If you have a tiny office as I do, chances are you could do with some extra storage space. In this week’s post, I’ll show you how to put up shelves with adjustable brackets and style them like a pro!
My office is the second tiniest room in the house. The guest bathroom is the smallest and my office is not much bigger than that. It’s actually not a ‘real’ office at all – it’s a corner of the landing, at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Nevertheless, it’s my creative space and I love it!
Recently, I noticed that the staircase was beginning to look like a filing system of sorts – loose papers seemed to accumulate there together with any files that would not fit in my little filing cupboard. That’s not exactly a good situation considering people need to walk up and down those stairs every day. Nothing for it then but to put up shelves!
Why use shelves with adjustable brackets?
As I said before, my office is tiny but I still need to make the fixtures as flexible as possible. What if I change my mind about what I want to store on the shelves? What if I wanted to add more shelves with a smaller space in between. By putting up shelves with adjustable brackets, I can do just that, and there is no extra drilling or more holes in the wall! I can simply insert another set of brackets and lay the shelf on top – done!
How to put up shelves with adjustable brackets
These shelves are adjoining a slanted roof under the eves so each shelf was cut to a different length (one shorter than the other).
- One length of raw oak around 2 cms thick in the required width, cut to the required length
- Electric sander (EU)/or sandpaper (I sanded the shelves by hand)
- Damp Cloth (To wipe down after sanding)
- Wood oil/wax mix
- Adjustable metal shelving brackets in white
- Screws (My wall is made of brick, different screws are needed for a stud wall).
- Rawl plugs (to hold the screws in place in the wall and specific to type of screws used)
- Circular saw Like this one (to cut the shelving wood to size)
- Round white screw head covers
A door opens into this tiny room so I can’t put up shelves that extend across the full length of the wall. The first thing to do is to measure the wall with the door open so that I know the maximum length the shelves can be. I used a measuring stick to measure the wall.
After measuring how long the shelves need to be it’s time to cut the oak boards down to size. We used a circular saw for this and because the shelves will be flush against a slanted ceiling, the boards were cut at an angle on that side. Now the shelves are ready for prepping.
Preparing the wood
I’m using oak boards for my shelves and they need some preparation before I can put them up. The first thing I’m going to do is give them a bit of sanding because at the moment they feel rough to the touch. I’m not using my electric sander for this job, a piece of sandpaper will do the job nicely.
I’m hand sanding both sides of the shelves with rough sandpaper (80 grit) and wiping away the sanding dust with a damp cloth.
IMPORTANT: Always use a mask when sanding so as to avoid inhaling the fine sanding dust. Choose a mask which fits tightly around your nose and mouth.
Now the wood needs to be sealed. I’m using a paintbrush to paint the shelves with a thin coat of an oil/wax mix. I’ll give these shelves two or three coats with a light sanding in between each coat.
Here’s a before and after photo of the shelves. The one on the left has been sanded but not sealed. The one on the right has had one coat of the oil/wax mix.It looks a bit patchy right now but once it dries it will look more even coloured.
To find out where the holes need to be drilled for the brackets, hold one of the brackets up against the wall, poke a pencil through the hole where the screw will go and make a pencil mark on the wall. Using a spirit level make pencil marks across the wall to the point where you want the second bracket to be. Hold up the next bracket and mark one of the holes with a pencil.
Drill the first hole and insert a rawl plug. Use the end of a screwdriver to hammer the rawl plug into the hole if it’s a bit tight.
A note on rawl plugs:
There are different types depending on the type of wall you are drilling into. Our walls are brick built so we are using masonry screws and rawl plugs. If you are drilling into a stud wall you need to buy rawl plugs that are specific for that type of wall.
Don’t skip this part because the screws probably won’t sit tight if you do. The screw will eventually work itself loose and the bracket may come away from the wall completely.
Hold the bracket up to the wall and screw the first screw through the bracket into the rawl plug. Hold a level up to the side of the bracket to make sure it is vertical and mark the next hole with the pencil.
Now the first bracket is up, repeat the process with the second bracket.
Insert the adjustable shelf holders where you want them to be. Sit one of the shelves onto the brackets. Now you can insert the middle bracket (if using) down behind the shelf and using the spirit level to make sure the bracket is vertical, mark the holes again with the pencil. Use a measure to make sure the holes are marked in the middle of the shelf. Drill the holes and add the bracket.
Yay! You’ve put up shelves!
Stand back and admire your handiwork!
I was planning on showing how I styled these shelves now they are up but this post is way too long already. I’ll save styling until next time. In any case, styling is by far the best part and in my opinion, deserves a post all to itself!
If you have any tips for storage solutions in a tiny office then please let me know in the comments below – I’ll take all the help I can get!
See you next time!
Until then, maybe you’d like to read some of these: