Office Wall Shelves

Written by DIY

Our new office wall shelves! Easily my favorite thing in our house right now with the amount of function and decoration possibilities it adds. I can be found randomly stealing items from other rooms in the house and fiddling with shelf layouts. This will probably never end. When planning the office, we knew what we wanted to do for our desks along the other wall, leaving this side of the room rather bare. I also knew we needed more storage for our file boxes that we love and a place for our books to live. In all the years we’ve lived together so far, we never had a “book shelf.” It was time and the office is a perfect space for it!

The way this wall is and how we are using the rest of the space, it was easy to choose to make the shelves the full width of the wall section. It maximizes the storage space and actually makes it look longer. I spent a few nights on Pinterest looking up images of shelves to see what we were drawn to and different types of brackets. Did we want decorative brackets? Would they be able to support the weight? Would they get in the way? We ended up choosing to go with simple and strong brackets in white so they would recede into the wall color and not get in the way of where we want to place any boxes or baskets. The point of the shelves is storage anyway, so we opted to not let anything get in the way of that.

The next step was figuring out how high up the wall to start, how far apart we wanted them, and how many we could fit on the wall. Well, we knew what we wanted to put on them so that was a good place to start. The file boxes are 11 inches tall, and standard binders are 11.5 inches tall so that was our base. Obviously we would want a little more wiggle room so we opted for 14 inches between shelves just for good measure. The bottom shelf position we chose based on fitting our IKEA Alex drawer unit under it. We initially were thinking we would roll that under the shelves and have it available to pull out as needed. Since then the plan changed when we found out it perfectly fits in the closet, but the shelf position still feels good since it’s not too low. So from our bottom starting position, and measuring up 14 inches for each shelf, we knew we could have four shelves total.

With those decisions made, we took our measurements and headed to Lowes! From all the Pinterest inspiration and whole room plan, we knew we wanted natural wood shelves. The rest of the room is light, bright and manufactured with clean lines. So to break that up, we wanted to add the organic wood grain to bring a touch of warmth to the space. We opted to buy new pine boards so they would be nice and straight. Tealy had a blast sniffing all the things while we searched for just the right size boards. Also a quick shout out to Lowes for their awesome dog friendly policy! Tealy now knows what “Lowes” means and loves visiting with all the employees.

We ended up with four 10 inch wide boards for the full wall shelf and two 8 inch boards for the two shelves above each of our desks. We wanted the wider boards for the wall shelves since we would be using them for lots of storage and didn’t want things to overhang the edge too much. The shelves above our desks were more for decoration, so it was fine if they were slightly shorter.

We also snagged 16 total brackets. Three for each of the long wall shelves and two for each of the shelves above our desks. Jordan being a super smart engineer, he decided that three supports for each of the wall shelves would be sufficient. Since we wouldn’t necessarily be putting them into studs, we also picked up some anchors to make sure they have all the support they need.
On a nice day, Jordan went outside and cut down the boards to our desired length. It took him maybe 30 minutes total. After that, I took over staining and sealing.

I did two boards at a time since that’s all that would fit on my very high tech folding table in the basement. First I sanded the edges on all sides just so they were a bit smoother using a high grit sand paper. Next, I stained the boards following the packaging instructions. I felt one coat got me the desired color, so I stopped there. Once I got the stain done on all sides, I sealed them and let them dry for a couple days. Overall, it took me a little over a week to finish all the boards while working during the week. I would do one side of two boards each evening. As always with painting and staining, you just have to be patient with the drying times.

While I was working on the boards, Jordan slowly hung the brackets. He was super excited to use his new laser level to help with the job. He measured everything out, leveled it, drilled the pilot holes, put in the anchors and screwed in the supports to the wall. He did this over a few nights as well, because hanging the supports was more time consuming than you would first think. But it does take time to measure twice and drill once. So have some patience there too.

As I finished the first two boards, we tested them out on the supports. This is where we started to fall in love and it revitalized us to finish up already! Once all the boards were done with stain and sealed, we spent one evening screwing the boards onto the supports. This oddly was the most annoying part of the whole process. We were so close to the finish line, but the screws were so small we actually didn’t have a screw driver that would work well with the size. Jordan was using a slightly too big screw driver trying to make it work, while I was using a too teeny weeny screw driver (for glasses I think) that I couldn’t get enough torque with. But we persevered! And I got a new ratcheting screw driver for Christmas out of the whole ordeal.

And voila! Shelves! Well worth the effort. Honestly, painting the trim is taking me longer than these shelves. Possibly because I don’t get to play with decor when the trim is all painted… Now the shelves are home to our file boxes, junk paper bin, extra cords, books, comics, some photos, art, Star Wars figures and plants. Jordan and I keep looking at bookends whenever we go shopping now. I’m totally dreaming of some agate bookends, while Jordan wants to DIY some Batman ones… sigh. I love the things we get stuck on arguing… seriously! Who argues over what bookends to buy? Haha!

At this point I’ve caught myself thinking of adding wall shelves in almost every room which would be weird. So I’m trying to hold myself back now. Please someone stop me!

In all seriousness though, I’m now dreaming of a floating shelf the whole width of the wall above our bed for a rotating art gallery. Stay tuned for that!


Here’s all the stuff we bought and used to build the shelves. We used this project as our excuse to buy a laser level and will now have that for future projects.
 TOTAL: $218 

Last modified: September 6, 2017