Basics of Affordable DIY Shelving

In planning our laundry room overhaul, I knew that the only way to accomplish my low-budget makeover was DIYing my own shelving. Custom shelving can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars, and even your basic pre-fabbed, boring shelves can be about $20+/- a piece! With three shelves, that would have been a minimum of $60 right there! That wasn’t going to work for us!

Our solution Plywood! Some of you might be thinking just what Eric thought that’s gonna look cheap! Yes, it even took me doing some convincing on the hubby before he’d sign off on the project. Without making much headway, I finally just gave it the ‘ol faithful trust me babe and if you hate it, well just change it! Apparently, that worked because he finally said ok.

Now, here came the options When people say plywood, lots of images come to mind for people mostly OSB (oriented strand board) and particle board.


THOSE LOOK CHEAP!!!!!!!!!! Each type definitely has its appropriate use, but if you are going for a polished and more custom look do NOT use these!!!

We chose 3/4 inch pine plywood to make our shelves. It has a nice grain in the wood and the pre-sanded finish saved us a lot of time and headaches. Lowes and Home Depot carry this product in various sizes and thicknesses, but since we were building these shelves in conjunction with some other quite large (and not yet debuted) projects, we simply bought it in 4×8 sheets (sometimes called woodworking panels since this type is used for lots of specialty building) at $20 a sheet, on sale. This project required less than half of one sheet, which means that we only spent about $10 for all three shelves! Thats an instant minimum savings of $50! We were stoked!

With the plywood sheets home, we ripped the shelves down to the desired lengths and widths (Lowes and Home Depot can also do this for you if you dont have the tools available to do it yourself- and most of the time its free or nearly free!).

Since our boards were already pre-sanded, we got right to staining, using our trusty MinWax Dark Walnut finish.

After completing the level of color depth that we wanted, we applied three coats of Helmsman Spar Polyurethane! If youre using the wood as a counter-type surface, a minimum of three coats should be applied! This stuff is awesome and words great with our stain. We used this same combination of our front door makeover too.

When all was said and done, our affordable DIY shelves gave us the exact custom, but affordable look we were going for!

Oh ya and if you’re wondering where our awesome shelf brackets came from they’re from Ikea! We bought them in black (they only came in black and red)

Gave them a quick coat of automobile primer (since theyre shiny metal like a car)

And then followed up with high gloss white and we were in business!


This is officially the last how-to/DIY from our beloved Laundry Room project. I will be back later this week with a full cost breakdown and supply list for the project so yall can see what it really took to get the room from awful to amazing.


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