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

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through a link, I receive a small commission at no expense to you. Thanks for supporting KnockitOff Kim!



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
eclectic modern - feature


Learn how you can achieve an eclectic modern living room style that oozes a relaxed and gathered vibe for around $100 with simple DIY projects.

eclectic modern - living room

Hallelujah, I finally finished – My eclectic modern living room is now a reality! Y’all, January has been a long month. Like many of you, we’ve had:

  • More snow days this month than we usually have in an entire year
  • A child with the flu
  • A child transitioning to a new school
  • The whole family (including the momma) coming down with norovirus
  • A birthday we planned for but had to cancel due to the norovirus
  • A child’s first travel dance competition
  • Enteryourchoiceofnaturaldisasterhere

BUT on the happy side, I’ve been participating in my second $100 Room Challenge, hosted by the lovely Erin of lemonslavendarandlaundry.com!  The first time I participated we made over our powder room, but this time I took on a little bigger project.  Myself and 38-other bloggers took part this go-round, and there is more before and after eye candy than you can even imagine – all for under $100! Be sure to check out all of the other participants completed projects at the end of this post.

On an even happier note, I’m giving away FREE printable art! This Line Art is quirky, fun, and free to you for download!

PIN - minimalist boho line art


But, I digress. Let’s take a quick look at “the before” before we move onto the afters, okay?


And now, the AFTER!

eclectic modern - after whole room 1

Are you screaming right now? Because I AM!

Living Room Makeover - DIY Artwork


My living room make-over took a little more than a month to complete and all in total I spent $99.50 – how is THAT for sneaking in under the wire?!

Here are all the things I’d hoped to accomplish – and by some miracle of miracles, I completed them ALL! I haven’t blogged about them all yet, but we’ll get there. ☺

It looks like a lot, but in reality, not one project took any longer than a weekend. Below are the steps you can follow to bring about your Eclectic modern makeover and the costs associated – both mine and what your’s would be, assuming you are not the DIY material hoarder that I am.


Cost: $0
Time involved: A few hours

eclectic style design_large

Think of your design plan as your visual to-do list. Even if you aren’t a list maker, this will help you to visualize how you want your room to function and look. Planning saves you in many ways by helping you to focus your time, energy and money on the things that are most important to you. In a budget make-over, it’s especially important, as it allows you to visualize your existing furniture and accessories in new ways and different combinations. I use Olioboard.com (no affiliation) to create my design plans – you can sign up for a free account.


My cost: $69.50 – details to come
Your cost: About $120 for materials
Time involved: A weekend

eclectic style - before shelves

The shelving was by far my most significant expense, but it also has such an impact that it was worth the $70! Our room is very long and narrow. Having shelving at one end helps to balance the space – when the shelving is ample enough to do the job. The existing shelving was dark, too small, too short and overall, just wasn’t working. Not to mention, it was falling apart! My good friend April of Uncookiecutter.com and I collaborated to put together a set of plans for this shelving made almost entirely of plywood. It is open, streamlined and the perfect scale for the room. You’ll be amazed how easy they were to make – click here for the tutorial! For information on how I painted the faux metal finish onto the sides of the shelves, click here.


My Cost: $30 for hairpin legs
Your Cost: Around $46 for all materials (not including the coffee table)
Time involved: A few days to remove and apply a new finish and for dry time.

For under $30 can bring an old, dated coffee table back to life. Any table in excellent shape and a removable top is a good candidate for this project. This particular table had a  fun inlay that wasn’t even visible because of all of the dark stain.

The new coffee table is stunning! It’s sleek and modern, and the color is perfect for highlighting that inlay I love so much!

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

Hairpin leg Coffee Table - Feature


My cost: $0
Your cost: $10-$30
Time involved: An afternoon or two

There are two significant art focal points in this room – a large print above the sofa and a gallery style display above the loveseat.

Eclectic Modern - Before Art Work

In both cases, the art displays were the perfect size for the room, but the art itself was dated and not in line with our current style. I’ll be sharing the details on both of these DIY art projects in the next week or so.

eclectic modern - diy abstract art

eclectic modern - sofa and side table

eclectic modern -DIY gray malin art

In addition, we added some fun, quirky printable art for interest. This print comes in a set and is available for free download in our freebies library, or, you can get it by clicking on this link.


So-Bright- Line Art-printables



My cost: $0
Your cost: $4 for a sample size of paint
Time involved: A half-day

eclectic style - mantle

I took a big chance on updating this fireplace with a bold and unexpected paint color but am SO glad I did! Sometimes you just have to go with your gut!

colorful tray

painted brick fireplace - feature


My Cost: $0 – I am a spray paint hoarder
Your cost: $7 for two cans of spray paint
Time involved: A few hours

Eclectic Design - Lamp Before

I didn’t spend a lot of time outlining the lamp make-overs as I had a pretty long to-do list, but the long and short of it, you can completely transform a set of lamps with spray paint. This one looks brand new, even when placed in the same spot on the same console table! Never underestimate the power of spray paint.

console cabinet - lamp


My cost: $0 – I had the chalk paint on hand
Your cost: $20 for paint, $25 for a thrifted console table
Time involved: A day

I decided to move my existing end tables in favor of something more functional – a console table that has lived many lives in my home.

console cabinet-Before with text

With a new finish and painted door hardware, the console table is a much better scale for the room, and it has hidden storage! Sometimes what you have in a room isn’t working. Be open to moving things around your home to get the best fit and function.  Do you spy the puppy in the corner? #Titophotobomb

console cabinet - final

console cabinet - hardware painting

The other end table I replaced with a ceramic garden stool that’s been floating around my house looking for a permanent home. It is red, but I decided not to change it – I like that it’s a little unexpected and not so matchy-match.

eclectic modern- garden stool


My cost: $0
Your cost: $0
Time involved: As long as you’d like

Chances are you have some very eclectic things in your collection of all-the-things. Sometimes just moving a knick-knack a new location in your home can update the look of your room – for absolutely nothing!

Somehow a project that is met with all kinds of resistance and mayhem is that more satisfying when it’s completed. Such is the case with this $100 Eclectic Modern Living Room Make-over. It’s taken 10-years and many almost-make-overs to make this living room one I love – Now I never want to leave!

Ready to see that before and after one more time? Me too!

Eclectic Modern - Before and After Collage

For a week by week recap, check out these links!

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

Again, huge thanks to Erin of lemonslavendarandlaundry.com for creating this challenge and including all of us participants. That’s a wrap, January!

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through a link, I receive a small commission at no expense to you. Thanks for supporting KnockitOff Kim!

rather buy than diy

Be sure to check out all of the other participants for January for budget make-0ver ideas for every room in your home!


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painted brick fireplace - feature

This Unexpected Colorful Painted Brick Fireplace Makeover Will Make You Smile

If you’re thinking a bold, colorfully painted brick fireplace makeover may be just the focal point your room needs but are afraid to take the painting plunge, fear not. This painting project is one that is well worth the risk! 

painted brick fireplace

You guys, I’m SO excited about today’s post that I’m posting it early! If you follow along with me, you’ll know I’m currently smack-dab in the middle of the $100 Room Challenge, hosted by the talented Erin of Lemons, Lavender, and Laundry! So, it’s week four and I’m knee deep in sawdust and drills, trying to get my shelving unit finished in time! So far I’ve shared my plan, made a hairpin legged coffee table for less than $40, and came up with a new-to-me end table solution, leaving me with a to-do list with fewer things checked off than I’d like. However, we’re in the home stretch. And then, I decided to make things interesting by adding something to my list rather than subtracting –  how about a painted brick fireplace makeover!

I knew when I started the living room that I’d need to do something with the painted brick fireplace – what better than a painted brick fireplace makeover!

painted brick fireplace - before

The color and texture I’d painted years before just didn’t gel with the new design, and it was bugging me. It was time for something new, and I was thinking bold, blue and beautiful! At least until I started thinking about it.

painted brick fireplace - before inside


Do you ever have a tough time trusting your instincts? I do, ALL the time.  When it comes to decorating, I love color and drama. I know this about myself, and I my “design self.” So, why oh why, do I sometimes go in the complete opposite direction with simple and neutral and ‘safe’ design choices? Why?

When I decided to embark on my painted brick fireplace makeover, my first thought was to go big (and bold) or to go home. Then, I decided something light, something safe and something “grown-up” would give me more flexibility; sophisticated gray tones. I painted the entire fireplace front, but when I stood back and looked at it, it didn’t give me that feeling of glee I get when I walk into a room that is my idea of perfect. The gray was just okay – it had little impact on me at all, which is the exact opposite of what I wanted it to do. I wanted the fireplace to pop and immediately draw your eye, but instead, the feature just faded into the background.


For a day or so, I just thought about what to do. My first idea to go bold and bright, cementing the fireplace as the focal point of the room – I was nervous that it wouldn’t work.

painted brick fireplace - testing

Finally, after stewing about it, I just went ahead and painted a section of bricks to see how it would look. That small part saturated with color.. it was something! Something colorful and beautiful and so not like anything I’ve seen.

painted brick fireplace - painting

The next thing I knew, I’d painted my brick fireplace blue. Yes, BLUE, and I LOVE IT! It makes me smile every time I walk in the room, and I’m so glad I followed my instincts. Not only is the fireplace more updated, but it’s also the focal point I was looking for, AND it’s the anchor that brings everything else together. I get this might not be everyone’s idea of perfect, but luckily I’m the only one who has to live here – and it makes my heart pitter-pat every time I see it!

painted brick fireplace - side view

For those of you thinking of taking your brick fireplace to a bolder place, here’s how I did it!

How-to: Painted Brick Fireplace Makeover

You’ll need:

What you’ll do:

Before you start, give the brick a thorough cleaning with TSP or another non-sudsing household cleaner to ensure your paint adheres properly. Rinse and let dry. Tape off the edges for a clean look.

painted brick fireplace - paint for inside

Use the spray paint on the inside of the fireplace. Dry.

I had already painted my fireplace so was able to skip priming. If your fireplace is unpainted, apply an oil-based primer, with a brush or paint roller. If using a roller, you’ll want one with a high nap for rough surfaces. Consider using the cheapest one you can find – brick is not kind to paintbrushes or rollers.  Apply following the instructions on the paint can. Dry.

Apply your paint. It is easiest to use the small paint brush to cover the mortar lines and edges, then to go back with a 1″ brush to fill in. I needed one full coat of paint with a second touch-up coat. Behr paint is my FAVORITE for that reason – it has excellent almost one-coat coverage!

Remove your painter’s tape and enjoy the new look of your fireplace!

painted brick fireplace - cute accents

Whether you’re a seasoned decorator or home design is new to you, be bold with your choices. Take risks with paint – paint isn’t expensive or permanent, and it doesn’t require a tremendous amount of effort to apply – even on a fireplace! Take a chance on bringing your vision to life. Be fearless. What you will end up with is a home design that will be entirely you, with features that will make your heart pitter-pat every time you walk by!

Let’s take a quick look at our list of things to finish and our budget!


  • 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
  • Painted brick fireplace makeover

My budget stayed the same. Again, I had everything I needed – I LOVE it when that happens!


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!

painted brick fireplace - Pin


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