If you have a spare wall, and you have the manpower and tools necessary, I want you to know that making and installing your own built-in shelves is 100% possible. There’s no denying the custom designed look it gives to a room, and there’s no arguing with the ample storage and decor space it opens up for possibility.
When we were transforming Liza Koshy’s home office, the room was so petite that there wouldn’t be much space for furniture or storage, so we crafted up this custom built-in shelf wall and utilized the vertical space in the room to really enhance the design! Follow along with the steps below to learn how to build and install shelves just like these! As with all DIYs that involve using power tools and mounting things to walls, if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t try it. Phone a friend who has the correct skills!The wall before!We started with a base of two cabinets and installed a desk above them, then built up from there. See the tutorial for this desk here! The measurements will (obviously) be different for your wall, but you can follow the geometric design we created for Liza with the image above!Prep It (for each individual shelf):
Three pieces appleply (two the same size, for the top and bottom of the shelf; one the same length, but thinner. This will be the front of your shelf, so it should be the height of the 2×2 wood plus the combined heights of the two appleply pieces.)
6 pieces 2×2 wood (one the length of the appleply minus 4 inches, one the length of the appleply minus 8 inches, two the width of the appleply, two the width of the appleply minus 2 inches)
Pocket hole jig
Stud finder (optional)
- When creating a built-in wall shelf like this, always start with the vertical pieces, then add in the horizontal shelves after.
- For this project we used appleply, which is a finished wood material, but you can use unfinished wood of your choice and apply your own finish!
- To build the shelf, start by attaching the shorter of the 2×2 pieces (the piece the length of the appleply minus 8 inches, and the two pieces the width of the appleply minus 2 inches) to one of the appleply pieces with wood glue, then screwing through the wood into the appleply using a pocket jig. Make sure they are centered, and create a [ shape.
- Attach the thinnest piece of appleply over the 2×2, to create a front to the shelf with wood glue, then screwing from the wood into appleply.
- Line up the other piece of appleply over the shelf you’ve created and attach it on top with wood glue and a nail gun (nailing into the 2×2 pieces).
- Find the studs in the walls and screw the other 2×2 pieces onto the wall. Making sure everything is level, start with the longest 2×2 (the one the length of the appleply minus 4 inches) and then attach the two pieces the width of the shelf on either side, facing out in a ] shape.
- Slide the shelf onto the wood pieces onto the wall and secure into place with a nail gun, nailing the shelf to the the larger 2×2 pieces on the wall.
- To build horizontal shelves off of the vertical shelves, attach the 2×2 pieces coming out from the wall (the ones the width of the shelf) to the shelf and to the side wall. This will ensure that the shelves all line up and that there are no gaps.
- Follow the geometric layout we created for Liza, install just one shelf, or configure a built-in system that works best for you! Once you have the correct measurements and method of building and installing a shelf down, the possibilities are numerous.