Sunday, November 13, 2011

DIY Open Kitchen Shelves

Last Saturday, my husband and I tackled a small DIY construction project in our kitchen. As renters of a basic 1950's duplex, we don't often get to do projects that change the "bones" of the house (nor are we equipped to, either in power tools or hanyman skills). Luckily, these open shelves are about as basic a DIY project as we could ask for-  all it took was a paint brush, a power screw gun, and a trip to Home Depot.

Below is the "Before" picture of our kitchen...

There was a large blank wall above the kitchen sink, almost as if the layout was designed to incorporate a window there. The only trouble is that a window above the sink would overlook our bed in the next room... Oops. So I hung up a mirror and pretended I had a window. But I grew tired of the heavy gilded frame in my farmhouse style kitchen (and tired of watching myself wash dishes), so a couple weeks ago I took the mirror down and started developing a plan to add some shelves.   

And I couldn't be happier with the result!

I wanted the shelves to look built in, so after a little advice from my dad (no use being a cabinet-maker's daughter if you can't get a free design consultation every now and then), I took some measurements and headed to Home Depot.

Here's what we bought:
- One 6' pine board, 1" x 10", which we had cut (for free) into two 34" pieces
- Four small wooden shelf brackets (which were conveniently stocked right next to the lumber. Hmmm, maybe we're not the first people who have done this...)

After sanding the edges of the boards and painting all the pieces, we screwed the brackets flat against the sides of the cabinets, laid the shelves into place, and secured them with screws. Instant open shelves!

Our small kitchen already had a surprising amount of storage, will lots of full-height cabinets, but it didn't have a lot of room for display. And I am all about display! These new shelves are perfect for showing off more of my antique yellowware.

After this quick and easy DIY project, it now looks as if the kitchen was designed with these open shelves from the very beginning. And the best part of the whole project? It only cost a total of about $16.00! The wood was $8.00, the brackets were less than $2 apiece, and I used the leftover paint from the kitchen cabinets.

Now that is kitchen renovation... renter's style!


  1. The shelves look the yellow ware and your collection of cutting boards. I also rent and am all about changing what I can and making do with the rest (you have much better counter tops).

    Take care...I always enjoy your blog and Etsy shop.


  2. I love love love yelloware! Looks great on your shelves!

  3. What a wise and wonderful idea (and result)!

  4. Wow Ellie! The shelves look sooo good! They sure add some character to the space above the sink!! And of course the bowls are divine, too!!
    Great job!!
    Have a lovely week!

  5. Wow, the shelves look amazing. Great job! And what a great way to display your awesome collection. It all looks fantastic!

  6. So cute Ellie! We added shelves to our rental too... don't they make a world of difference?! Great job as always!

  7. that looks great.....I love the way you have your home decorated anyway.......simple, country style!!!


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