I guess I should say up front, these are cheater natural wood floating shelves. I’m still a beginner with my carpentry skills, so I can’t do any fancy stuff, but this worked, was easy, I was able to complete this project completely by myself in about an hour of total time (spread over a few days, but still) and with lumber leftover from other projects! Oh yeah, and it looks pretty good too 🙂
If you’ve been following along, I’m redesigning our laundry room/half bath for the $100 Room Challenge. The wire shelving in this space assaulted my eyes whenever I was in there:
I just hated it. This is the bathroom that our guests usually use, so I really needed to kick it up a notch. I decided to try my hand at floating shelves. But I needed something easy, because I’m no carpenter.
FYI, this will only work if you are working in a space that is wall-to-wall.
Here’s how I did it.
Natural wood floating shelves: the step by step
Step 1- gather your materials. To do this, you’ll need to determine the dimensions you want your floating shelves to be so you can figure out the lumber you’ll need. I wanted mine to be around a foot wide, so I used 1X 12’s, but you could definitely make your shelves wider or narrower. And, my length was 63 inches wall to wall.
You’ll need: (this is enough for two shelves)
- Lumber for support strips (I used furring strips, which are super inexpensive, and I used less than one furring strip total)
- Lumber for shelves (I used 2- 1X12)
- 2-1X 4’s
- Screws- I used 2.5 inch wood screws
- A saw that can cut your lumber to size. We have a Makita circular saw. It’s so old that I can’t find the exact one to link online, but I love it, and Michael’s had it and used it forever. I think Makita makes a very good product, in my limited experience.
- A level
- A hammer
- A drill
- Drywall anchors if you aren’t drilling into a stud
Step 2- Determine the placement of your shelves.
I always eyeball this first, mark on the wall with pencil where I think I want them to go, then use a level to make sure my line is even. I have an old house with uneven floors, so measuring from the floor up isn’t always a sure thing- I just seem to have better luck with eyeballing first and going from there.
Mark on the opposite walls where you will be placing your shelf supports- then check for level.
So, here’s a little graphic I made of this step- this room is so small it was hard to get a good pic to use that helped explain the shelf placement really well:
Your shelf supports will be attached to side wall “A” and side wall “B”. You need to mark the placement on both spots on the walls and make sure they are level. The shelves will span the back wall. Make sense?
Check to see if you will be able to screw into a stud. If not, go ahead and screw in your drywall anchors. You’ll need these because the weight of the shelves will be too much for the drywall alone if you aren’t in a stud.
I screwed three screws in each support, so plan on that many drywall anchors for each support if needed.
Step 2- cut your furring strips (or whatever lumber you are planning to use for your wall supports) so they are just a bit smaller than the width of your shelves.
My shelves were around a foot wide (actually 11 1/4 inches) so I cut the supports to about 10 inches.
Step 3- Using your marks from Step 1, screw your supports into the wall (as shown above, side wall A and side wall B).
Make sure you either screw into a stud or into the drywall anchors you placed earlier.
Hard to tell in these pics because the room is so small I couldn’t capture both walls in my camera lens, but both walls (A and B) have the supports attached. Do this for every shelf that you want. I wanted two shelves, so I placed two supports for each shelf (1 on each side, 4 total).
Here’s the graphic with the supports in place attached to both side walls.
Step 4- If you haven’t already, cut your lumber to size.
And dry fit it in place on your supports to make sure it is a perfect fit:
Step 5: Nail your shelf lumber (the 1X12) to the 1X4 so that the 1X4 makes a thick “lip” over the front of the shelf.
I only used 3 nails-one at each end and one in the middle.
(PS- our deck still hasn’t recovered from the refinishing treatment that we did to it (read all about it here) which is why you see this terrible mat and all of that peeling in the background. We’re facing the fact that we’re going to have to tear it down.)
Step 6- Slide the shelf on the supports. You’re done!
Well, kinda. I opted to paint the supports white to match the walls and help them recede a bit, and that makes a huge difference visually. But I also liked how they looked natural too. If you leave them unpainted, just be sure that you use matching screws and either match your screws to the wood or go for contrast and style (dark screws against the light wood would look fab!). And, do a better job than I did at screwing them in straight 🙂
Okay, the big reveal is coming tomorrow…so I’m not showing any more of the whole shelves put together because it would give it all away. But here’s a couple of close ups of them all styled up and can I say I just love them!
Notice how painting the support white really does help it visually recede?
All right guys, tomorrow is the big reveal of this room. And all I have to say about it is…you’re probably either gonna love it or hate it. These pics don’t give it away AT ALL! 🙂
See you tomorrow!
Update- see the completed laundry/bathroom here!
Edit, 8 mos later: I’ve had tons of questions about how these shelves are holding up without support along that back wall. They’re doing great! They’re just as strong as the day I built them. The shelves are very sturdy, and we store all kinds of stuff on them. I’m very happy with them!
Here are links to products in this post (affiliate):
Pineapple- thrifted, but here’s similar