How to Build Wall Shelves and Style Them Perfectly

Regardless of where you live or your design aesthetic, knowing how to build wall shelves will offer you the rare opportunity to create practical storage while giving your space a makeover at a fraction of the cost of buying a new piece of furniture. Adding shelving to your home is an easy way to display art, keep valuable china out of harm’s way, or just expand your general storage space. Unfortunately, hiring a professional to design and build out custom wall shelves can be costly, but the DIY solutions for floating shelves present a much more economical option.

According to Mallory Micetich, home care expert at Angi, “Installing your own shelves can be a great way to save money on your home project.” Micetich adds, “It’s a relatively easy process as long as you have the right tools, enough time, and patience to install the shelves correctly.” But, if you lack any of the three, it’s probably best to look up a tutorial or splurge for professional help. If you’re ready to expand your storage and feel up to the challenge, keep reading for an overview of different shelving styles, things to keep in mind, and common pitfalls to avoid.

Is it cheaper to build your own shelves?

It can vary. Many times it’s not a cheap DIY project to build your own shelves from scratch, but it can be much more economical to purchase prefabricated shelving and mount them yourself as opposed to enlisting a professional to build custom ones. It can be cheaper to build your own shelves if you do it correctly and already own the tools required for the project. Mistakes can result in costly drywall repairs, so it’s important to do some homework by studying up on DIY project tutorials to avoid any damage to your walls as you mount the shelves.

How do you build wall-mounted shelves?

If you’ve decided to build shelves, it’s a relatively advanced DIY home improvement project given the variety of tools and woodworking skill level needed, but it’s possible. According to Stuart Pumpelly of the Washington-based Four Brothers Design + Build, “It can be difficult to accomplish at home unless you have a decent inventory of tools. Thicker shelves require multiple boards to be laminated together so in almost all cases it’s easier and cheaper to purchase online.” If you decide to opt for an easy DIY, purchase your shelves from an affordable retailer like IKEA or Amazon and just mount them yourself; luckily, that’s much easier to do.

Do wall shelves need studs?

Yes! Pumpelly says “Drywall anchors just don’t hold up over time, and in many cases, the wall studs are not in the correct place and blocking is required between studs…. If blocking is required, drywall will have to be removed and replaced to install the blocking.” It’s important to invest in a tape measure and stud finder to make sure you’re correctly measuring and planning out your shelving placement before you order or make the shelves. If you’re only using the shelves for decoration with light items, Micetich shares that most shelves are probably fine with just a drywall anchor.

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