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Constructing a Built-In Shelving Unit

Project Overview

Constructing a Built-In Shelving Unit

Want a more finished look for your new shelves? Then consider taking the time to plan and construct a built-in shelf system. Tucked between two windows or between a wall and a window or door, it will take on the look of custom furniture, because you can plan it to fit exactly into your available space.

6 Steps

  1. Measure the Height and Width of the Area
  2. Mark and Cut the Panels
  3. Use Scrap Pegboard as a Guide
  4. Paint or Finish the Wood
  5. Screw the Frame On
  1. Attach the Bottom and Top Pieces
Show all steps »
Measure the Height and Width of the Area

Step 1

Measure the Height and Width of the Area

Measure the height and width of the area where you'll install your shelving. For easy installation, build the basic unit 1-inch shorter than the height of your ceiling. Remove the baseboards. You'll cut them to fit around the shelving unit and reinstall them when everything is nailed in place.

Mark and Cut the Panels

Step 2

Mark and Cut the Panels

Mark and cut the two side panels 1-inch shorter than your floor-to-ceiling measurement. Cut the shelving-unit top, bottom, and shelves 1-1/2 inches shorter than the unit's overall width. Measure and cut four 2x2 frame supports that also are 1-1/2 inches shorter than the unit's width.

Use Scrap Pegboard as a Guide

Step 3

Use Scrap Pegboard as a Guide

Using scrap pegboard as a guide, drill pairs of 1/4-inch holes along the inside of each side panel. Space pairs of holes about 9-inches apart horizontally and every 2-inches vertically. Drill the holes 3/8-inches deep, and use a depth-stop bit attachment or a scrap block of wood as a guide to make sure you don't drill all the way through.

Paint or Finish the Wood

Step 4

Paint or Finish the Wood

Paint or finish the wood as you like before you assemble the unit. Then attach the side panels to the ends of the frame supports. Drive 6d finish nails through the sides and into the end grain of the frame supports.

Screw the Frame On

Step 5

Screw the Frame On

Tilt the unit into position flush against the wall. Using 3-inch wallboard screws and a screw gun, screw through the top rear frame support into the wall studs and through the bottom frame supports into the floor.

Attach the Bottom and Top Pieces

Step 6

Attach the Bottom and Top Pieces

Attach the bottom and top pieces by driving 6d finish nails through the side panels into the end grain of the top and bottom. Replace the baseboards around the bottom of the shelving unit, cutting the pieces to size and mitring the ends as necessary. Similarly, cut and fit trim moulding around the top of the unit. Use a nail set to recess all nail heads. Finally, install the shelf pins in the desired holes, and fit the shelves in place.

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Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 5 hours

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.

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