How To Build Built In Shelves

If you’re looking for a way to increase the storage space in your home or office, building built-in shelves is a great option. Not only do they add a decorative touch to any room, but they also provide a practical solution for organizing your belongings. In this article, we will discuss step by step how to build built-in shelves.

Materials Needed

Before we get started, let’s go over the materials you’ll need to build your built-in shelves. You’ll need:

  • 2×4 lumber
  • 1×12 lumber
  • Wood glue
  • Screws
  • Nails
  • Sanding paper
  • Paint or stain

Step 1: Plan Your Shelves

The first step in building built-in shelves is to plan out your design. Consider the size and shape of the room, as well as the items you plan to store on the shelves. Sketch out a rough design, and take measurements to determine the amount of lumber you’ll need.

Step 2: Remove Baseboards

Before you can install your shelves, you’ll need to remove the baseboards from the wall. Use a pry bar to gently pry the baseboards away from the wall, being careful not to damage them.

Step 3: Frame Your Shelves

Next, you’ll need to build a frame for your shelves. Use 2×4 lumber to create a framework that fits snugly against the wall. Secure the frame to the wall studs with screws.

Step 4: Cut Your Shelves

Once your frame is complete, it’s time to cut your shelves to size. Use a saw to cut 1×12 lumber to the desired length and width for each shelf.

Step 5: Install Your Shelves

With your shelves cut to size, it’s time to install them. Apply wood glue to the top of your frame, and place your shelves on top. Secure them in place with screws from underneath.

Step 6: Sand and Paint

Once your shelves are installed, it’s time to sand and paint or stain them. Sand the shelves to smooth out any rough edges or imperfections, and then apply paint or stain according to your preference.


Q: How much weight can built-in shelves hold?

A: The weight capacity of your built-in shelves will depend on the strength of your frame and the thickness of your shelves. Generally, built-in shelves can hold up to 50 pounds per linear foot.

Q: Can I install lighting in my built-in shelves?

A: Yes! Adding lighting to your built-in shelves can help showcase your items and add a decorative touch to your room.

Q: Do I need to hire a professional to build my built-in shelves?

A: While building built-in shelves does require some DIY skills, it is possible to do it yourself with the right tools and materials. However, if you’re not comfortable with DIY projects, it’s always best to hire a professional.


Building built-in shelves is a great way to add storage space and a decorative touch to any room. With the right tools and materials, you can easily create custom shelves that fit your unique needs and style. Just follow these steps, and you’ll have beautiful new shelves in no time!