Thursday, October 8, 2015

UHeart Organizing: Budget Friendly Bathroom Shelving

I remember when we first moved into our home and one of the first things I purchased was an expensive over-the-loo etagere.  And when we went to update the bathroom, funny enough, it was the first thing to go.

Sure, the storage was great… but it was visually bulky and wobbly and didn’t allow me to add styling and character to our bathroom.  Every since then, open shelving has had my heart.

The lovely DIY Playbook duo is here today to share how they whipped up some beautiful, yet budget friendly, shelves for their bathroom nook.  I love how the new shelves visually changed the space, offered functionality and also provided them a place to add in some personality and pizzazz.

My husband Finn & I recently purchased our first home together… a condo in the city of Chicago. We’ve been moved in for about a month now, and things are slooooowly starting to take shape around here. And when I say slow, I mean it. We’re trying to make intentional decisions as we decorate this new space, so we don’t end up with design regret. Instead of rushing to hang things on the walls and fill up every nook & cranny, we’re first living in the space to see how we use it on an everyday basis. Sounds easy enough… but it’s hard for this Type-A, list-loving gal to sit back and take things slooow, when all I really want to do is get ‘er done.

One room that we’ve struggled with is our master bathroom. It’s a beautiful, large space but it lacks storage. The only place for bathroom items are the two cabinets underneath the vanity. Other than the vanity cabinets, there are no drawers or a linen closet, and there is no way all of my toiletries are fitting in this space. From day one, we knew that we had to up the storage.

Here’s a view of our not-so-glamorous potty. This area seemed like the ideal candidate for an upgrade, and I realized that my favorite DIY shelves would work perfectly in this space. I could utilize the bare wall above the toilet, add some personality, and incorporate some secret storage. That’s a win-win-win in my playbook!

  • Wood (Cut to size at the hardware store)
  • 3 sets of these IKEA shelf brackets
  • Wood Stain (I used the finish Jacobean)
  • Rag & gloves
  • Level
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil/Pen
  • Anchors & Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill with regular & pilot hole bits

I first measured the area over the toilet and decided to go with wood shelves that were 21 inches long. I found wood at the hardware store, had the guy cut it right in store (for F-R-E-E!) and brought it on home. Then, I got to work staining. I chose the color “Jacobean” to match our newly stained hardwood floors. When staining, I always wear gloves and I just dip a rag in the stain and rub it over the wood. 1 coat, and you’re good to go!

I let my wood dry for a couple of days, and then got ready to install them.

The hardest part of this project is the installation. It’s not crazy difficult, it just requires some attention to detail. A pen, tape measure, and level will be your best friends for this portion of the project.

In order to make sure my shelves were vertically aligned, I put painter’s tape on the wall and used a level to make sure they were straight. I then figured out where I wanted my shelves and marked the wall at all 3 spots. I ended up spacing each shelf about 14 inches apart, but you can do whatever works for you and your space.

These particular brackets call for 2 holes on each side. So I marked the holes for 1 bracket at a time, and then got out my drill to make some pilot holes.

Rookie Tip: Put a piece of painter’s tape on your drill bit that is the length of your anchor/screw. That way you don’t go too deep into the wall when drilling.

With my pilot holes made, I then drilled in my anchors and then attached the bracket with screws. Next I made the holes and inserted the anchors for the other bracket, and then slide the wood into place before attaching the second bracket to the wall.

Rookie Tip: This is when another set of hands would come in…. well, handy. You can do this by yourself (I did), but you’ll cut the amount of curse words, excessive sweating, and dropped tools if you grab a buddy to help you.

In fact, Bridget & I installed these same shelves in her sister’s kitchen last year. Here’s a little time lapse of the installation process.

If only it was that fast in real life!

After one shelf is up… moving on down to level two.

And before you know it you’ll be on your third and final (!) shelf.

Now time for the best part… the styling & organizing!

I decided to showcase some personality on these shelves with sentimental items and artwork. Our favorite vases, a Chicago record, and colorful art really “pretty up” these rustic shelves.

I love incorporating some nature into every space. So greenery and fresh flowers were a no brainer!

I’m so happy that I was able to add some decor & personality on these DIY shelves, but what I love even more is the extra storage they provide.

A shot glass corrals rogue bobby pins. And you’d never know that this pretty white jar holds q-tips and cotton balls!

A bowl of matches from our favorite dinner spots are gathered together in a decorative bowl. Matches in the bathroom are always a great idea to eliminate odors. #sofreshsoclean

I used a wicker basket to store extra toilet paper that was taking up valuable real estate underneath our vanity.

I’m thrilled with our new master bathroom shelves, but I’m even more excited that I crossed something off our mile-long home to-do list.


“Hey There! We’re Bridget and Casey, the best friends, Chicago gals, and editors behind The DIY Playbook. Even though we consider ourselves busy girls with full-time jobs, husbands, and never ending to-do lists, we believe there is always time to add personality to our homes. On our blog, we strive to inspire our readers to inject their sparkling personalities into their own spaces with affordable and attainable solutions. We heart Instagram, can’t turn down a cup of coffee, have no clue what we’re doing in the kitchen, and are beyond excited to be part of the IHeart Organizing team!”

from IHeart Organizing

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