Need a little extra storage somewhere? This guide shares 34+ step-by-step tutorials on how to build any style of DIY shelves for any storage space from reclaimed wood! Unique, beautiful and free!
I think it’s safe to say, not many of us can say, “Boy, this home has too much storage!”
Not generally the case is it? In fact, I have tall skinny closets that had about 3 shelves in them with a ton of wasted space above and below.
However lack of storage has never been a long-term issue for me… because I just make my own, with free and easy custom-sized DIY shelves!
Why DIY shelves?
- easy to customize
- can be free if using reclaimed wood
- offers a charming rustic farmhouse look
DIY shelves is an easy diy project, thanks to wooden planks being so easy to cut to any size so you can use them anywhere desired. And shelves are so fun to customize, so you can use them for most anything!
And it’s all about the imperfections that only reclaimed wood can offer! However, new wood can also be used for a new, upscale look.
How do you make your own shelves?
- determine your needs for a given space
- measure space dimensions
- choose a shelf style from this guide
- visit the tutorial, then modify the shelf size to fit your space and needs
I personally love dreaming up a way to add shelving in a given space. It generally starts with a rough sketch on what I’d like the shelving to look like, then I gather up the wood I have on hand to try and make it work.
However I’ve taken the hard work out of shelf design for you! Choose a space, pick your wood, cut to size, add hooks, and you can have a full floor-to-ceiling shelving masterpiece that really makes a big storage space impact!
Is it cheaper to build your own shelves?
Building your own DIY shelves is totally affordable! Especially if you find the reclaimed wood or found objects for free!
However time has value too, so it’s best to decide what you have more of, time or money. I love the challenge of creativity and customizing, so I myself much prefer to build my own shelves.
Out of curiosity, I counted how many DIY shelves I’ve made. I stopped at 34. Huh!
So I decided to create a one-stop shopping guide on you finding the custom shelves of your dreams, all from one blog post!
Other creative things to use as shelves
- vintage cabinets
- ladders with added planks
- vintage crates
- tool boxes sideways
- old drawers from dressers
Need a shelf somewhere? You can build a shelf from scratch, purchase pre-built shelves or you can use other items to work as shelves!
From bookshelves, ladder shelves, pallet shelves, crate shelves, industrial pipe shelves and everything in-between, this post shares 34+ inspiring ways to whip up an affordable DIY shelves of your own, for anywhere you wish!
This is not a round up of shelves from elsewhere. These were all made by me in my squishy little 1 car garage workshop. So you don’t need a ton of space. Just a little free wood, creativity and the desire to double your storage space.
So… here’s how to 34+ build shelves… in any size, any style, most for free, using reclaimed wood!
And no need for a professional carpenter this round. Woodworking skills required for these DIY shelves would be from beginner to intermediate. Let’s build some cheap easy shelves!
But first, let’s gather up some wood planks and prepare them…
How to prep reclaimed wood for building
If you don’t yet collect reclaimed wood, this helpful post will guide you on:
- where to find free wood
- how to prep wood safely
- next, how to clean it easily
- and how to air dry it before building
- how to bribe neighbours to put up with your driveway full of wood (I kid… sorda
And just in case you think some wood you find can’t be saved, watch the below video for proof!
Video on pressure washing reclaimed wood
View the short video above to see how easy it is to clean up any reclaimed wood you come across!
So now that you have all your wood gathered, prepared, cleaned and stacked dry, ready to use, let’s build some super cool one-of-a-kind DIY shelves!
Each tutorial shown below shares the full step-by-step instructions of each shelf featured.
This post contains some Amazon affiliate links in which I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases through these links, at no extra cost to you. Thank-you for helping to support my blog!
34+ Easy & Inexpensive DIY Shelves
Helpful tools and supplies:
Each shelf has its own tutorial along with a list of tools you’ll need for that given project. However, for the bulk of most any DIY building project, here’s a list of standard tools and supplies that will come in mighty handy:
Kreg Jig for making pocket holes (optional. See my K4 HERE)
stud finder to locate wall studs
various grit sandpaper
nail gun (optional but could prove helpful)
Adjustable shelving – Stacked plank and block shelving
This easy stacked shelving using blocks as shelf brackets and plain cedar boards as shelf boards is very easy to assemble and change up! Simply cut the wood blocks to the length desired to adjust the shelf height desired, then stack them up like blocks!
This particular shelving is not braced, however you could, by screwing the planks to the blocks, then adding a brace or brackets to attach to the back wall.
The depth of the shelf is shallow, making it perfect for paint, spices, etc.
Adjustable wood shelves
Desiring a place to store my paint supplies, I decided to build a row of shelves for on top of a worktable.
But I did one better. Since my paint supplies change over time, the desire for adjustable DIY wall shelves was a new challenge that I met with complete success!
Simply attach the main supports to the drywall for the best support.
These versatile shelves would be also perfect as built-in bookcases.
Pallet shelving for power tools
If you are not a pro builder, this pallet shelf with added planks and some storage bins for screw storage is a very easy build and can go up in minutes!
All you need is a few wood planks, a saw to cut and a drill to assemble.
As much as I loved the shelf above, when it was time to expand to gain more room, I built the shelf below…
Pallet-style workshop shelving – large
Loving the pallet-look, these DIY garage shelves was built from scratch to mimic the look of a pallet frame. But this time, the shelf goes right to the ceiling for the maximum storage space possible!
Building garage shelves doesn’t get much easier!
This shelving unit can be fully attached to the wall without table support.
Smaller wall mounted only workshop shelving
This smaller scale workshop shelving is built to attach to a wall, while being able to slide the table completely away. It’s so versatile for smaller work spaces!
Simple paint shelf
This simple wood shelf is a compact way to store paint accessories, complete with paint brush hanging!
Chippy built-in wood linen closet shelves
Could your closet use a revamp? Here’s how I maximized the space inside a bathroom linen closet with the coolest, chippiest wood! So pretty, I’ll never put the door back on! This tutorial and look is most definitely one-of-a-kind.
Stacked wood shelf for a phone station
This little shelf was inspired by a stack of scrap wood in the workshop. I kid you not. I loved the look of pallet planks stacked one on top of the other, so I felt they’d look cool as shelf risers. And I was right!
Here’s two ways I’ve used this rustic shelf:
Ladder shelf as a night stand
I love building with ladders because it’s as if the framework is already built! Just add shelves. Here’s a few of my ladder shelf favorites:
When I first picked up a taller bed, I noticed all the side tables I had dwarfed in comparison! That’s when the idea of using a ladder as a night stand came into play.
There’s a shelf for every height desired! Which makes it the perfect companion for a taller bed.
Take a more current master bedroom tour HERE with a barn door headboard
Double ladder with wooden board shelving for entry storage
Desiring a shelf by the front door to store mittens and hats, two ladders framed this quirky shelf perfectly! This shelving is easy to build as the ladders are secured to the wall for the ultimate support. Isn’t it fun?!
Old ladder shelving with crates as shelves
If you only have one ladder on hand, this easy ladder storage shelf with crates and baskets takes minutes to put together!
Step ladder shelf on a wall
This super quirky step ladder laundry shelf is an unexpected twist for a little extra wall storage! Perfect for a laundry room or bathroom. The cats vouch this as truth.
Step ladder plant stand shelves
If you happen to have a ladder where the rungs are evenly positioned on both sides, bonus! Simply add wood planks and your plant stand or bookshelf is ready to use! Now that is one easy shelf build.
Industrial metal pipes shelf
1 plank plus a few pipe fittings = 1 very quick and easy industrial coffee station shelf! Because doubling up your kitchen counter space is always a good idea.
Wall mounted industrial pipe shelf with hooks
Need some additional pantry shelves? This Pantry storage shelf offers a way to hang things, a shelf to store things as well as a sign to decorate and theme a given space! A modern farmhouse rustic shelf can be made in minutes.
Industrial 2×4 and pipe free standing shelf
This beefy coffee-themed 2×4 shelving is perfect for a phone station, doubling up your kitchen counter space! This post also shares how it’s used for a coffee station too.
Easy coat hooks with shelf
This super rustic coat hook idea has a few clever secrets. Not only is it easy to make, even the coat hooks were free, since they are made out of wire hangers!
This project is shown for everyday, Christmas and fall with applicable changing messages.
Rustic wood shelf for hanging toilet paper and more
I call this the little rustic shelf DIY ‘the shelf that can do anything’… because it can! A perfect solution for a toilet paper holder, paint supply storage, coffee station helper and more. See all the different ideas for shelving in this post.
Repurposed shutters bathroom shelving
Two tall shutters dictated the size of this tall and skinny bathroom storage shelf, perfect for behind a toilet!
Wall mounted coffee shelf with mug hooks
If you too are tight for space, this compact shelf doesn’t need much room! Size it to the size you desire and use it for whatever you wish! But it sure is perfect as a compact coffee station shelf, don’t you think?
Wood and burlap wall cabinet with shelves
If you’d rather not have open shelving, but rather, hide the clutter behind something, this little coffee-themed cabinet could be just the thing!
The shelves inside were built to the size of the door, that is actually a framed bulletin board!
Reclaimed wood storage shelving
Because my workshop is rather small, every square inch counts. So here’s one way I love to store reclaimed wood. A simple rolling shelf was built to fit under the table so the table itself doesn’t carry all the weight if it needs to be moved!
Other ideas for shelving
Not every shelf needs to start from scratch! So here’s a few clever ways to create storage shelving using salvaged finds to get the job done in fine upcycled style! All you’ll need is a little bit of wall space.
Black painted and distressed new IKEA wood shelf
Any small premade shelf can be easily customized. In this case, this wood shelf from IKEA was painted black, then distressed to look old.
Table top wall mounted shelving for tools
A small table top became an instant and easy frame for a compact tool station! The table was attached to the wall, with an added plank for an extra shelf!
Chippy pickets wall shelf
It’s decor and a shelf all-in-one thanks to the chippy white antique pickets and a sunflower stencil!
Antique ammunition crate wall cabinet with shelves
This little ammunition crate is cute, compact and the perfect place to stash a few workshop accessories while keeping the sawdust away, thanks to the closing lid.
Cupboard on wheels as shelving
A cabinet found on the curb morphed into a helpful paint cart and stencil storage! Loaded with hooks and open shelving, simply roll the cart where you wish to work.
Vintage sled with shelves
A compact antique sled became the perfect frame to add a few wood planks acting as shelves. Perfect for small accessories or to store a few rolls of toilet paper!
Vintage crates on wall shelving
If you prefer to store things off counters or surfaces, stacking a small bookshelf along with some crates became the quirkiest, yet most productive storage that is quick and easy to accomplish!
Vintage crate and license plate shelf for toilet paper
Sometimes the simplest ideas just work. And such was the case with this crate teamed up with a license plate, that holds toilet paper.
This is one of my most copied projects from WAY back to date!
Grouped vintage cabinets with shelves wall gallery
You know those little vintage cabinets that are kinda too small for today’s things? The cabinet wall gallery is not only fun to look at, but the added bonus is all the storage inside! One of these holds my camera lenses… but you’d never know! Great home decor accent.
IKEA full wall while shelving for office space
One of my all-time fav ways to use shelving is putting these simple IKEA GORM shelves to work in different ways! Here’s a few ways I’ve used and revamped them to suit:
IKEA floor to ceiling wood shelving behind a bed
Stained IKEA wood shelving for laundry and recyclables
These simple wood shelves got a whole lot more interesting and rustic thanks to the stained wood! But the best part is how they were built to go right to the ceiling!
IKEA white painted shelving for storing collectables
If you are a collector, here’s a way to store AND show it all! Rustic collections against white certainly made this antique and junk collection sing! Be sure to check out the before…
Assembled shelving painted crate-style
When this little wooden shelving was needed for my son’s room, I decided to give it a proud pallet style that instantly transformed it! Makes a nice accent piece!
And one more special mention to this IKEA SHELVING shoved into a closet to create the most epic linen closet storage EVER!
Old cubby tool storage shelving with paint can storage shelf
It certainly was a good day when my brother gifted me with this massive cubby storage shelves! All that was needed was a place to stash a few paint cans along the top for the most epic of workshop storage!
Well, that was a whole lotta DIY shelving. I hope there’s a few ideas to help you build the custom shelves of your own dreams! But in case I missed a couple here or there…
And if you love what you see…