Next, head to your local home improvement center to pick up supplies.
You may use any type of solid wood for shelves, so shop around for the width you want and a type of wood you like. If you don’t want to sand, stain and finish the wood, look for prepared melamine. You should be able to trim the boards to the desired size at the store, which is useful if you don’t have a circular saw or other saw. Other tools you’ll need include a spirit level, a stud finder, a cordless drill, brackets and braces for hanging the shelf, and screws and nails for putting the pieces together.
Building Your Shelf
Bring everything home and set up shop in your garage or spare room. If you haven’t already done so, cut the wood down to size using a saw. Put the shelf together. If your shelf has a back or a lip that keeps items on it, nail the back or the lip to the main shelf wood, using 2-inch nails.
For non-adjustable shelving units, nail together the pieces of wood to create rectangular or square boxes of any size. You may decide to make a rectangular shelf that has four equal cubbies, or you may decide to make two short shelves and two tall shelves. Drive the nails into the wood at a downward angle instead of straight on. This makes the shelf sturdier. If you’re planning a shelf for a television or printer, consider using a jigsaw to cut a small round hole for the device’s plug. At this point, sand and stain or paint your shelf. Even simple coat of white paint really makes the piece look finished.
Once your shelf is made, it’s time to mount it. Use your stud finder to identify studs so your shelf has the support of the wooden beams instead of plain drywall. Mark the location of the studs with a pencil. Use a cordless drill to drill holes so you can hang your brackets or braces, then mount the shelf.
Once you’ve made and mounted your shelf, put it to good use! Your first shelf will teach you more about the process, making subsequent shelves feel more approachable. Have fun and build safely while enriching your home’s value.