DIY Network

Clever Kitchen Ideas: Open Shelves

Create a functional space with this easy to install open shelving project.

More in Kitchen

  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy

Highlights:

Step 1: Measure and Mark the Wall

With a tape measure, measure the wall to determine usable wall space.

Create a drawing to map out the project. Determine the number of shelves, clearance between shelves and lengths of shelves. This process is critical and makes every decision easier moving forward. Reviewing design magazine photos can help jumpstart your creativity.

Tip: Use masking tape directly on the wall to determine exactly where you want the shelves. It's easy to move around and gives you an instant visual of what works.

Keep in mind visual guides that already exist: countertop and cabinet heights (top and bottom), window frame heights and table heights. Use them to outline the top and bottom of the shelving unit. Do this and your project will visually fit your space and have a more custom look.

Step 2: Pick Decorative Items

Have an idea of what you want to store on your shelving unit. Plates, glasses and frequently used food items are good ideas, and help you to identify which shelves need more support.

Look at the materials already in your kitchen. Be aware of metal and wood tones, wall color and accent colors. This will help determine what kind of shelves you buy.

Step 3: Select Shelves and Brackets

At your local home or organization store, find a knowledgeable clerk to help you. Bring paint samples or dish towels to the store and show them these materials along with your drawing. With their help, select your shelves and brackets. Get additional screws and wall anchors as backup. Also purchase additional brackets for weight bearing shelves.

Select baskets, storage items and decorative elements that fit your plan and coordinate with the existing materials in your kitchen. With someone from the store helping you, this process goes much faster.

Step 4: Map the Shelves

Back in the kitchen, lay out the shelves on your floor to visually see what you're creating. Keep in mind how far apart you want the shelves to be from each other. This step gets overlooked all the time.

Tip: Remember that brackets take up space. Review and adjust as necessary.

With a pencil, level and measuring tape, start mapping on the wall where each shelf will go. Many shelves come with adhesive guides that attach to the wall. This makes the process of leveling, locating screw locations and alignment much easier.

Step 5: Locate Studs

After you've mapped the shelves, use a stud finder to locate studs. Stand back and review and readjust as necessary. Keep in mind how the overall shelving unit looks aligned with your existing cabinets, windows and countertops. Double check everything before you drill. Is everything level? Is each screw location marked and accurate? Are your shelf clearances workable?

Step 6: Mount and Load the Shelves

Following the directions included with the shelves, start drilling and mounting each shelf. Work from the top down. The lowest shelf is the last shelf to be installed. This is the fastest part of the project. With all drilling locations marked and double checked, installation proceeds quickly.

It's time to start loading the shelves. Almost nothing's more satisfying than emptying out cabinet space, removing clutter from countertops and creating a visually pleasing new element to your kitchen.

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