Wall Shelves - Feature

DIY Shelves: How to build stunning {but cheap} wall-mounted bookshelves

Got Tools? Need built-in bookcases? Build these eclectic modern DIY shelves over a weekend for about $150 – Wall-mounted shelves project perfect for a beginning woodworker!  


DIY Shelves


I recently completed a Living Room makeover for the $100 Room Challenge where I shared all kinds of DIY projects for under $100. Storage is essential in this room – or rather, wall-mounted shelves are essential! Enter this DIY shelves project!

DIY Built-in Shelves

I found a unit at West Elm, and was instantly smitten. It was the perfect modular shelving unit and hit all of the marks: eclectic modern, with a touch of mid-century, light, airy, and not at all ugly! The one mark it didn’t hit was budget or size.

So, I dusted off my saw, hit up one of my favorite people in the whole world, April at Uncookiecutter.com, and got busy designing custom, cheap, easy-to-build DIY shelves, using plywood. April is so crazy talented that I knew if anyone could figure out how to build these plans, it would be her! We wanted to mimic the metal supports on the original. To do so, we painted 1″x4″s in a faux metal finish. If you’re interested in subscribing to my monthly newsletter, you can download a tutorial on how I painted the faux metal here!

shelving units

These wall shelves are simple enough that someone with a basic knowledge of tools and building can make them in a weekend and should cost you about $140 for materials.

You will need a few tools though and of course, the plans. You can get them HERE.

Note: I have 8′ ceilings with crown molding. The DIY shelves as suggested will fit directly under the crown. The plans base the center shelf width on the width of my door frame – be sure to measure your ceiling and doorframe, then adjust the plans accordingly.

wall-mounted bookcases

Ready? Let’s get started making custom DIY shelves for your room!

How to Build Custom Wall-Mounted Bookcases and DIY Shelves

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Download the plans HERE for a full wood cutting list. Remember to measure and adjust according to your room!

Tip on choosing wood: To keep costs down I used regular plywood and as much “common” wood as possible. To make it easier on myself, I used pre-primed trim boards for the open towers of each shelf unit – these are usually much straighter and they are already sanded and primed, which cut down significantly on time! 


Wood glue
1 1/4″ Pocket hole screws
3/4″  Wood screws
Sample size Behr “Black Suede”
Sample size Behr “Amazon Stone”
Rustoleum Metallic “Chrome”
Rustoleum Metallic “Antique Brass”
Broom head with stiff bristles, wire brush and/or coarse hair paint brush
Minwax Finishing Wax
Wood Conditioner
Minwax “Aged Oak” Gel Stain
Metal Shelf Brackets


Kreg Jig
Circular saw
90-degree clamp OR Kreg right angle clamp
Brad Nailer
1/4″ drill bit
Reciprocating Saw

Prepare your Materials

Cut your plywood or better yet, have your hardware store cut it for you. Be sure to ask them to check for accuracy. Having them make your cuts will save you so much time and effort!

wall mounted shelving

Use your reciprocating saw to notch out the bottom of the 10″ vertical side pieces to ensure the unit will go over the baseboard and lay flush with the wall.
Sand any rough edges from all pieces.
Wall Shelves - prepare wood sand

Prepare your Wall

 Measure the location for your open towers on the wall and remove a 4.5″ section of baseboard with your reciprocating saw where the open tower will stand, to ensure a proper fit. Remove a 1.25″ piece of 1/4 round from the area beside your doorframe on either side.

 Drill Shelf pin Holes

Measure from the bottom of each 10″x 92.5″ vertical piece and the 4-1×4 pieces, marking your pin holes using the measures outlined in the plans.
Wall Shelves - mark holes across all
To make fast work of adding the marks, I laid the boards out and I used a drywall t-square with a measuring tape to mark the hole location across all boards at the same time starting from the bottom.
Wall Shelves - mark holes - make marks
Check for pinhole level against each piece. I found it easiest to stand all six pieces upright and place a level across all panels at the center of each pinhole mark. Adjust marks where necessary before drilling.
Wall Shelves - level shelf holes - stand upright
Wall Shelves - level shelf holes - level
Use a Kreg jig pin holer to drill shelf-pin holes.
Wall Shelves - drill stop and drilling holes
If you don’t have a pin hole jig – I somehow lost mine during this project – you will need a drill stop to ensure you only make an indentation rather than a hole straight through. You can make one by stacking two- 2×4 scraps together and drilling a hole through the center using a 3/8″ drill bit. Center your drill stop over the pinhole marks and use a 1/4″(6.15mm) drill bit to drill the hole.

Add Pocket Holes

Drill three-quarter inch pocket holes on one end of each of the smaller shelf pieces.
 Wall Shelves - shelf pocket holes
Add pocket holes to the eight-1″x4″ shelf supports.

Wall Shelves - pocket holes shelf supports

Measure the distance from your ceiling to the top of the door trim you will be framing. Use this measurement for the top support to ensure that the shelves across the entire unit are level. My door frame sat at 9 15/16″ from the bottom of the crown molding – that is where I placed my top shelf support.

Stain and Paint the Pieces

Wall Shelves - staining shelves

Stain all shelves and the 10″ vertical side pieces in the stain of hope your choice. I’ve included the stain colors I used on my shelf in the supply list.
Wall Shelves - staining painting
Paint your 1×4 sides as well as shelf supports. To simulate a metal finish as I did, download this guide I created for my newsletter subscribers!

Assemble the Open Tower

Wall Shelves - assemble open tower

Use a framing square and clamps to assemble the long 1″x4″ piece and two of the 1″x4″ braces into a rectangle. Add two 1″x4″ center shelf supports, pocket holes facing up, using pocket hole screws and wood glue as outlined by the plans and the measurement you took above for the top support. I also added a third support and stationary shelf on the bottom to ensure I could secure the entire shelf properly to my baseboards. attach the open frame to the wall with a pin nailer to hold it in place. You will reinforce this at a later step.

Mark location of Shelves

Wall Shelves - run through
Prepare to add the shelves by leveling them first on each side. To do this, Lean the solid side in place against the frame. Run each shelf through the open tower support and level against the  10″ vertical piece. Mark the location underneath with a pencil where the two parts meet.

Attach Shelves

Wall Shelves - pocket hole attach

Lay the 10″ vertical side down on the ground and attach a small shelf with pocket holes facing down at each marked line from the previous step. Attach a shelf support (1″x2″) under the shelf with a brad nailer and glue hiding the pocket holes.

Assemble Full Tower

Stand the 10″ vertical side up, and align on the wall. Connect the open tower and the vertical side by running the shelves through open tower shelf supports. Check for level then use the brad nailer to secure all shelves to all supports.

Wall Shelves - connected shelves

Wall Shelves - brad nail

Build Second Tower

Repeat steps above (Assemble the Open Tower through Assemble Full Tower) to build the second tower.

Add Center Support Shelf

Wall Shelves - center shelf

Attach 1×2 supports in line with your doorframe on the outside of each tower to support the center shelf. Slide the center shelf into place, on top of the supports and door frame, with pocket holes facing up, and use pocket hole screws to secure into a stud location.  Secure to supports and door frame with brad nails.

Secure to the wall

Wall Shelves - secure into wall

Use the brad nailer to secure the 10″ vertical side to the door frame. Use 2 1/2″ screws to secure the open tower on both sides to the wall or trim.

Add Adjustable Shelves


Insert shelf brackets into the shelf pin holes on all four points. Slide a shelf into place on rest on top of supports. Secure shelf brackets with a 3/4″ wood screw to the bottom of each shelf.


Touch up any stain or paint as needed. Apply a thin coat of finishing wax.

Stand back and congratulate yourself, Master-builder! You did it! Now, oooohh and awwwhh over your gorgeous DIY shelves! 

floating shelves

Eclectic modern style, with a touch of mid-century, light, airy, within budget and not at all ugly! I’d say these DIY shelves are exactly what this space needed!

mounted shelving

diy floating shelves

wall unit


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DIY mounted shelving
console cabinet - feature

How to Update a Thrift Store Console Cabinet (for almost nothing!)

Update a thrift store console cabinet with chalk paint for an instant, new look! 

console cabinet

Welcome back to the third week of the $100 Room Challenge, hosted by the lovely Erin of Lemons, Lavender, and Laundry! So, we’re halfway through this challenge, and so far all I’ve got to show for it is a great plan, a hairpin legged coffee table, and a lengthy to-do list with only a few things checked off!  This week we’re checking a few more off.  We’re talking end tables, or more specifically, console cabinets! Ready? Let’s go! 

console cabinet- old end table


In my original plan (and on my to-do list) I’d wanted to do something fun and different with our existing end tables. But when I got started, I realized the tables hadn’t been working for the past ten years, not for how they looked, but because they were too small, too short and had no storage. Soo.. instead of giving them a makeover, I took them out of the room which had NOT been in the original plan but made the most sense. Sometime’s it’s okay to go from three end tables to NO end tables!


“No end tables” wasn’t going to work either, but with just $70 to spend and shelves still to build, adding new tables isn’t an option. Thankfully, I’m a bit of a hoarder collector and have way too much stuff hanging around – like this adorable little console cabinet.

console cabinet - before


I purchased this cute console cabinet at a thrift store a few years ago for $25, brought it home and slapped some red paint on it. The design is somewhat farmhouse, which isn’t so much me, but at the time I was searching for my style and red is my favorite color! I loved the ample space for hidden storage, and before our foyer-makeover, the console cabinet held center court at the front door and held our winter hats and gloves.

Since then it’s been floating around my house searching for a purpose – at least until now!

console cabinet-before-show other side of doors

The console cabinet had a whole lot going for it:

  • height
  • width
  • storage

The red paint and the farmhouse design had to go, but that was easy peasy to change.


I started out giving it a good cleaning. To change up the farmhouse design I flipped the doors over and relocated the hardware. Then, I gave it a coat of Rustoleum “Chalked” paint in Linen White.

console cabinet - paint can

Like most chalk finishes, this one doesn’t require a primer or any prep work, other than cleaning before applying. I like to have a can around the house pretty much all of the time! I followed up with a coat of Minwax Finishing Wax for protection.

console cabinet - painting

I’ll add new hardware in the future, but for now,  I gave the existing knobs a quick coat of gold metallic paint.

console cabinet - hardware painting

The console cabinet slid right into place and is just the right height and weight for our large roll arm sofa.  The cabinet acts as both storage for remotes and our Wii U console, as well as an end table – multi-purpose is the best!

console cabinet - end

With a few fun accents from around the house, it’s the perfect side table for our new living room!

console cabinet - plant accent

console cabinet - plant with print


As for the other end table, I did some more shopping around the house. I picked up this ceramic garden stool for a steal many summers ago. It’s another piece that moves around the house from room to room, but I think it’s found a permanent home as well! At first, I was going to paint it cream but decided the red was just a little bit unexpected and will keep the room from looking too matchy-matchy.

console cabinet -garden stool

I’ve managed to get a few other things done – The lamps might look a little different – I’ll be sharing more on those early next week.

console cabinet - lamp

I also finished something else that I’ll be sharing tomorrow – eek! I’m so excited about this one! PS. It wasn’t on the list, but I am happy I did it anyway! I hope you’ll drop by.

console cabinet - final


Before you go, let’s take a look at where we’re at with both the budget and the TO-DO list:


  • Update the coffee table
  • Give the lamps a make-over
  • Replace the end tables
  • Replace the large painting over the sofa with something more contemporary
  • “Build-in” the shelving
  • Update or add new accents and artwork throughout the room

The budget remains the same – I had everything on hand for this one. Yay!


Hairpin Legs for table$30
Total Remaining$70

Remember, I’ll be back next week with another update – only two weeks to go! Need a refresher on where we started? Check here!

1-The Plan | Week 2 | Week 3| Week 4| Reveal

Not up for DIY? 

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Be sure to check out the other participants of this month’s $100 Room Challenge. There is some serious talent in this group!

100 Room Challenge

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Hairpin leg Coffee Table - Feature

How to Make a Modern Hairpin Leg Coffee Table for under $50

Build your own modern contemporary Hairpin leg coffee table for under $50 from an old coffee table and purchased hairpin legs! 

Hairpin leg Coffee Table

Hi! I’m so excited to welcome you back to the second week of the $100 Room Challenge, hosted by the lovely Erin of Lemons, Lavender, and Laundry, and to share with you how you can make a Mid-century Modern-Style Hairpin Leg Coffee table!

Hairpin leg Coffee Table - After_view

Last week I shared my plan to make over my living room. We’ve been redecorating this room slowly ever since we moved in ten years ago, without any real plan in place.  Our goal is to pull together the mishmash of different styles and colors into the modern vintage eclectic room of our dreams, all for about $100! To stay on budget, I need to re-use where I can and DIY the rest. This week marks the first project toward that end – the upcycle of my existing coffee table from a massive, Tuscan-style table to a sleek, mid-century modern hairpin coffee table!

Hairpin leg Coffee Table - After Inlay

RELATED: How to create a colorful tray from a cheap picture frame

The best thing? This project took almost no time and little effort and only cost us about $30! #winwinwin 

Hairpin leg Coffee Table - Before Upgrade

SUGGESTED: Easy Faux Pumpkin Craft Idea

When it came to the original table, it had some good and bad points. The bad: It’s decorative iron base screamed fake Tuscan villa on a bad day (I love a real Tuscan villa!), and the finish was so dark and imposing that it hid the beautiful herringbone inlay completely! 

Hairpin leg Coffee Table - Before Inlay

The good news? Well, the inlay, of course, #loveit – but more than that, the top of the table was utterly removable with just a few screws. With a little bit of effort to the top, a new finish and legs, I was confident I would end up with a stunning new table. Let’s get started making that happen!

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How to Make a Modern Hairpin Leg Coffee Table for under $50

What I used:

What to do:

Remove the Base

Remove the top from the base and put the base and legs aside for another day. I don’t have any ideas yet of what I’ll use either the legs or base for, but something will come up!

Strip the Finish

Removing the finish isn’t difficult and with the Citristrip® – They are not sponsoring this post, I just like it – it’s also nearly odor free. Set aside a weekend to complete this part. Here’s what you’ll do:

Hairpin leg Coffee Table - Apply Stripper

  1. Wear gloves! This stuff can burn your skin if it makes contact.
  2. Shake the container well. Pour into a metal container and apply liberally to the surface with a paintbrush. Be sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies.
  3. You’ll start to see surface bubble and lift on your piece. The liquid will also begin to turn to a solid as it works on the
  4. After 30 minutes (up to 24 hours), scrape a small test area to see if the finish is ready for removal. Gently scrape in the direction of wood grain with a plastic stripping tool. For stubborn areas, use an abrasive stripping pad or steel wool dipped into Citristrip®. A toothbrush, toothpick or stripping brush will help remove old finish stuck in the nooks (and crannies).
  5. Use Mineral Spirits with an abrasive stripping pad to loosen remaining residue. The surface should be spotless and dry before refinishing.

Once dry, give the table top a quick sanding with 220 paper – I like these flexible sheets the best.

Download Tea-riffic Labels

Apply the Stain

To ensure an even finish, apply a coat of pre-stain conditioner with a paintbrush. Allow the pre-stain to dry as recommended by the manufacturer.

Next, use an old sock to apply stain in the color of your choice and remove any excess when you’ve finished covering the entire surface. To achieve the same color as this piece, use  Minwax Weathered Oak to start, barely allowing the stain to penetrate before removing the excess. Once dry, apply another coat of stain in Minwax Classic Gray, being sure to work the stain well into the wood grain. Allow the stain to dry for 24 Hours.

Add a Protective Finish

Using a clean rag or wax brush, apply a thin coat of finishing wax over the surface of the tabletop. Allow the wax to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then buff with a soft, dry cloth.

Add the legs

Hairpin leg Coffee Table - Add Legs

It is optional as to whether or not you want to paint the legs – I decided to paint mine with gold spray paint. Either way, turn the table top side down onto a surface covered with a towel, so you don’t damage your new finish.  Next, position the legs on the corners of the tabletop, using the pre-drill holes of the old legs, about 2″ in from all sides.  Screw each leg to the table.

Hairpin leg Coffee Table - Finished unstyled

freebie banner


Flip that baby over, and style away – a cute tray, some pretty flowers and you’re good to go!

Hairpin leg Coffee Table - After

Hairpin leg Coffee Table - After Accents


Must-Have Eclectic Modern Coffee Tables – My Amazon Picks

WE Furniture 32″ Hairpin Leg Wood Coffee Table – Walnut
Rivet Axel Lift-Up Wood and Metal Side Table, Walnut
Solid Wood Rectangle Coffee Table with Storage Drawer
Stone & Beam Miramar Cutout Coffee Table


eclectic living room more to share



you may also like

How to Build a DIY Farmhouse Table with a (reverse) Drop Leaf from 4x4s

diy farmhouse table


Please consider sharing this DIY Hairpin Leg Coffee table tutorial with others by pinning – I’d really appreciate it! Thanks!




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Be sure to check out the other participants of this month’s $100 Room Challenge. There is some serious talent in this group!

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