How to add shelves to a closet

Posted: Jan 27, 2017 · Updated: Jan 15, 2021 by Jenna Shaughnessy · This post may contain affiliate links · 4 Comments

How to add shelves to a closet

This DIY tutorial for easy closet shelves will transform that empty corner of your closet into the most organized space in your home! Double your closet shelving space with this simple project that you can do in a few hours.

How to add shelves to a closet

Inexpensive DIY Closet Shelves

Last weekend we added some simple melamine shelves to the baby’s nursery closet to make it more functional. There’s only so much baby stuff you can hang, so shelves are a must-have. These DIY Closet Shelves are probably the easiest DIY you will ever do – only take about 20 minutes to complete once you have everything cut – and add so much functionality to a basic closet.

How to add shelves to a closet

All of the closets in our house are very basic – they have one door and the closet spans behind the bedroom wall. There’s 1 rail that spans the width of the closet and one shelf above that. Definitely not enough shelving for all baby’s stuff.

How to add shelves to a closet

I’ve added these simple DIY closet shelves to several of the closets in our home, and they are both a quick and budget-friendly way to get some additional storage space. While I like to use melamine because of the veneer and its ability to be wiped down, MDF works perfectly too, and is usually more readily available. I’ve used both throughout our home with great success.

Materials Needed

  • Melamine or MDF cut to the depth and width of the recessed portion of the closet.
  • 1×2’s or 1×3’s to act as supports (braces or cleats)
  • Nail gun (or a good old fashioned hammer and nails)
  • Level (to make sure everything is as straight as possible)
  • Measuring Tape
  • Miter Saw (or have everything cut at the store for you)

*Posts on JennaKatetatHome.com may contain affiliate links. See full disclosure HERE*

How to Make The Closet Shelves

How to add shelves to a closet

We had our melamine cut to size at Lowe’s so that was one less step to have to do at home. If they offer it as a free service you may as well use it, right?!

How to add shelves to a closet

If you are looking to invest in new tools this year and you already own the basics, I can’t recommend a nail gun enough. We use ours all the time and love it.

How to add shelves to a closet

Directions

Start by figuring out exactly where you want your shelves. Using your level, draw a straight line with a pencil so you know where to nail your first support. We chose to just attach the supports to the side walls since the shelves aren’t too large. If you have a bigger space you may want to run a support along the back, too.

How to add shelves to a closet

How to add shelves to a closet

Always check for level a last time before nailing in place.

How to add shelves to a closet

Once the supports are in place, pop your melamine boards on top. You can let them simply rest on the supports or nail them in place. We nailed them down so that the kiddos don’t accidentally pull them out one day.

How to add shelves to a closet

That’s it! So easy, right? You can paint the supports before or after they are installed, of course. That’s still on my to-do list 🙂

How to add shelves to a closet

The extra shelves make this closet so more functional! Unfortunately, our walls are not even remotely level so there’s minute gaps. But as long as the shelves are well supported it won’t be an issue.

How to add shelves to a closet

I’ve just started going through all Cian’s baby clothes and washing them. I can’t believe he was ever that small. but it’s so nice to have all these clothes ready to go!

How to add shelves to a closet

How to add shelves to a closet

How to add shelves to a closet

Most of the furniture for this room will be delivered by the end of this week so I’m super excited to really get everything organized and finished in here. The little man will be here before we know it and I want everything perfect for him!

Time needed: 20 minutes.

Cut the melamine boards to the width and depth of the recessed portion of the closet.

Using 1×2 or 1×3 pieces of wood, cut them to the depth of the shelf. For a cleaner look, cut the end piece at a 45 degree angle. Sand the edges for a smooth edge.

Nail Braces to the Wall

Ensuring the pieces of wood are level, nail them into the wall. Alternatively, screw them into the studs if you know your shelves will need to hold heavier items. We’ve never had an issue with a few nails, though.

Attach Melamine Shelf

Rest the melamine on top of the braces and secure with brad nails on each side.

Maximize Storage in Your Closets

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How to add shelves to a closet

Extra storage is always a plus. It seems that no matter your home size, soon every closet is filled to the brim. Maximizing your storage space will help you stay organized so that you actually know what you have stored in all your closets.

Adding storage can be expensive, and unless you’re ready to part with the dollars, your first step should be to revamp your existing closets. You can do it for less money than you might think.

Declutter Your Stuff

Do you need to keep all that stuff? Are you as guilty as anyone out there of hanging onto things like paperwork—everything from old magazines to 15-year-old canceled checks?

Before you decide how much storage you need, decide what you can throw away, sell, or donate. And look on the bright side: Purging all the clutter first will make the following steps much easier.

Evaluate Closet Contents

Are there single rods running from end to end in each closet, with a single shelf above each rod? That arrangement is typical in the traditional smallish closets in extra bedrooms, and sometimes even in walk-in closets. There are ways to maximize your closet’s layout without spending a fortune.

How about your clothes? Are they packed so tightly that you can’t find what you’re looking for? Are the top shelves filled with things you haven’t seen for years?

Start by emptying the closets, one at a time, and put items in three piles:

  • Keep: These will go back into your closet.
  • Trash: These are items that you will either throw away, donate, or sell.
  • Move: Put anything that shouldn’t be stored in your bedroom closet in a plastic bin to tote to other areas.

Revamp Your Closet Layout

Look at the items in the keep pile that will go back into the closet. Is the pile mostly hanging clothes, or is it odds and ends that would be better suited folded on a shelf? Do you have tons of shoes? Mostly sweaters? Lots of accessories like belts and ties? Knowing what you have will help determine how your closet should be configured. There are organizational helpers available for every storage need and every budget:

  • Turn the top, catch-all shelf into a series of shelves that stretch to the ceiling. That will keep items separated and allow you to retrieve things easily, without pulling a stack of boxes down on your head.
  • Increase space for short items by installing double-decker rods in a portion of each closet. Economical closet organizer solutions such as Closetmaid are made to fit into any size closet.
  • Go a bit further and install special modules in a portion of the closet with slots and shelves for shoes, cubbies or drawers for clothes that should be folded, and built-ins for other special items.
  • Do-it-Yourselfers can try this wooden closet organizer project. If you’re not into DIY, look for wooden closet organizer components at your local home building store.
  • Walk-in closets offer all sorts of organizational possibilities. Closetmaid and Rubbermaid both offer storage ideas on their Web sites. Schulte Storage is another good place to explore closet options.
  • It won’t help to organize, but installing cedar panels or hanging cedar blocks in the closet helps repel insects and makes the closet smell great.

Organize Other Closets

Inspect every closet in your home as if you are seeing it for the first time. This will help you determine how you can improve your storage potential.

  • Use little totes and bins to help you keep small items under control in a bathroom or linen closet.
  • Stackable baskets are an excellent addition to a kitchen pantry and can be used to store all types of items, including food staples.
  • Is your garage large enough to add a series of closets along one wall? Or economical shelving? Storage helps turn a cluttered garage into usable space that will hold a car.
  • How about the basement? If it’s dry, can you add closets or shelves down there? Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture levels if necessary.

Cleaning out your closets is an often dreaded, but necessary activity. Just getting rid of unused clothes and other items is sometimes all it takes to make closets appear larger than they truly are. So get started and look at everything with a critical eye. If you haven’t used it for two years, do you need to keep it?

Everyone can use a little extra shelf space to store valuables and eliminate clutter. Installing shelves in your closet is an excellent way to do that. Follow these ten easy steps to installing your new closet shelf.

Step 1 – Choose Your Spot & Measure

Decide where you want to put your new shelves and take complete measurements of the closet.

Step 2 – Identify Your Wall Material

Are your walls made of, brick (masonry), drywall or concrete? If you’re working with brick or concrete, you may need to use special drill bits, and a battery powered drill may not have enough torque to do the job. Also, mistakes you make in brick and concrete are going to be more difficult to repair than drywall would be. If you have to work with these materials, be sure of everything you are going to do before you do it.

Step 3 – Find the Studs

If you’re working with drywall, find your studs- that’s the frame behind the drywall. The best way is probably to use a stud-finder. These are available at nearly any hardware store. Or, if you’re feeling confident, you can tap on the wall to find the studs. A hollow sound means there’s no stud, a less hollow sound indicates a stud. If you’re new to stud finding, take some time to get acquainted with the different sounds walls make when you tap on different parts of them.

Step 4 – Decide on Your Shelf Location

Determine the exact location where you wish your shelves to be. Use a level and a pencil to draw a line exactly where the bottom lip of the shelf will be when it touches the wall. Don’t be afraid to mark up your walls. You can always repaint, and a little pencil mark is a lot better than a crooked shelf.

Step 5 – Set the Positions of Your Brackets

Using the lines you have already drawn, draw new lines at right angles to represent the edge of your brackets. You may place the brackets where they will go and trace the edges and holes so that you will know where to drill. Use your level to check that everything is straight.

Step 6 – Drill Your Pilot Holes

NOTE: If you are going to use anchors, you will need to make the holes slightly larger than the screws. If you intend to screw directly into the stud, use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the screws. If you are not sure exactly what size drill bit you should use, guess down- that uses the smallest drill bit you think might be right first. If you are wrong, you can always re-drill it with a larger bit.

Step 7 – Insert Your Anchors

Place the anchors into the holes you have made and carefully hammer them into place. Some anchors lock permanently into place when inserted, so you should be sure your hole is in the right place before inserting, otherwise you may have more repair work to do than you would otherwise.

Step 8 – Screw Your Brackets into Place

Using your pilot holes and/or anchors, screw your brackets into place being sure they line up correctly with the shelf line you drew when you started.

Step 9 – Mount Your Shelf

If your shelves are the kind that need to be screwed into the brackets, you may want to use a clamp to hold the shelf in place while you drill. If you’re working in a tight space where you can’t hold your shelf in place manually, this might be a good idea. Check the placement of your shelf after drilling in the first screw part of the way. Then screw in all of the screws part way and check again that your shelf is where you want it to be.

Step 10 – Enjoy Your New Decorative Storage Space

Now that you’ve got a little bit more shelf space, you can free up a little bit of clutter from the floor of your closet or any other part of your house. Take care not to overload your shelf. If you used strong anchors or drilled into concrete or masonry- then your shelf can probably hold just about anything you’re likely to put on it.

If you suspect your shelves may not be as strong as you had hoped they would be, there are a few ways to make them stronger. By using finishing molding, caulk, and paint you can reinforce your shelf somewhat while making it look like a more natural design element of your closet.

Information

Article Number 000001467
Title How to Add and Stack an Adjustable Shelf in the 2020 Closet Add-On with 2020 Design
Applies to 2020 Design

How to Add and Stack an Adjustable Shelf in the 2020 Closet Add-On with 2020 Design

Applies to:

2020 Design V11.*

Description:

You can add and stack an adjustable shelf in the 2020 Closet add-on with 2020 Design.

To add an adjustable shelf, complete the following steps:

1. Make sure the Area Snap mode is deactivated at the bottom-right of the program to avoid snapping to predefined area settings and take full advantage of the anchoring capability.

2. To add a shelf in Section 1, click on the Flex for Closets icon .

3. Type SHFA in the Quick Search area.

4. Double-click on SHFA > Adjustable Shelf in the dialog.

5. Click in Section 1 in the elevation area.

6. Move the shelf it to the required height within the section and click to set.
The width of the adjustable shelve is automatically adjusted.

7. Select Close from the Closet window.

8. Select the newly placed shelf and delete it.

Stack Adjustable Shelves:

To stack shelves quickly every 8″, use the Placement Tool as follows:

1. Select FLEX_C in the Drag & Drop list.

2. Type SHFA in the Quick Search area of the Drag & Drop list.

3. Click on SHFA > Adjustable Shelf.

4. Type 8 in the Offset field of the Place tab in the Placement Tool.

5. Click on SHFF in Section 1 (handles must appear at the ends).

6. Click the up arrow four (4) times in the “Placement Tool.”

2020 Design automatically detects the nearest placement holes available for the shelves.

7. Stack shelves at every 8″ in section 4 using the same process.

How to add shelves to a closet

On Wednesday, last week, we passed our second inspection in the master bath remodel. Woot! This means I can get on filling all the Hardie seams with thinset, Hardie tape and more thinset. Fun times ahead. We only have one more inspection to go, which is the final inspection.

This weekend we spent some more time working on shelving for our master closet.

I began this process by making some drawings a couple of weeks ago.

How to add shelves to a closet

Above is my half of the closet. More open shelving is coming, two units of 4 drawers and 3 shoe shelves, not to mention a hair dryer station with a mirror, forever getting the hair dryer out of the bathroom.

I will still have plenty of hanging space including hanging space for long dresses. So far, so good.

How to add shelves to a closet

On Frank’s side of the closet we are also adding a couple of drawer units and more shelving like this.

The drawer units are 18″ wide by 30″ tall by 12″ deep drawers by IKEA. The drawers are not very deep, which should help keep them organized.

How to add shelves to a closet

As mentioned in the previous post when we had the attic access moved in here and installed 4 recessed can lights, our closet had no shelves or drawers, but otherwise it was very nice you can see in the above photo.

How to add shelves to a closet

We cut all the shelves out of 1/2″ MDF. We cut a bunch of wood supports for each shelf. We only have room for a 1 inch front trim piece on the existing horizontal partitions due to the position of the rods (if we still want to be able to get the hangers off the rods.). So we decided to go with this width on all the shelves as well. To make the support pieces meet up with the front pieces, we cut a little 45 degree cut on the front of them.

How to add shelves to a closet

The shoe shelves are being installed at an angle. We added a piece of 1×2 with glue to the back of each of the 3 shelves for shoes. Then we set our skill saw at a 30 degree angle.

How to add shelves to a closet

After the glue was dry we cut the backs of the shelves with the angled skill saw blade creating a mounting angle on the back ledge.

How to add shelves to a closet

For my section of the closet we were creating a whole new vertical section with shelves above and a drawer unit below. From a sized piece of 3/4″ plywood, we cut a ridge to grab the existing shelf and notched for the existing wall mounting boards. During transport up and down the stairs while dry-fitting this piece, we added a bracket with clamps for stability.

We needed to trim a piece to finish the front of the plywood.

How to add shelves to a closet

With this set-up we could push the piece through from one side, then pull it from the other side. All digits at a very safe distance.

How to add shelves to a closet

Next, we put together the first IKEA frame and then mounted the hanging rail on the wall.

How to add shelves to a closet

Because this IKEA frame has a lip to grab the rail and the rail was mounted on top of an existing board, we secured a matching piece of scrap wood on the lower part of the wall which lined up with the bottom of the cabinet. The width of the cabinet frame helped us set the vertical plywood to get the right distance for the shelves above.

How to add shelves to a closet

To put up the shelves, we first put up the back support using a short level, glue and nails.

How to add shelves to a closet

Next, we lined up the back of each side support and used a level again, then nailed the supports into place.

How to add shelves to a closet

We added the shelves and nailed them to the supports with our pin nailer and finished each shelf with a front trim piece.

How to add shelves to a closet

For the three shoe shelves, we used the same method except that we attached the side supports at an angle.

With a few more trim pieces, the new vertical section on my side of the closet was done.

How to add shelves to a closet

We will remove the IKEA frames and rods before I spray paint the closet.

We still have a couple more shelves to put up, but the most time consuming ones are behind us. I think.

It feels like the closet just grew several square feet!

How to add shelves to a closet

How to add shelves to a closet

I am a Danish American decorating life in Seattle. I love all things design and DIY.

I can’t think of anything more fun than coming up with project, making it, photographing it and sharing it with you on my websites.

I am a Graphic Artist, a remodeller and home maker by day.

Information

Article Number 000001467
Title How to Add and Stack an Adjustable Shelf in the 2020 Closet Add-On with 2020 Design
Applies to 2020 Design

How to Add and Stack an Adjustable Shelf in the 2020 Closet Add-On with 2020 Design

Applies to:

2020 Design V11.*

Description:

You can add and stack an adjustable shelf in the 2020 Closet add-on with 2020 Design.

To add an adjustable shelf, complete the following steps:

1. Make sure the Area Snap mode is deactivated at the bottom-right of the program to avoid snapping to predefined area settings and take full advantage of the anchoring capability.

2. To add a shelf in Section 1, click on the Flex for Closets icon .

3. Type SHFA in the Quick Search area.

4. Double-click on SHFA > Adjustable Shelf in the dialog.

5. Click in Section 1 in the elevation area.

6. Move the shelf it to the required height within the section and click to set.
The width of the adjustable shelve is automatically adjusted.

7. Select Close from the Closet window.

8. Select the newly placed shelf and delete it.

Stack Adjustable Shelves:

To stack shelves quickly every 8″, use the Placement Tool as follows:

1. Select FLEX_C in the Drag & Drop list.

2. Type SHFA in the Quick Search area of the Drag & Drop list.

3. Click on SHFA > Adjustable Shelf.

4. Type 8 in the Offset field of the Place tab in the Placement Tool.

5. Click on SHFF in Section 1 (handles must appear at the ends).

6. Click the up arrow four (4) times in the “Placement Tool.”

2020 Design automatically detects the nearest placement holes available for the shelves.

7. Stack shelves at every 8″ in section 4 using the same process.

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Are you ready to take the next steps to cover up those ugly wire shelves? You’re in luck! This is a simple and easy DIY project that takes minimal time and effort. You’re going to love these wire shelving hacks that make DIY your closet so simple and easy!

Is it just me or does everyone think all of that wire shelving which is common in all closets is ugly? And sometimes not functional? Covering Up Those Ugly Wire Shelves is easy and cheap. (and a super simple way to solve your own wire shelving problems!) The total cost was about $12 for supplies. I have included a few links to make your shopping easier. I do get paid a few cents from each sale – thank you.

How to add shelves to a closet

Covering Up Those Ugly Wire Shelves – Simple Wiring Shelving Hacks

Wire shelving can be great but there are times when it needs to just be covered up. Why not make a DIY shelf cover to make it look better?

Many times if you are storing small items and bottles on wire shelves, they will not set in a sturdy manner. This is another reason to line them.

How do you hide wire shelves?

The first step is cleaning it out and organizing it. I used photo and storage boxes for most of my items. More on this later.

Whether you live in an apartment or a house, seems like finding a better way to store and organize is always trying to be figured out.

How to add shelves to a closet

I have seen several ways of covering up the wire shelves or just lining them. I chose to cover the complete shelf area and front. **NOTE here – Mine was a bit modified due to the closet opening.

There are a lot of ideas out there for covering the shelves or even just lining them. This is what worked for me.

Wire Shelving Hacks to Cover With Ease

Take everything out of your closet before beginning.

Measure the wire shelf area in both directions and also the drop-down portion. Cut your foam core board to this. These sheets are only $1 per sheet at Dollar Tree.

How to add shelves to a closet

Mark your foam core board to these sizes.

How to add shelves to a closet

.Then cut. This thinner can be cut with heavy scissors or I like a rotary blade.

How to add shelves to a closet

Using white duck tape, which I purchased from Dollar Tree, attach these two pieces together to make an ” L” shape. Any type of packing tape would work as well.

How to add shelves to a closet

To add a bit of sturdiness, I also applied a thin line of hot glue using my Ryobi Hot Glue Gun.

How to add shelves to a closetIt’s amazing how much this glue gun comes in handy.

You could stop there for a plain white shelf cover, but remember I wanted a pretty closet so this marble Duck Brand Easy Liner was the thing that would work for me. There are so many choices of colors and designs in Duck Brand Easy Liner, you can find one to match your decor.

How to add shelves to a closet

It took less than a roll of this paper so you have some left to do other closets.

I covered just the top and front of my shelf cover since the bottom side didn’t show.

Cut your paper about 1 1/2″ larger than your shelf. Just wrap around as you would a package.

How to add shelves to a closet

No more ugly wire shelves. Using the photo boxes on the top shelf also maximized the wasted space.

How to add shelves to a closet

But, I decided I didn’t like the beige background of the closet. Now, what to do?

Simple Closet DIY

Since we are in an apartment, I wanted a more temporary look. And, if a year or so I may want another look.

Using a roll of wrapping paper I had on hand, which had been picked up at Michaels, I had my wallcovering.

How to add shelves to a closet

To make the job easier, I chose not to remove the wire shelves, but just cut each piece to fit between each of them.

I placed a Command Strips for Posters in each corner and applied the paper.

How to add shelves to a closet

Now doesn’t that look better?

More Fun Ways to Style a Small Closet

Rolling towels instead of folding gives a more pleasing look.

How to add shelves to a closet

Using an assortment of photo and storage boxes, it was easy to organize miscellaneous items. Remember to label them.

Think about items you want handy, but not really used every day.

Can you paint wire shelves?

You can! If you need to change how they look entirely, why not paint them? It’s a simple way to add a bit of color to a small space as well.

What Items Do You Store on Closet Shelves?

Think about items you want handy, but not really used every day. These are a few items to store in your closet.

  • My husband’s ties – these aren’t worn that often but needed.
  • First Aid items
  • Travel items
  • Makeup bags
  • Extra makeup
  • Hosiery
  • Cruise items
  • Manicure and nail polish

Since this was in the bathroom, no photos or papers were stored since they would absorb the humidity.

Watch for these boxes on sale at Craft Stores. Maybe one of these days I’ll get all my photos organized as well.

**Note here as I said I had to modify mine. I would suggest you try making one shelf before all of them. Due to the opening of my closet, I couldn’t place a completed shelf inside it. My solution was to cut down the depth of the foam core board. All of the surfaces were going to be used to store boxes and towels, so this still had the visual effect I was going for.

If you have any Ryobi tools, the same battery works so no need to purchase a new battery.

Now the pantry is next. This time a wire shelf is coming down!

Information

Article Number 000001467
Title How to Add and Stack an Adjustable Shelf in the 2020 Closet Add-On with 2020 Design
Applies to 2020 Design

How to Add and Stack an Adjustable Shelf in the 2020 Closet Add-On with 2020 Design

Applies to:

2020 Design V11.*

Description:

You can add and stack an adjustable shelf in the 2020 Closet add-on with 2020 Design.

To add an adjustable shelf, complete the following steps:

1. Make sure the Area Snap mode is deactivated at the bottom-right of the program to avoid snapping to predefined area settings and take full advantage of the anchoring capability.

2. To add a shelf in Section 1, click on the Flex for Closets icon .

3. Type SHFA in the Quick Search area.

4. Double-click on SHFA > Adjustable Shelf in the dialog.

5. Click in Section 1 in the elevation area.

6. Move the shelf it to the required height within the section and click to set.
The width of the adjustable shelve is automatically adjusted.

7. Select Close from the Closet window.

8. Select the newly placed shelf and delete it.

Stack Adjustable Shelves:

To stack shelves quickly every 8″, use the Placement Tool as follows:

1. Select FLEX_C in the Drag & Drop list.

2. Type SHFA in the Quick Search area of the Drag & Drop list.

3. Click on SHFA > Adjustable Shelf.

4. Type 8 in the Offset field of the Place tab in the Placement Tool.

5. Click on SHFF in Section 1 (handles must appear at the ends).

6. Click the up arrow four (4) times in the “Placement Tool.”

2020 Design automatically detects the nearest placement holes available for the shelves.

7. Stack shelves at every 8″ in section 4 using the same process.