DIY Open Shelving for our Kitchen!

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Ooh our kitchen is almost done! I can’t wait to share it here and don’t know why I haven’t been posting more updates. We’ve been using our kitchen for a couple months now, but the finishing touches are finally in the works. A while back, we installed these open shelves above our dishwasher and I couldn’t be happier with them! They took way longer to get on the wall than we expected because of DIY’er error… or DIY’er ‘didn’t think ahead’. Speaking of didn’t think ahead… I didn’t get any nice styled photos of the shelves since the night we put them up (so you get this functional, but not totally tweaked photo) because our kitchen has been a work zone! I’m talking back splash, friends… if you’re following along on Instagram you might have seen a sneak peak and it really is coming together so well!

DIY Open Shelving - Ikea hack -

When we were planning the kitchen, my original dream was ALL open shelving instead of upper cabinets. My ever-logical hubby talked me out of it because no one wants to see everything we keep in those cupboards. Plus, for space- we needed an over the range microwave. There was no way around it. So I settled for this small little bank over the dishwasher, right before the dining room. The best part about these shelves? They cost us less than $20 each! (we used stain and clear coat we had leftover from refinishing our floors, if you don’t have those it will cost a bit more)

DIY Open Shelving - Ikea hack -

We picked up these Ikea brackets that are the same finish as our hardware for $13 bucks a set (score!) but were certain we didn’t want the standard Ikea fake wood shelving to go along with them. So off to Home Depot I went with the specifications for an almost twelve inch deep piece of wood that was one inch thick. I had some help picking out some gorgeous pieces of knotted wood, had it cut to size, and hauled those babies home. We stained them two coats, and did three coats of clear coat- this was no quick process. Then we went to install them and my dear husband asked if I’d like the gap at the top or bottom. The gap? What gap. There is no gap. There was a gap.

This is where I smack myself because I really knew better. When you buy lumber a 2×4 actually measures half an inch smaller in each dimension. I knew this… and still I didn’t question when the Home Depot guy gave me 1″ wooden shelving. Ugh. So every night for about a week my patient husband was growing less patient because I couldn’t decide if I’d like the gap at the top of the bracket or the bottom (the gap is because the bracket essentially caps the wood… the cap was loose because the wood was too skinny). When I told him I didn’t want a gap and that we’d have to figure something else out… his patience was pretty thin.

DIY Open Shelving - Ikea hack -

Ikea Hack! DIY Open Shelving-

Ikea Hack! DIY Open Shelving-

So back to the hardware store I went, with a bracket in hand. I asked more than one staff (read: every staff) at Home Depot for help and apparently they don’t make wood that’s actually one inch thick. The girl I ended up tracking down first looked confused that I actually needed one inch thick wood and didn’t understand that a 1×4 is not actually one inch. Want to know what I ended up with? I made that poor girl tour me around the lumber department checking every piece of wood they had (not quite…) to see what fit. $16 later I came home with one piece of cedar fence board cut into two foot lengths. Guys, it fit perfectly. Snug two pieces in there and there was no wiggle room. There was knots in the wood like we’d wanted and we love that there’s two boards (so much more interesting!). Update: I’ve had a few emails that you’re having NO luck finding ‘fence panels. I know they’re out there! It was a 12 foot piece of cedar used for fencing and it was found in the lumber section of the Home Depot (at the very back corner). BUT if you ask for 5/4 thick boards- that is actually, after all their processing, exactly 1″ I hear. Hope this helps!

Ikea Hack! DIY Open Shelving-

Ikea Hack! DIY Open Shelving -

Ikea Hack! DIY Open Shelving -

Ikea Hack! DIY Open Shelving -

So after another five day process of staining 2x and clear coating 3x, we were ready to install. When you’re putting the wood pieces into the brackets, make sure you get the brackets all the way on! This caused us the most grief, we didn’t realize one of the brackets was on a bit crooked and it was impossible to get those shelves level until we figured it out.

We started by deciding the height of the bottom shelf first- about level with the deco strip of the other upper cabinets (that’s the piece of moulding along the bottom of them). We used these 150 pound wall anchors for the side of the shelf that didn’t hit a stud (I love these anchors!), and just two and a half inch regular old screws in the other side. I still need to make these silver (I’ve got my silver sharpie out, but have been lazy busy).

Ikea Hack! DIY Open Shelving -

Ikea Hack! DIY Open Shelving -

Then you could do a happy dance and test out the first shelf before you decide the heights of the others… I’d understand. But really, we put a stack of plates on to see how much room we needed between shelves. Can you tell Shane’s a bit done with my indecision? Once we got the right wood… these shelves went up easy peasy! We love them and I’m trying to find another place to put shelves in our home… maybe in our washroom?

Ikea Hack! DIY Open Shelving -

Ikea Hack! DIY Open Shelving -

I can’t wait to get the rest of the kitchen finished up and style these shelves! I also need to re-pot that spider plant, my Grandmas plant had babies so she gave me this little guy- I should probably switch to one of my pots so she can have hers back. I’ve already made some changes on the shelves… and the back splash is pulling it all together! Do you love open shelving as much as I do? Would you do a whole kitchen with open shelving… and let the world see everything you hoard in your cupboards?

Bonbon Break

XO Colleen

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  1. love it! i also wanted all open shelving…but my husband was against it haha. and after having cabinets for 3 months, i’m fine with it!

  2. This looks awesome! I want to install this in my house when I redo my kitchen! Love it!

  3. I have three shelves in my kitchen, but they’re more or less reserved for knick-knacks and dust collectors. I don’t know if I’d do an ENTIRE kitchen with open shelves, but definitely at least a few like you did! Of course, I’d need prettier dishes to put on display instead of my hefty Walmart specials ;)

  4. Hi Colleen, visiting from Liz Marie :) these shelves are awesome – I love the natural against the crisp white walls. Great job – looking forward to following your blog!

  5. I love open shelving, these look gorgeous!


  6. Open shelves are very pretty especially if are of wood, because I think they give a rustic and lovely look. Loved your new shelves :D

  7. Erin Wood says:

    Love them Colleen!! I totally want open shelving ( but would need cabinets or a pantry door to hide all my hoards of food or kitchen nick necks! Those wall anchors you used..can you use them for anything like pictures or just shelving? And do they just go into the dry wall when no stud is there? Loving your blog :)

    • Aw, thanks Erin! (So happy you’re here!!) Those anchors are awesome- we’ve used them for coat hooks, our baby gate, pretty much anything that gets a lot of use. I’m sure they’d be good for heavy pictures too! They’re only good where there is no stud.

  8. Hi, Colleen! Your new shelves look fantastic! LOVE them! Can’t wait to see more of your kitchen. :-) Thanks for linking at On Display Thursday. – Bre @ Average But Inspired

  9. Great job, Colleen! Sharing your work again this week! Features are live on Thursday. Thanks for linking up!!

  10. You are so knowledgeable about this stuff – my hubby thinks I’m hilarious when I venture into Home Depot. He thinks it’s funny and scary. I can get lost in there for hours and really not get one step forward with a plan… How is anyone supposed to know that it wouldn’t be 1″ thick??? These are things that give me DIY nightmares, Colleen!

    Thank you for letting me find you through the Thank Goodness It’s Thursday link party. I’m your newest follower – you can teach me so much! Haha

    • Haha! You’re too funny, I like to think I know what I’m talking about but really the poor people at the hardware stores answer so many questions for me. After blank stares. They usually start with that.

      I’m so happy you’re here Sarah!

  11. Love these! They look amazing

  12. We put the exact same shelves in our new kitchen a year and a half ago and in our bathroom this spring! :)

  13. These are awesome!! Love the look – thanks for sharing them with us at Work it Wednesday!!

  14. I love the look of open shelving, and yours looks so great!

  15. So gorgeous! I absolutely LOVE open shelving. Now if only I can convince my hubby to demolish the kitchen so we would have a place to put said open shelving….

  16. I’m in the middle (long delay) of redoing my kitchen. The next phase (wall) I want open shelving instead of cabinets. Great to see what they turned out like!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  17. Susan says:

    Your shelving turned out so gorgeous! Go Flyers! Thanks for sharing at Inspire Us Thursday on Organized 31.

  18. I LOVE open shelves in the kitchen and these look great. Love the wood tone and simple white plates. Great job!

  19. Colleen, these shelves look so much more interesting with two boards as opposed to one. This is a good idea for our little kitchen, too. I’m almost afraid to go to Ikea for the brackets. It’s one of my more serious addictions! Thanks for this post!

    Val (saw you on the Craftiest Allie)

    • Thanks so much Val! We were disappointed we couldn’t find wider boards but once they were on the wall we were so happy with the two boards too! Ikea is a dangerous store for the budget, I totally agree!

  20. Great job! I have used those same shelf brackets from Ikea, but with plain white shelves. I really like how the wood you used warms up the space and adds that natural look and texture. Pinning!

  21. Love, love your new shelves. So pretty! Thank you so much for sharing at Tuesdays at Our home. Enjoy your day! Maria

  22. Those shelves are awesome Colleen. So cute.

    Thanks for sharing

  23. I love this hack!!! What a great way to get a custom look and I love open shelving in a kitchen. Thanks so much for linking up at The Handmade Hangout, I am featuring tomorrow at Redouxinteriors.

  24. Looks fantastic-love how your shelves turned out! Thank you for linking up at Feathered Nest Friday!

  25. Love these open shelves. Wish I had the space to do them. Great job. Thank you so much for linking this up to The Creative Collection Link Party.

  26. these look great! thanks for sharing. over from Cedar Hill, the scoop. have a good day.

  27. Fran says:

    The shelves look awesome! I love open shelving and would replace all of my upper cabinets with them if I didn’t have two cats who would be all over them. :) I love them more than I love open shelving, though, so I’ll have to stick with my boring cabinets.

  28. I have those brackets too and have the same problem with the gap!! So happy to find an easy fix!

  29. Fabulous!!! I love your style girl!!! Featuring these fun shelves tomorrow! XO, Aimee


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