Build your own open kitchen shelves for a beautiful, modern wall display.
Open shelves in a kitchen are a fun and modern trend that most likely isn't going away any time soon. As a matter of fact, these shelves are so popular that they have spread to other rooms. Bathroom shelves, laundry room shelves and even shelving in the living room is ideal for style and decor.
Shelves are the best way to implement storage space and kitchen decor in one. Learn how to make and install your own custom DIY kitchen open shelving on a thrifty budget with tremendous appeal.
Why Adding Open Shelves is a Great Idea in a Kitchen
While adding open kitchen shelving isn't a good idea for some, it is ideal for many with a small kitchen. And it's a perfect way to bring a modern design into a kitchen remodel. Take a look at these other reasons behind this trend.
- Beautiful way to use and display natural wood
- Easy DIY project
- Adds extra storage options
- Can fill a blank wall space
- An easy way to display everyday dishes, decorations or food
- Provides easy access to kitchen items
- Cheaper than adding kitchen cabinets
- Kitchen feels bigger and more open without a cluster of upper cabinets
How to Make DIY Kitchen Open Shelving
Removing a few cabinets crowding wall space was the perfect opportunity to add some open shelving kitchen ideas to our farmhouse kitchen. Affiliate links below.
Supplies Used for Kitchen Shelves
You can find most of these supplies at Home Depot or another local hardware store. This project cost me about $40 to make. That cost may differ according to where you live and supplies available.
- 2 - 1"x12"x8' pine boards (shelf tops, corbels, back supports)
- Jig saw
- Pattern - can purchase pre-made at Home Depot if desired
- Wood glue
- Nail gun and nails
- Decorative molding
- Wood putty (stainable)
- Wood stain
- Stud finder
- Wood screws
Cut Out Your Wood for Open Shelves
You can choose any type of wood you prefer to make your open shelves. If you are planning on storing items that are heavy, you might want a stronger wood for your wood shelves. I bought 8 foot pine boards from Home Depot.
Your first step is to cut all three of the shelf tops, six corbels and a 1'x2" back support for each shelf from those boards. I used a jig saw.
You can purchase pre-made shelving patterns from Home Depot if you don't want to cut out your own. I designed my own for more of a custom look.
Glue and Nail Shelves Together
When all of your new shelves and pieces are cut, the next step is to glue and nail the pieces together for your DIY kitchen open shelving.
The easiest way to build your shelf is to lay the shelf on a flat surface. Add a bead of glue along the edges of the corbels and back support to secure them to your shelf.
Use the nail gun to nail the pieces into place to make it more secure.
Add Decorative Molding
The next step is to add decorative molding to your open shelf. Adding molding will be a little bit of an additional cost, but the end result is so much better to look at. Decorative molding adds style as well as extra support. Use your nail gun to secure the molding into place.
Fill Gaps and Nail Holes
After your molding is installed, it is time to fill in gaps and small holes with a wood putty. This is a quick step that doesn't take a lot of time. Make sure to use a putty that is stainable for when you add your wood finish.
Sand DIY Kitchen Open Shelving
When your putty is dry, use high grit sandpaper to lightly sand your wood shelf to get a nice and smooth finish before applying stain. Clean off any dust from the wood.
Stain Your Wood Shelves
Now you are ready to stain your shelves. Follow directions on your stain container for specific details and instructions. I used General Finishes Antique Walnut gel stain. I love how rich it makes the grain look, but you can also choose a different color that is darker or lighter.
The only thing I suggest is to apply one coat at a time to see the different ways the color changes. You may be satisfied with only one coat of stain.
Seal with a Top Coat
The final step is to seal the shelves with a clear top coat to protect the wood finish for a long time.
Hanging Your DIY Kitchen Open Shelving
After your shelves are finished you are now ready to hang them. We are hanging them straight into drywall. The installation process will be different if you have to secure into tile.
Begin with measuring where you would like your top shelf to hit and evenly space the rest of your shelves from there. Use your stud finder to locate the studs in your wall. We drilled through the 1x2 piece of pine and straight into the wall, securing the shelf directly to the stud for more support.
These gorgeous shelves look absolutely beautiful on the side of our farmhouse kitchen island. It is the perfect display for filling in our blank space.
The best part is decorating your shelves! I used mine to display our white dishes and extra decor. See more tips here for how you can style your open shelves.
Try out this custom DIY kitchen open shelving to make a thrifty and stylish update in your kitchen or other living spaces.
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