How to Build Closet Shelves: A Step-by-Step Guide


Are you tired of struggling to find the perfect outfit in your closet? Do you feel like you’re constantly battling clutter and disorganization? If so, it may be time to consider building custom shelves in your closet. With just a few simple steps, you can transform your closet into an organized and functional space that makes getting dressed a breeze.

According to a survey by OnePoll, the average person spends around 15 minutes each day looking for items in their closet. That’s almost two hours a week! By investing some time and effort into building shelves in your closet, you can save yourself valuable time and reduce stress in your daily routine.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of building custom closet shelves. From measuring your closet space to choosing the right materials and tools, we’ll cover everything you need to know to create a functional and stylish storage solution for your wardrobe.



Closets can become a chaotic mess over time, making it difficult to find your favorite clothes, shoes, and accessories. The solution? Building shelves that help you take control of your closet space and stay organized. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of building custom closet shelves step-by-step. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or new to home improvement projects, this guide is perfect for anyone looking to maximize their storage space and create a more functional closet.

We will cover everything from measuring your closet space and planning your shelving design to purchasing materials and tools and installing your shelves. Additionally, we’ll share tips and tricks along the way to make the process as smooth as possible. By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to build your own custom closet shelves. So let’s get started!

Step 1: Measure Your Closet Space

Tools You Will Need

When it comes to building closet shelves, having the right tools is key to a successful installation. Here are the essential tools you’ll need:

Measuring Tape

A measuring tape is essential for accurately measuring the dimensions of your closet space. Take note of the width, height, and depth of your closet so you can plan your shelving accordingly. Measure twice to ensure accuracy.


Marking the walls where you want to install your shelves is important to ensure everything is level and aligned. A pencil will easily mark the spot without leaving any permanent damage. Make sure to use a sharp pencil to create clear lines.


To make sure your shelves are straight and level, a spirit level is necessary. You don’t want your clothes or other items sliding off the shelves because they are uneven. Use the level to ensure that each bracket and shelf is perfectly straight.

Having these three tools at hand will make building your closet shelves an easier and more efficient process. Remember to take your time and measure everything accurately to avoid any mistakes.

How to Measure Your Closet Space

How to Measure Your Closet Space

Before you can start planning your closet shelving design, you need to measure the space where you will be installing it. Here are the steps to take to measure your closet space accurately:

Tools You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Level

How to Measure Your Closet Space

  1. Measure the Width of Your Closet: Measure the distance from one side of the closet to the other. Be sure to measure at both the top and bottom of the closet, as walls are not always perfectly even.

  2. Measure the Height of Your Closet: Measure the distance from the floor to the ceiling of your closet. Again, measure at both the left and right sides of the closet, and use the smaller of the two measurements to ensure that your shelves fit properly.

  3. Measure the Depth of Your Closet: Measure the distance from the back wall of the closet to the front edge of the door frame or molding. If your closet has a sloped ceiling or baseboard, you will need to take additional measurements to ensure that your shelves fit properly.

It is essential to take accurate measurements to ensure that your closet shelves fit properly and maximize your storage space. Remember to measure twice to avoid any mistakes and make adjustments if needed. With these simple steps, you’re ready to move onto the next stage of planning your closet shelving system.

Step 2: Plan Your Shelving Design

Types of Shelving

When it comes to building closet shelves, choosing the right type of shelving material is crucial. There are many options available, but three of the most common types are wire shelving, wood shelving, and plastic shelving.

Wire shelving is a popular choice for those who want a modern and sleek look. It’s also very durable and easy to clean. The open design of wire shelving allows for good airflow, which can be beneficial for storing clothing and linens that need to breathe. However, wire shelving can sometimes be more expensive than other options and may not offer as much support for heavier items.

Wood shelving has a classic and timeless look that can add warmth and elegance to any closet space. It’s also very sturdy and can hold heavy items without sagging. Wood shelving can be customized to fit any closet size or shape, and there are many different types of wood to choose from, such as oak, maple, and cherry. However, wood shelving does require some maintenance, such as occasional polishing or refinishing, and it can be more prone to warping or bowing if not installed correctly.

Plastic shelving is a versatile and affordable option for closet storage. It’s lightweight and easy to install, making it a great choice for DIY projects. Plastic shelving is also easy to clean and resistant to moisture, which can be helpful in areas with high humidity. However, plastic shelving may not be as durable as other options and may not be able to hold heavy items.

Ultimately, the type of shelving you choose will depend on your personal preferences and needs. Consider factors such as budget, durability, and style when making your decision. With the right type of shelving, you can create a functional and organized closet space that meets all of your storage needs.

Factors to Consider for Your Shelving Design

When designing your closet shelves, it’s important to take into consideration the types of clothing you have, the accessories you use, and how you plan on storing your shoes. Here are some factors to consider to make the most out of your shelving design.

Clothing Types

Consider the different types of clothing you own and how they need to be stored. For example, hanging items such as dresses, suits, or coats will require more vertical space than folded items like t-shirts or sweaters. Make sure you allocate enough space for each type of clothing to avoid overcrowding and wrinkling.


Accessories can also take up valuable space in your closet. Consider using smaller shelves or baskets for items like scarves, hats, and jewelry. If you have a lot of handbags or purses, consider installing hooks or a separate area specifically for these items.

Shoe Storage

Shoes are often the most challenging item to store in a closet. Consider using shoe racks, cubbies, or angled shelves to maximize space. If you have a large shoe collection, you may want to consider a separate storage solution such as an over-the-door shoe organizer or a dedicated shoe cabinet.

By taking into account these factors when designing your closet shelves, you can create a functional and organized space that meets all of your storage needs.

Step 3: Purchase Materials and Tools

Materials Needed

Materials Needed

When it comes to building closet shelves, having the right materials is essential. Here are some of the most important materials you will need for this project:

Shelving Boards

Shelving boards come in a variety of materials, including wood, wire, and plastic. Wood is a popular choice for custom closet shelves because it can be cut to size and stained to match your existing decor. Wire shelving is another good option, as it allows for air circulation and is easy to clean. Plastic shelving can be a more affordable option, but may not be as sturdy as wood or wire.


Brackets are what hold your shelves in place, so it’s important to choose sturdy brackets that can support the weight of your belongings. Look for brackets made from strong materials like metal or heavy-duty plastic. Some brackets are adjustable, which can be helpful if you need to make changes to the height of your shelves.


Screws are used to attach your brackets to the wall and secure your shelving boards in place. Make sure to choose screws that are long enough to go through your bracket and into the wall, but not so long that they damage your drywall. It’s also a good idea to use anchors if you’re drilling into drywall, as this can provide extra support.

Before purchasing your materials, make sure to measure your closet space carefully and plan out your shelving design. This can help you determine how much material you will need and ensure that your shelves fit properly. By choosing high-quality materials and following proper installation techniques, you can create custom closet shelves that look great and last for years to come.

Tools Needed

Tools Needed

Building closet shelves requires a few specific tools to get the job done right. Here are the essential tools you will need:

1. Drill

A drill is an indispensable tool when it comes to building closet shelves. You’ll need it to make the holes necessary for mounting brackets and shelving boards. Look for a drill that is comfortable to hold and has adjustable speed settings. A cordless drill is convenient, but if you’re on a tight budget, a corded drill will work just as well.

2. Screwdriver

You’ll also need a screwdriver to install screws into the pilot holes you drilled with your drill. An electric screwdriver can save time and effort, especially if you’re installing a lot of shelves. However, a manual screwdriver will do the job just fine if you don’t have access to an electric one.

3. Level

A level is an essential tool for ensuring your shelves are straight and even. Place the level on top of each shelf after installation to make sure it’s properly aligned. If it’s not level, adjust the shelving board or bracket until it is. A small bubble level is easy to use and inexpensive, but for more precise leveling, consider investing in a digital level.

By having these three tools at your disposal, you’ll be able to tackle any closet shelving project with confidence and ease. Just remember to take your time and follow the instructions carefully, and soon enough, you’ll have beautiful, functional shelves that will transform your closet.

Step 4: Install Your Closet Shelves

How to Install Your Shelving

When it comes to installing your closet shelves, there are a few key steps you need to follow to ensure a successful and professional-looking installation. Here’s a detailed guide on how to install your shelving:

Marking The Wall

Before you start drilling holes in your walls, it’s important to mark out where your shelves will go. Use a measuring tape and pencil to mark the height of each shelf on the wall. Make sure to use a level to ensure that your marks are straight and even.

Mounting Brackets

Once you’ve marked out the placement of your shelving, it’s time to mount the brackets onto the wall. Use a drill to make pilot holes for the screws, then attach the brackets securely to the wall with screws. Make sure to use a level to ensure that your brackets are straight and level.

Leveling Your Shelves

With the brackets securely attached to the wall, it’s time to attach the shelves themselves. Place each shelf onto the brackets, making sure that they are level and centered. Use a level to double-check that everything is straight, and make any necessary adjustments before moving on.

Tips for a Professional-Looking Installation

  • Measure twice, cut once: Double-check your measurements before making any cuts or drilling any holes.
  • Use a stud finder: If possible, attach your brackets to wall studs for extra support.
  • Hire a contractor: If you’re not confident in your DIY skills, consider hiring a professional contractor to install your shelving for you.

By following these simple steps and tips, you can ensure a successful and professional-looking installation of your closet shelves. Happy organizing!

Tips for a Professional-Looking Installation

When it comes to installing closet shelves, you want the final result to look professional and well-done. To achieve this, there are a few tips that you can follow to ensure that your installation looks like it was done by a pro.

Measuring Twice

One of the most important tips for a professional-looking installation is to measure twice before making any cuts or mounting brackets. This ensures that your shelves are level and properly aligned with the walls of your closet. Use a measuring tape and a level to double-check all of your measurements before putting in any hardware.

Using a Stud Finder

Another way to ensure that your shelves are securely mounted is to use a stud finder to locate the wooden studs behind your drywall. Attaching your brackets directly into these studs will provide added support and stability for your shelves. If you can’t find any studs, consider using anchors or toggle bolts for added security.

Hiring a Contractor

If you’re not confident in your abilities to install closet shelves on your own, consider hiring a contractor to do the job for you. A professional installer will have the necessary tools and expertise to ensure that your shelves are properly aligned and securely mounted. Plus, they can offer advice on shelving designs and storage solutions to help you make the most of your closet space.

In summary, taking the time to measure twice, use a stud finder, or hire a contractor can make a big difference in the final appearance of your closet shelves. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to achieving a professional-looking installation that maximizes your storage and enhances the organization of your belongings.


In conclusion, building closet shelves is a great way to maximize your storage space and stay organized. By following these simple steps, you can create custom shelving solutions that are tailored to your specific needs.

Remember to measure your closet space carefully and plan your shelving design accordingly. Choose high-quality materials and tools for the best results, and take your time during the installation process to ensure a professional-looking finish.

With the right mindset and a little bit of DIY know-how, you can transform your cluttered closet into a streamlined and functional space that makes getting dressed a breeze.

So what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves, grab your measuring tape, and get ready to build the closet shelves of your dreams!
Now that you have learned how to build closet shelves, it’s time to put your new knowledge into action. Remember to measure your closet space carefully and plan your shelving design with functionality in mind. Choosing the right materials and tools is essential for a successful DIY project, as is following the installation instructions step-by-step. With these tips, you can create custom storage solutions that maximize your closet space and keep your clothes and accessories organized. So why wait? Start building your own closet shelves today and enjoy the benefits of a clutter-free and well-structured wardrobe!

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button