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How to Build Your Own L-Shaped Shelves

Updated on March 4, 2012


When a room's corner offers the ideal location for shelving, construct L-shaped shelves and maximizes its space. Corner shelves seem complicated to make, but only require a few steps to build. Decide on how many shelves you need in the corner and also how many corners in the room you want to outfit with L-shaped shelves. Because L-shaped shelves wrap around the two perpendicular walls that meet at the corner, lining both walls with the shelf brackets sufficiently supports the shelves.

Assemble your own L-shape shelves with custom measurements.
Assemble your own L-shape shelves with custom measurements. | Source

Things You'll Need

Tape measure
Straight edge
Circular saw or table saw
Palm sander
4 to 10 shelf L-brackets (varies with shelf length)
Stud finder
2 1/2-inch screws
1-by-8-, 1-by-10- or 1-by-12-inch wood boards
Paint or stain
Paint or stain brushes

One Side of the L-Shaped Shelf

Step 1

Measure the length of each wall from the corner to the desired lengths of the L-shaped shelves' sides. Record these measurements. This steps allows you to see the actual numerical measurement of how long each side of the shelf will be. It also allows you to determine if you have room to round off the measurement to a whole number or to a length that maximizes the use of most, if not all of the wood board purchased for the shelves.

Step 2

Draw horizontal lines to the length of the shelves on both of the perpendicular walls. Use a level and a straight edge to level the position of the shelves on the wall. Use a stud finder to locate the studs along each wall within the area of marks for the shelves. Count the number of studs marked to determine how many shelf brackets each shelf requires.

Step 3

Install the shelf L-brackets on one wall. Orient the shelf L-bracket with one side horizontal and up to hold the shelf boards and the other side pointing down to attach to the wall. Align the top of one L-bracket with the line on the wall about 2 inches from the corner. Mark the screw holes with a pencil, pre-drill the holes into the corner wall stud and screw the L-bracket to the wall with the 2 1/2-inch screws. Install the remaining brackets for the first wall in the same way, by screwing them into the marked wall studs.

Step 4

Transfer the length measurement of the first wall's shelf -- the one with the installed brackets -- to a 1-inch-thick wood board with a tape measure, straightedge and a pencil. Cut it with the circular saw or table saw, and sand the entire board with a palm sander.

Step 5

Paint or stain the shelf board before installing it.

Step 6

Place the board on top of the shelf brackets, push it into the corner and screw 3/4-inch screws through the underside of each L-bracket's top bend, into the underside of the shelf board.

The Other Side of the L-Shaped Shelf

Step 1

Measure from the end of the line you made on the other wall to the side of the shelf already installed. Measuring after the first side is installed confirms the accuracy of the cut of the second shelf board.

Step 2

Cut another board to this length using a circular or table saw. Sand the entire board.

Step 3

Paint or stain the second shelf board before installing it.

Step 4

Install the shelf brackets on the wall for the second part of the L-shaped shelf. Align the first bracket as close as possible to the edge of the installed shelf side and to the wall stud to prevent the shelf from sagging where they meet. Mark the screw holes with a pencil, pre-drill the holes and screw the bracket to the wall with 2 1/2-inch screws and a drill.

Step 5

Install the rest of the shelf brackets to the end of the shelf mark, spacing them according to the wall studs. The amount of shelf brackets needed will vary from 2 to 10 according to the length of the shelf's side and the amount of wall studs in the wall.

Step 6

Place the shelf board on top of the brackets. Push it flush against the first part of the L-shaped shelf. Screw the board to the brackets from underneath using 3/4-inch screws.


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    • profile image

      Betsy 3 years ago

      Yours is a clever way of thikinng about it.

    • profile image

      Tentri 3 years ago

      I'm a big fan of Ryan Street's designs. He's my faovtire architect in Austin. I love clean lines and details that pop. Understated elegance! Your home is simply beautiful. We are in the final stages of our home (thankfully because I'm so ready to be settled) and I look forward to trying to style my home as lovely as you have yours. We seem to have very similar tastes. Im not sure if you have plaster walls but it appears that way and Im hoping to find someone who does great work with smooth diamond plaster. It would be lovely to meet you sometime to share home decorating ideas, baby fun, and running a business while trying to balance it all. My husband and I are both self-employed as well and Austin seems to be a great fit for entrepreneurs!

    • Naima Manal profile image

      Naima Manal 6 years ago from NY

      I think they're pretty easy to do. Thank you.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      This seems easy enough that even I can tackle them. Voting this Up and Useful.