making this : diy mounted shelving

April 29, 2013

diy / living rooms / the apartment

our living room wall is HUGE. and of course, there’s a big fireplace in the middle so there isn’t room for a large credenza or console. just one cute skinny fireplace right smack in the middle.

the boyfriend and i spent a month going over how this would look and be configured. drawings and measurements and arguing. we wanted something useful but tasteful, and pipe shelving seemed too permanent and complex (but we loved the look). so we settled happily on this, with custom measured/cut/stained shelving to compliment the wood of our floors and the black of the brackets.

the best part of doing custom is that we were able to customize each shelf in consideration of size and contents, so we specifically measured for the TV, the record player, and the campaign rast. (and we can change the height of shelves whenever)

i believe i drew this sketch 50 times before we settled on the design.


six twin track 70″ uprights
26 brackets
12 pieces of wood at 3/4″ thick :
(4 long)
(2 medium)
(6 small)
wood stain

the project was all about the planning. it would have been a lot easier had we been able to just do one big unit without the fireplace, but we wanted to make each side symmetrical without being identical.

we configured on paper (like i said, fifty times) where the uprights and the shelves would sit, and had the wood cut in three sizes.

we then hung the uprights after measuring and remeasuring and leveling and stud finding and all that boring stuff.

and then i sanded and stained 12 pieces of wood. we live in an apartment with a small balcony. so yeah. that took a day.

once all the wood was ready to go and we then decided where each shelf would go, and screwed the brackets to the shelves. and that’s about it!

sawed, stained, delivered … it’s shelves!

93 comments on “making this : diy mounted shelving

    1. admin Post author

      + thank you thank you thank you!!! that’s one of those things that never looks right when you do it.

  1. EvY

    Looks excellent and well done with putting stuff there and mixing it up with the baskets and the dresser. What stain did you use?

    1. admin Post author

      + thank you evy! i want to say it was minwax special walnut – and i only put it on for a second to make sure it didn’t get too dark.

    1. admin Post author

      + i’m pretty sure the weight is dependent on the space between the brackets and the size of the shelf. at the time i made it, i kinda knew what those numbers were but totally forget now. i think each shelf was about 60 – 85 lbs. just as long as you keep an eye on the bowing, i think it’s fine – but i try not to think about those things haha

  2. Oralea

    This looks amazing! I think it might be a much simpler solution to a wall of shelves I had imagined (lots of floating shelves individually anchored into plaster!). I was curious about the little holes in the vertical supports that allow you to move the shelves around. I thought they’d be much more apparent, especially with the light colored walls behind. Did you cover them in some way between the shelves? Or is it just he angle of the photos maybe? Again, this looks really awesome. Well done!

    1. admin Post author

      + thank you! we didn’t cover them, but i think because of the depth of the bracket, the shadow creates the illusion that they’re not noticeable. would love to see if you try it!

  3. F. Spring

    Hi!! These look SO great! Can I ask where you got your supplies and maybe even what sort of budget the project came in at?

    1. admin Post author

      + everything was from home depot. i want to say it ended up being around $250 for everything… ?!

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  5. Nicole

    I’m thinking about doing a similar project and have a couple of questions: are all of your uprights attached to studs? What did you use to attach them? Just regular old screws?

    1. Rebecca

      Hi, I was wondering the same thing. I have sanded and stained the wood and am now ready to put up the shelves but got to thinking about anchors and all that…. any need for them?

      1. admin Post author

        + hi rebecca, we did use anchors when hanging the uprights, thats what will end up making aligning the shelves a little bit tougher. good luck!

  6. Lila Smyth

    I love this! I just showed a collection of diy shelving on my blog recently. This would fit right in! We also have a large wall in the living room that currently has two IKEA shelves covering it. I like the wall mounted look so much better. Hopefully we can get to this project soon! Beautiful!

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  9. Andrea

    Where did you get that gorgeous file cabinet!? I’ve been looking everywhere for a mini one like that. Beautiful bookcase, as well! A project i must do in my new place! Thanks for sharing. Xo

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  13. Andrea

    Hi there! I just wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for this awesome tutorial. Its been months since I found it, but I finally got around to finishing our own shelves. To be honest, I pretty much copied your layout except I extended it to accommodate our larger TV and DVD collection (which unfortunately takes up way more space than I thought it would!) Either way, I think it turned out really well! I wish I had enough room in our apartment for two sets of shelves! Here’s a pic:

    Thanks again!

    1. admin Post author

      that looks amazing! so fun to see someone else try it. and SO SORRY for such a late response – i have no excuse. but thank you so much for sharing! i hope they’re working out for you!!!

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  15. Laura

    I fell in love the second I saw this! You did a beautiful job with the styling and balance. I just moved recently and am styling my place on a budget so I’m hoping to replicate this look. But I’m a complete novice and will be doing this in my small SF apartment, and maybe fire escape too? :) What type of wood is it? I read that they all stain differently and my local Home Depot has a ton of wood options. Also, did you sand by hand? 220, steel wool? and last, did you use wood conditioner and anything after putting on the stain? Thanks so much!

    1. admin Post author

      thanks laura! i sanded by hand with this sanding sponge i had mostly (it makes it a lot easier for me) and the wood is all just cheap pine that was stained. i did not put conditioner on, i had planned on it but after doing all the wood on the fauxdenza project, i was sick of conditioning and just wanted to get the wood up on the wall!

  16. Holly

    I really like your shelving and much more reasonable than one we were looking at buying. I live in the UK so will try and source similar brackets and wood. What wood did you use and are the brackets black metal?
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. admin Post author

      hi holly – the wood is pine and the brackets are metal. they should sell them at most hardware stores anywhere i’d think. we had a hard time for a bit finding black uprights, but then one day our local home depot started carrying them. good luck!

  17. Tegan

    WOW! I love this! I think this will be perfect for a wall in my bedroom i’ve been trying to decide what to do on, love it, so well done, thanks for sharing!

  18. Holly


    Thanks for letting me know about the wood. What colour stain did you use on the wood? We have the black metal uprights fixed on the wall and just need to buy the wood and stain it. I’ll post a picture when it’s complete.

    Thanks again for the inspiration!


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  20. Jamie Norton

    Sorry if this has already been asked and I missed it! Do you know exactly what lengths you used for long, medium and short? Planning on do this with baskets to store my craft supplies!

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  22. Lauren

    Like everyone else, Im so excited to start working on this!
    I also plan on putting my record player on one of the shelves
    and possibly a bar area but I was wondering- what is the depth
    of your shelves? Thanks so much!
    Great job!

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  24. cindi weston

    How did you conceal your TV wiring and how did you line up your brackets so the shelves would be straight?
    I’m a neophyte

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  27. rebecca

    Can you tell the depth of the boards you used? 8 inches? or are they 10 inches? Thanks! 3/4 inch thick right? Also where did you get the tracks and brackets. This is rad. Thanks.

  28. Rinnie

    This is just beautiful, you did a great job of getting the exact color on the wood. I think I saw something like this for $1-2K at West Elm or Crate & Barrel. You have amazing taste. I’d love to see more of your projects.

  29. Jessica

    I love these shelves and we are going to try and replicate it. What colour/ kind of stain did you use?

  30. Meg

    I absolutely love your shelves and have in the process fell in love with your fireplace. Do you know any information about it?

    1. admin Post author

      i don’t! we’re the only apartment in the building with a fireplace, no idea why they put it in! sorry i’m no help!

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  34. Ashley Herendeen

    Hi Molly,

    Can you tell me the width and depth of the pine boards? Were they 8′ (width) by 12″ (depth)? Did you use the higher quality pine boards or the cheaper pine boards? I’d really love to replicate the look over our sofa, but I’d like to try to keep it as budget-friendly as possible. :)

    Thanks so much!

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  38. Julia

    I cannot get over these shelves. Seriously. SO COOL. I’m currently designing my own rendition of these, but I’m struggling finding board wide enough to fit my record player! If you don’t mind sharing, what width are yours? Did you get them at Home Depot??

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  40. Diana

    I want to make this project, but am having trouble finding track or brackets in anything but white. Did you purchase the hardware this color or did you paint it?

    Thank you.

    1. Meg


      The font is too small for me to read. Does this article say anything about the fireplace. I’m in love with both their fireplaces!!

  41. Jane

    Hi Molly!

    I love your shelving, it looks great! I wanted to ask if you can remember what kind/color of wood stain you used? I’m making my own desk, and have been looking for colors, and I think the color of your shelves is the one!

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  44. Kelly

    Great pics and great job. After days and days of googling pics for ideas on space-saving in my ever-so-small eBay/Etsy/sewing room/office, I came across your first pic and immediately took out the measuring tape and a piece of paper. After an hour at Lowe’s, I’m home now staring at the wall. LOL I have a corner to fill and am planning desk and work space in the design. I’ll post pics if/when I get finished. ;) Thanks for the inspiration.

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  46. Sharon

    I am so doing this. I found it on Pintrest, after I already had my online Home Depot cart filled with items somewhat similar. This is just what I needed to find for some guidance. We, too, have a very large wall with a huge water heater leak stain that I will be painting in Red Delicious as an accent wall and as this wall is the focal point of the room; these shelves will do the trick. Thanks for sharing!

  47. Crystal

    I’ve seen several people ask but gotten no reply on the depth & length of the shelves. I’ve looked at your drawing but it doesn’t make any sense to me. I too would like to know the length & depth of the shelves.

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