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Budget Friendly Floating Shelf DIY Tutorial


We are slowly redesigning my sister’s main floor and I love how this Budget Friendly Floating Shelf DIY Tutorial completely changed a random useless nook into a functional design feature! Last week I shared her whole living room transformation (before & after) but this week I’m breaking down this easy inexpensive floating shelf tutorial. 

If you have a random useless nook at your house, here are my suggestions:

1- Add wallpaper, shiplap, or a pop of color to the back wall. Here I wallpapered box beams in this fun, and one of my faves, DIY!

2- Build these floating shelves, they are easy, inexpensive, and can be adapted to fit any space and style. 

3- Decorate them with family pictures, art, and accessories that fit with your design aesthetic. 

This simple DIY took this nook in my sister’s living room and made it functional by adding three shelves and a storage bin underneath for blankets.

I’ve installed many shelves, but this was my first time building them on my own. And they ended up being pretty easy! 


I started with regular old plywood and added a layer of wood conditioner, then a layer of my custom stain, and then a layer of pecan stain. My custom stain takes so much red out of the wood, and it was designed to match my white oak floors to cover alder, which if you know alder, it has a lot of red-orange tones. If you’re looking for a great stain, I am linking my custom formula HERE.

Once I made one shelf, all I had to do was replicate to complete the final two!


I cut the larger pieces of plywood down to size and then cut the pieces to make the fascia goes across the front to hide the shelf’s skeleton.


I have a few tricks to share with you for this project! One of them is the Kreg Jig, which creates pocket holes. And it’s really awesome when you are trying to build shelves or furniture. I have it set to ¾” for drill bit and ¾” for my Jig. Then I just take my wood pieces and drill the holes.


For the assembly, I started by building the skeleton of my shelves. The wood I used for these shelves is: 

½” plywood for the top of the shelf

1×2 for the shelf skeleton

¼” plywood for the bottom of the shelf

Before I installed any of the floating shelves, I backed the wall with a great peel and stick wallpaper. I picked this one because it looks hand painted, kind of like a watercolor herringbone design. The trick to peel and stick wallpaper is you want to strip the backing as you move down the wall. If you remove the backing from the entire strip before hanging it, you’ll end up with a crumpled up mess. 


I am always talking to you guys about how walls and ceilings usually aren’t level or straight most of the time. And it was very apparent in this little nook. But the great thing about this is the floating shelves divide up the paper and no one will ever notice that the corner is a little wonky.

My thoughts on peel and stick wallpaper: it’s basically like glorified contact paper.

Go for a matte finish and a slight texture to hide imperfections better. I would say peel and stick is fine for smaller areas, but I wouldn’t cover a large wall with it. To finish this small space, I actually overlapped the center line of the next roll with the portion that was already on the wall, and cut off the excess with a razor blade.


Once the wallpaper was done it was time for the shelves to be hung. For this Floating Shelf DIY Tutorial, I used 3 of them, 18” apart. The middle shelf is at 58” tall. I spaced them farther apart because they are deeper than your standard shelves, since they are designed specifically for this space. Find and mark the studs and draw a level line where you want to hang your shelf.

Pre drill holes into your wall braces to the wood doesn’t split when you secure it into the stud with 3” screws. 

When building the skeletons for this budget friendly floating shelf DIY tutorial, you have two options: 1. Either build the whole frame beforehand or construct it on site. I ended up building one whole frame before and doing the other two onsite.

Pre drill a hole where the stud is. Screw in 3” screws. Place ½” plywood on top.Now remember, this is my first time building floating shelves. So I was thinking I could get away without using a middle support, but the bottom piece of plywood bows a bit, so I ended up putting a spacer in for the middle support. Using a nail gun, you’re going to secure the bottom ¼” of plywood to the frame on both sides and in the middle.


First we tape, then we caulk, then we peel off the tape when it’s still wet. We tape so we can get a nice crisp line.


And voilá – you have the cutest little nook for frames, decor and books! Super easy floating shelf DIY!

I have this process saved to my highlights on instagram if you want to watch the video! @remingtonavenue. Be sure to follow me there. 

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  1. The custom stain link isn’t working for me? I’m super curious about it, your plywood looks great!

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