How to build unique reclaimed wood closet shelves in a bathroom

How to build unique reclaimed wood closet shelves in a bathroom! Includes shallow shelves and custom partitions to sort out products.

If you were to ask me, “Which is the hardest angle and room to take photos of?”, this would be the one!

Salvaged Farmhouse bathroom makeover with yardstick mirror, ladder towel storage and planked over popcorn ceiling

Welcome to my master bathroom.

As small as the space is, it does house a tall, skinny closet I have never shown you, except for on Instagram Stories lately.

Salvaged Farmhouse bathroom makeover

The closet sits to the right of the sink, and lurks behind the white sheet curtain you see on the right.

Back when I renovated this bathroom, I had wished then I had more time to do that closet. Hey, it only took 4 more years…

messy bathroom closet before

Best kept secret ever! It was nasty!

The shelves are the original ones from way back that didn’t even fit the space properly, and were warped in the middles due to weight.

The closet was also so dark, thanks to when I loved deep mochas back in the day.

And the area was never fully utilized. So much empty space up above left me to cramp everything I had in the little I had.

However, things changed when I attempted to fix the shower head lately. I had to dig into this dreaded closet looking for an old forgotten part.

The result was a mess that spread across the entire bathroom floor, down the hall, spilling out into the next bedroom!

purging bathroom product to create new chippy wood shelving improvements!

I should have taken a still shot with what resulted after my search, but instead I’ve included it into a video clip at the end of this post. It’s a beaut…

So anyway, I was so disgusted with the volume of product and amount of stuff I had, it was time to deal with this issue.

So the shelves were gutted, then the stuff sorted and purged. Heavily. Most of the product was 10+ years old!

That is the real key imo… gotta release the bulk to find the treasure.

removing old shelving brackets from a closet to make way for the new chippy wood shelves!

Bypassing a beloved bike ride (whimper), I decided to keep going.

The old, ill fitting shelving was removed, walls wiped down, then the real fun began!

sanding down reclaimed wood chippy white fence planks to create new shelving for a bathroom closet

Here’s how I made the quirkiest reclaimed wood shelving I’ve ever owned! With the wood above.

What I used:

(this post contains some affiliate links)

chippy reclaimed wood fence boards (original post here)

jigsaw

palm sander

measuring tape

cordless drill and drywall screws

Fusion Mineral Paint’s Tough Coat 

(or find a local Fusion merchant HERE)


I’m going to briefly tell you how I did what, however the bulk of the tutorial is better seen in the video (at the bottom of this post) due to the tight, dark space I was attempting to work in. Thank goodness for major photo editing and fish-eye lenses!

How I did it:

a) The closet was completely gutted, with shelving brackets removed.

b) A fresh white coat of paint (white straight out of the can) really brightened up the interior!

I did not use any drywall filler, as I planned to place the support boards over top of the old bracket holes.

c) Reclaimed boards were cut to desired sides, creating side supports and planks acting as shelves. They were then lightly sanded.

d) I will be sealing them with Fusion’s Tough Coat so the shelves are easier to wipe clean. (just haven’t got to it yet)

Using Fusion Mineral Paint's Tough Coat to seal and protect chippy wood, part of a bathroom shelf revamp.

Why Tough Coat is your chippy wood BFF

Tough Coat is an amazing product that creates a smooth surface with a slight matt-satin finish, and keeps the chipped paint from further flaking.

The key is in the ‘stir’. Lift the bottle up, then gently swirl it in a circular motion. Do not shake, or bubbles will be produced.

By swirling, you are mixing up the settled particles in the solution that give the matte finish. If you don’t swirl, you will achieve more of a satin – gloss finish.

You can see it put to work in this Antique mirror post HERE and barn wood head board post HERE

e) After measuring placement, the side support planks were attached to the walls with one screw, then further adjusted by placing a level on top, then tapping into position. More screws were added.

While I did not use wall anchors, however that would be suggested if your shelves will carry real weight.

How to build unique reclaimed wood closet shelves in a bathroom! Includes shallow shelves and custom partitions to sort out products.

How to build unique reclaimed wood closet shelves in a bathroom! Includes shallow shelves and custom partitions to sort out products.

How to build unique reclaimed wood closet shelves in a bathroom! Includes shallow shelves and custom partitions to sort out products.

f) One shelf was designated for product. I’ve used baskets and all sorts of containers in the past, but found everything just eventually got buried making it hard to find stuff.

So! This one shelf I created partitions so the product would be well organized and super easy to see each item.

Shelf partitions

a) I installed the support boards first, then placed one shelf board on top as usual.

b) The next shelf board was placed standing upright on its side, creating a partition.

c) The rest of the boards rotated, one flat, one up, etc, creating the sections.

How to build unique reclaimed wood closet shelves in a bathroom! Includes shallow shelves and custom partitions to sort out products.

The idea turned out to be a total win! It worked amazing. And no piled up baskets in sight!

I even installed one board underneath the top shelf supports to add a shallow shelf for small bowls filled with nail clippers, etc.

How to build unique reclaimed wood closet shelves in a bathroom! Includes shallow shelves and custom partitions to sort out products.

Oh goodness. I adore this look and functionality so much.

The open closet feel gives the bathroom more visual space, and I mean… even more chippy wood to look at! 🙂

A coat rack came in really handy to hang towels, clothes, and even my hairdryer and flat iron.

How to build unique reclaimed wood closet shelves in a bathroom! Includes shallow shelves and custom partitions to sort out products.

How to build unique reclaimed wood closet shelves in a bathroom! Includes shallow shelves and custom partitions to sort out products.

I found rolling up the towels offered more room, while making them super easy to grab.

And they look kinda spa like!

messy bathroom closet before

How to build unique reclaimed wood closet shelves in a bathroom! Includes shallow shelves and custom partitions to sort out products.

Bright white and wearing so much more personality, these little free shelves really cranked up the fun factor in this closet!

So much so, I don’t even desire to put back the curtain I was using to hide it.

 

Here’s a short 3 minute video that captures the before, during and much improved after!

(sincere thanks to TakeTones for the free music download)

Boy… keep this fun stuff up and I may change my mind about moving one day… 

What do you think of this look?

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Here are some other shelving ideas from the past:

2-ladder shelving in the front entry

2-ladder shelving in the entryway

rustic industrial pantry pipe shelf

Reclaimed wood and pipe Pantry shelf

easy to build fence plank paint storage shelf

Fence plank painting shelves

enhanced pallet wood tool shelves in a workshop

Enhanced pallet wood tool shelf

You can also see many more quirky shelves HERE

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Categories: All Cool Projects, DIY, Junk Drawer, Organizing, Reclaimed wood projects
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  1. Hi,
    I bought an old barn and want to put the white chippy boards in my kitchen on the walls, Can you please tell me the best steps I need to make sure I treat the boards the way they should be to not have bugs or loose chippy paint later? I have been told so many different things I am afraid to even use them and they are so pretty. I trust what you say.
    Thanks for your help and advise.

    • Hi Molly!

      Fortunately I live in an area that doesn’t have a termite problem. So I pressure wash, allow to dry, lightly sand, then seal with Tough Coat which you can read in my headboard post I mentioned in this blog post.

      That said, for areas with bug infestations, I’ve been told the only wood that is safe indoors is driftwood or treated, although it’s also dangerous to bring treated wood indoors!

      If you don’t have termites, I’d go for it myself. 🙂

  2. Great use of chippy wood in your closet! Looks good!

    So glad you brought up the Tough Coat. I’ve got some old painted wood that I’ve wanted to do a protective coating on just like what your talking about for chippy wood. However, the paint has more of a dusty feel to it than a chippy look or feel. I’m wondering if the Tough Coat would work well for that too. A friend voiced caution on a clear Matte spray because he has done that before and the paint bubbled up on him. I was just going to give it a test try on a piece and see what happened. Any further thoughts to offer?

    I love it when I can have open storage options…I imagine he has a since of freedom to leave the curtain off.

    P.S. Is it just me? I don’t seem to see your actual video.

    • Hey Laurie!

      I have used Tough Coat on powdery finished wood too and it worked wonderfully! It will deepen the wood removing most of the powder look though which of course any sealer would do.

      I guess it all depends on how fragile the finish is. You would need to brush this one on. If you visit my headboard post, that wood was so fragile washing it came off! I loved how it turned out.

      I am able to see the video on both desktop and mobile… it’s the one picture with the triangle in the middle. Not sure why you can’t see it… oh dear…

      • Thank you for your input.
        And my bad, my new ad block that my nephew installed was keeping the video from showing up. I can see it now.
        Thanks, Again!

  3. Donna,
    Very nice. Love the chippy paint. I have a rocking chair in chippy paint. Was asked if I was going to scrape it off and paint it? No way! Also, like the idea of rolling towels, never thought of that for additional space. Thank you for the idea. Also, nice to hear from you during the week and don’t have to wait till the end of the week for your posts. Love all your ideas!

    • I have always loved the look of rolling towels. Now I have a reason to fuss! haha

      Glad you liked the earlier in the week email! I pushed myself hard to get this one done and out the door quicker! Glad I did. 🙂

  4. Donna, the open shelves are super cute!!! And I love the rolled towels! Great idea!!! This looks great with no curtain!! Love it!! I don’t find the link for the video, or any triangle in the middle of a picture. Maybe I’m missing it.

    • Thanks Susan! Yeah, I really love the openness of everything, it makes my small bathroom feel roomier.

      Regarding the video, you may have an ad blocker in effect. The video is right above where I say “Here’s a 3 minute short video…” I would try visiting from a different device in case your settings are different.

  5. Hi Donna! Enjoyed your bathroom closet redo. Love the fence boards that were used. I remember those fence boards from your past post and they sure have come in handy. Your photos, to me speak volumes on how to build something. Thanks so much for them. Great redo!

  6. Donna,

    I really like the way you redid your cupboard space. It’s absolutely gorgeous – the chippiness of the whole look has me smiling !!!

    Well worth missing your favourite ride for 🙂

    Thanks for the tough coat tip as well !

  7. Oh Donna, how cute!!! Closets are something that all of us want to look pretty, but dread doing (I know I dread it). Yours came out gorgeous. And as for all that product, well you’re not alone in that boat! I buy all kinds of hair product and cleaning items and then they get “lost” in the back of the closet – (I think I have weak moments in the store and fall victim to advertising 🙂 )

  8. Very unique! When I first read shelves I was like no! After seeing what you did though, I truly love them! I need a nice space in my front bathroom for something like this. It’s not a huge bathroom but not small either. There is no closet at all but there’s room to add above the toilet or across from the toilet. The previous owners had a small but full sized hutch in there. Now I know why.
    Anyway, love what you did with that beautiful lumber!

  9. I LOVE this. It is perfect for the small space and looks so pretty! I think it would make me smile every time I walked by. I might be tempted to grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and just admire it😉