How to Install Shelves in Your Closet like a Pro

Sometimes there are places in your home that just need more shelves like our toy closet did! Here is how to install shelves in your closet to make it more functional!

Sometimes there are places in your home that just need more shelves like our toy closet did! Here is hot to install shelves in your closet to make it more functional!

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Ever Since we moved into our house in Texas the “closet at the top of the stairs” has been so useless! It is a nice big walk-in closet in the hall wall with two high shelves and clothes hanging rods… It never made sense…. I don’t know what the builder was thinking! So over the past four years of living in this house, that closet has become a throw it in there to get it out of the way type closet!

But I did something last week that made the closet more functional, more organized and more complete! Thanks to my Dad coming to visit!

I added more shelves in the closet to make it a functional closet! And guess what? I am going to give you a step by step complete guide on how to install shelves in your closet!

Supply List for Installing Shelves in your Closet:

Tape Measure

Pencil

Small Level

Square

Stud Finder

Air compressor or hammer

Nails 1” and 1 ½”

Caulking/ caulking gun

Paint

Enough Wood for the project we used this from Home Depot to match the existing shelves in the house. We used boards that 3/4″x 11 3/4″ and then the length

To build the frame you need 1×2 boards of the same material

Step 1 on How to Install Shelves in Your Closet

Measure

Before you get started you will want to clean out the closet. This way you have plenty of space to work in. After that, you will want to measure the length of the wall where the shelves will go. Write down this measurement. Then decide on how far apart you want the shelves to be. We did our shelves 22″ apart and I think looking back it is the perfect height. On the back wall, we planned to use two boards for the depth of the wall to have more shelving room. 

How to Install shelves like a pro

After we had the proper measurements we were off to the hardware store to buy our materials. Moments like these make me so grateful we own a truck!

Step 2 Painting

When you get home it is time to paint the boards. So people might think I am crazy for painting first, but hear me out. If you paint before you install you only have to touch up the nail holes and stuff. This saves you from trying to paint upside down on shelves and getting paint on the walls. So, paint now and then just touch up once your project is complete.

How to install shelves like a pro

Step 3 Finding the Studs

While the pieces of your shelves are drying it is a great time to go prep the closet. The first thing you need to do is find the studs in the wall. It is crucial to find the studs because you need to nail into the studs to support the weight that is going onto the shelves. Because let’s be real no one wants their shelves falling down!

Sometimes there are places in your home that just need more shelves like our toy closet did! Here is hot to install shelves in your closet to make it more functional!

We love this stud finder. You run it along the wall and it will light up red and beep when you hit the stud! Mark the studs you find in the wall.

Step 4 Measure where the frame of the shelf will go

After you find the studs, it is time to measure from the floor to your first shelf frame (the 1X2). These are the boards that will support the actual shelf. We planned ours to be 22″ from the ground and then 22″ apart. Mark this on the wall.

Step 5 Measure the Wall and Cut 1×2 boards

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After you have measured the height of where your shelf will go and marked the stud it is time to remeasure the length of the wall. Remember, measure twice, cut once.

Then go cut your 1×2 according to your measurement.

After the 1×2 is cut take it up and remeasure the height of the shelf. Mark the height of the frame on the stud. Remember, this is where you will nail it! Use a level to make sure the shelf is level. No one wants a crooked shelf. We used a nail gun because it was so much easier to install the shelves!

Step 6 Cut the Side 1×2 Boards

After the 1×2 is nailed to the wall to support the back of the shelf it is time to cut the 1×2 for the sides of the shelf. Make sure you don’t cut these according to the depth of the shelf, you need to cut them according to where the stud is. Our shelves ended up being 23 1/2″ deep (since we doubled the boards) but our side supports were longer so that we could hit a stud to support the weight. This is what our support frame looked like.

How to install shelves in your closet

After you build the first support frame, repeat the process for all the other shelves you are putting in.

Sometimes there are places in your home that just need more shelves like our toy closet did! Here is hot to install shelves in your closet to make it more functional!

Step 7 Measure the Shelving and Cut

Next, it is time to measure the wall for the shelf. After you have measured it is time to cut your shelving boards.

Sometimes there are places in your home that just need more shelves like our toy closet did! Here is hot to install shelves in your closet to make it more functional!

Step 8 Install Shelving Boards

After the boards are cut it is time to install them. You install the boards by placing them on the frame and nailing the boards down into the support frame. If your wall is not straight like mine, there will be some gaping in the back or on the side in places. You can fill this in with caulking for a great looking shelf. So don’t worry!

Step 9 Caulking

After the shelves are nailed down it is time to caulk nail holes and the gaps. This can be easily done with a caulking gun.

Step 10 Touch Up Paint

After the shelves are caulked then paint over the nail holes and any blemishes that occurred while doing your project.

And there you have it! How to Install Shelves in Your Closet for a more functional closet!

To get this look: All baskets came from Michaels and those awesome blue bins came from Amazon here! I love how easy they stand up and they are so durable! An added bonus is how affordable they are! So be sure to check them out!

How to install shelves in a day for a more functional toy closet-2

Create a more functional closet in a day
How to Install Closet Shelves like a pro

Michele is a Family Life Educator. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!

6 thoughts on “How to Install Shelves in Your Closet like a Pro

  1. Michelle the shelves look great – I tried to use power tools once and it didn’t go ver too well. I stick to the painting side of things now. LOL But at least you had your dad to help. The shelves are a great addition and make your closet look so clean and organized. We are neighbors at the Fire Station linkup today

    PS.: if you are looking for another place to link to on Thursday’s I would love if you would consider joining my linkup #TuneInThursday – it opens Thursday 3 am PST and runs through Sunday night. You can find it at debbiekitterman.com/blog

  2. Michelle- these shelves turned out fantastic. So glad you had someone like your dad to help you too. I tried using power tools once, it didn’t go so well. LOL But I love the addition to your closets and how neat they look now with all the new shelving We are neighbors over at the Firestation linkup today

    PS.: if you are looking for another place to link to on Thursday’s I would love if you would consider joining my linkup #TuneInThursday – it opens Thursday 3 am PST and runs through Sunday night. You can find it at debbiekitterman.com/blog

  3. Wow! Very spiffy! I am duly impressed – I usually just hack my way through with movable shelves on tracks and/or brackets – your supports and painting-to-match ARE way more professional-looking than anything I’ve ever pulled off lol!

    1. Thanks! Being able to install shelves in your closet is so wonderful. It’s fun to have a project, but it’s even more fun to organize it when it’s all done!

    2. Thanks! My dad is super handy and used to build houses for a living so I knew he would be an expert on how to install shelves in your closet!

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