Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Bathroom Shelves!

Ever since I took down the ugly, plain, and very securely attached storage cabinet above our toilet in the master bathroom, I have been trying to find the perfect thing to fill the space. In the meantime, I had to spackle and repaint the walls due to the gazillion holes they made hanging it. At first, I thought I'd put a picture in place of the cabinet. But although pretty, that isn't very functional. I wanted something that had a little storage space and was pretty to look at!

After seeing these shelves on Pinterest and reading the very detailed tutorial, I decided this was something I wanted/needed to do in our bathroom. Here was the picture I found:

Aren't they beautiful?! I love the way she styled them, with all of those adorable accessories! 

Her blog has a very detailed tutorial (thankfully)! So go read that for her specific measurements, more detailed diagrams and steps, etc. if you want to tackle this project yourself! 

This project was fairly easy! 

-measuring tape
-finish nailer

-Liquid Nails
-finish nails
-stain/finish of your choice

Here are the basic steps I took, including the changes I made from the Desert Domicile blog: 

1. Draw a really crappy sketch of what you are making so you can try to make sense of it all and figure out what type/size of wood you need. See below. This step also includes measuring the width of your space from wall to wall. 

2. Build your support frames with the help of your handsome husband, or whoever you have on hand. Lucky for me, it was my handsome husband ;) We used liquid nails to glue our frame together first, and then we used finish nails to attach the small pieces to the larger piece. 

3. Stain your boards. Or paint them. Whatever you'd like! I used the same product I used on our towel racks, Restor-a-Finish. I love it for so many reasons! Number one: you barely have to use any for each project. Number two: you don't have to wait for it to dry. Number three: it makes your wood look old in a matter of minutes! Number four: it brings out the grain of the wood so beautifully!

4. Measure the desired height of your shelves and attach your support frames to the wall, hopefully screwing them into studs. Caitlin @ Desert Domicile made reference to watching out for the plumbing pipes. That made me a little nervous.... but we used our stud finder, marked the wall, and hoped for the best... i.e. that what we were screwing into was in fact a stud and not a pipe and that when we flushed the toilet, water would not come out of the walls. Water has not yet come out of the walls so I think we're in the clear!

5. Make sure your top shelf piece is level... yeahhh, here is where we ran into a problem. See, what happened was, I tried to pick out beautiful boards that were perfect and straight. Well, it was hard enough finding beautiful boards. And I'm pretty sure I took down every single board in Lowe's to find the ones that were straight. At least somewhat straight. Well, the so-called perfect pieces that I chose were not so straight after all. They were all wonky. Is that a word? Well that's what we called them. All of them. Not a single one was perfectly straight. 

So we ended up with this:

This was not exactly how we had planned it. A humongous gap. Thanks wonky wood... this in turn meant our boards were not level. So we had to move on to step 6. 

6. Add shims to level out your shelves. 

Repeat this step for both top and bottom shelves. 

7. Glue the top shelf piece to both shelves using Liquid Nails. 

8. Glue the bottom portion of each shelf to the top and bottom shelves using Liquid Nails. Then call your husband to come shoot a few finish nails in the bottom because your arms are tired of holding the board while the glue dries. Caitlin @ Desert Domicile used screws for this step but screwing into this nice wood makes me nervous since it cracks so easily! 

9. Glue your front pieces onto the shelves. Yeahhhh, here's where we ran into the next problem. Due to the humongous gaps in our board placement (see steps 5&6), our measurements were all off. Now, the 1x4's that we bought were not wide enough to line up correctly. So we went back to Lowe's, had the friendly men (I say men because we pressed the help button and 6 of them came) rip a 1x8 down to a 1x5 (because they don't sell 1x5's and a 1x6 was too narrow to cut to a 1x5). The 1x5 worked much better. After our trip to Lowe's and staining the new wood, we proceeded with this step. I glued the front pieces to the shelves. After a few minutes I, once again, called my husband in to shoot a few finish nails into the corners because I didn't particularly want to spend the next 40 minutes of my life holding the panels up while waiting for the glue to dry (as suggested in Caitlin's tutorial... more power to you Caitlin but I am too impatient for that!)

And here is the finished product:

Here is a before and after:



I'm in love! For now, I just shopped around my house to find things I could put up there! I'm sure I will change the accessories around a million times and buy more. I always do! 

Next on the master bathroom to-do list:
1. Rip out the fiberglass shower/tub combo, replace it with a deep tub, and tile the walls. 
2. Replace the countertops on the vanity.
3. Repaint the vanity cabinets! 
4. Replace the flooring. 
5. Frame the mirror. 

Some day... :) 

While you're here, feel free to check out my other posts here:
DIY Wall Art
DIY Front Porch Sign Holder
DIY Porch Welcome Sign
Our Staircase Makeover Project (in process) plus how we updated our Oak Banister
DIY Chevron Burlap Yard Flag
Thanks for reading everyone! :)


  1. Thank you SO MUCH for leaving a comment on my blog so I could come check out your shelves! I love them! You guys did such a good job on them and I'm so happy my tutorial was clear and (hopefully) easy to follow! :D

    1. Thank you Caitlin! Your tutorial was perfect- thank you for taking the time to write it! I am so in love with my new shelves!! It makes me happy every time I walk in my bathroom.


  2. I LOVE these! You did an amazing job! I'll be putting this in my 'keep in mind for the future' file!


    1. Thanks Emily!! They are very easy to make, you should definitely try them! They really change the look of our bathroom!


  3. Well done!! I've had my eye on those shelves as well for projects of my own and for clients! They are so great and easy to do. Isn't it nice to have something so custom? Great post. Great blog! Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. What a fantastic makeover! I love the new shelves! You guys did an amazing job and I want to try this, I love it!

    1. Thank you so much Debbie! You should definitely try it. The hardest part was picking out straight pieces of wood- other than that it is pretty simple! I'd love to see a picture if you make them! :)

  5. I am soooo making this. Thanks for sharing.

  6. LOVE IT!!!!!! BEAUTIFUL!!! I'm redoing our 1/2 bath in a few weeks and am definitely going to borrow this idea! Hopfully mine will turn out as beautiful as yours did.

  7. Wow it came out beautiful. Can u 2 come to my house n install floating shelves for me? I'll pay ya

  8. Could you please let me know exactly what kind of Restor-a-Finish you used?! There are a few different ones and colors and I would love to get the same color as you! Thanks!

    1. Hi Kim! The color I used was Ebony Brown! Thanks for reading and I'd love to see your shelves after you make them! :)

  9. very cool looking shelves. I thought it was a beam u nil I read this. Very rustic, and I love the sign and decorations!

  10. Great job! Maybe even I can do it by myself! We are moving soon and I needed a great DIY idea for the bath area. Thanks! J

  11. How high is the front facing board would you say?

  12. I made similar shelves but they did not go from wall to wall. I made them on the ground first so the shelves were like a box that slid over the mounts. Much easier than trying to hold with liquid nails. Thanks for the stain color, your shelves are beautiful!

  13. Hi thanks for the inspiration. Just finished my powder room shelves

  14. Is this expensive to do?


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