Easy Rustic Wall Shelves

Okay, I know I said with my office reveal post that I was going to get this tutorial up yesterday, but then, I just couldn’t make myself sit down and do it.  Sometimes being of a creative mind set is hard for a desk job!!  And honestly, if I don’t want to do it, I can hardly force myself…which is probably why all long essays in school were typed out the night before when I absolutely had to do it… ah, such is life.

 Anyway, if you wanna try this shelving projects it is FABULOUS for beginners, so easy I can’t even tell you!

Easy Rustic Wall Shelves

Easy Rustic Wall Shelves Tutorial



  • Small Paint Sample (I used Martha Stewart Zinc mixed into a satin Behr, which matches the brackets perfectly)
  • 3M Painters Tape
  • 8″ x 10″ Grey Shelf Brackets (1 for about every three feet of each shelf) Home Depot has white, grey or black
  • Anchor bolts (we used the screw in kind, they hold 75 lbs a piece)
  • 2 x 12 by (cut to length desired)
  • Dark Walnut stain by Minwax

1. Clean up the Wall

I started by cleaning up the wall we were installing them on.  I used a magic eraser to clean off any marks (because we don’t have any of the current paint left), and it really is magic!

easy rustic wall shelves home office organization and design ideas-2

2. Paint the bracket stripes.

When the wall is all prepped, paint the bracket stripes from floor to ceiling.  I matched my brackets as best as I could to the paint color.  So find one that matches what bracket you are using, and will contrast with the wall color.  Since I have 3 brackets, I have a center line and then 2 that are 6 inches from either end of the shelves.   My stripes are 2″ inches wide.  I just put the bracket up and figured out a good width.

Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial

When you tape them, it is best if you tape the stripes out, using a level for the first line then measuring 2 inches off that new line.   Paint over the inside edges of the tape with the existing wall color.  After that has dried, paint 2 coats of the grey paint inside the taped portion.  This will keep the grey paint from bleeding under the tape, and you lines will be perfectly crisp… mine aren’t quite perfect since I skipped this step, but I didn’t die.

Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial

Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial

Also, while I had the paint out I painted the tops of the screws for the brackets, so they would match seamlessly with the stripe paint.

Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial

3. Locate the brackets and install anchors.

Decide where you want your shelves.  We marked the bottom of the shelf across the wall (see the little blue tape spots below) with a string attached level.  Now take your bracket, hold it up to the bottom shelf line, centered on the 2″ stripe and mark the screw holes carefully.  Install all the anchor bolts you think are necessary, we just went ahead and did all three for each bracket (or if you are lucky and hit a stud, that should do the job for that bracket!!)  When the anchors are installed, with a paint brush we gave them a quick coat of the grey paint, so the white wouldn’t peak out from behind the bracket.

Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial

4. Screw the brackets to the wall.

We used the painted screws to attach the brackets to the wall in their proper locations.

Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial

5. Cut 2 x 12’s to length, stain and finish

Cut your 2″ x 12″‘s to length.  We cut ours 2 inches less than the desk width so they wouldn’t appear wider than the desk.  Stain your boards, going with the grain of the wood.  We used Minwax, Dark Walnut.  Then if you would like a finish coat, finish up with some wax or poly.

6. Install shelves

When the shelves have dried completely, center them on the brackets and screw in a couple more painted head screws, to secure them in place.  To avoid cracking we pre-drilled the screw holes in the wood then secured the screws.

Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial

Guess what you are done!!  Now style to your hearts content!

I told you it was easy.   

Easy Rustic Wall shelves tutorial

(for the computer cords we just drilled a hole in the shelf they sit in directly under the computer!)

Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial

Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial
Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial

Easy Rustic wall shelves Tutorial

Now, lucky you if you want a desk like the one we have here are the free plans, you can build one of those too!  Or you can try these rustic storage bins!

If you are wondering about the lights, they are just cheap clip on lights from Home Depot that I spray painted with Rustoleum Lagoon paint.

If you are wondering about the rug, the link tells you all about it.

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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. Hi,

    Perfect timing for me! I would like to make a shelf like this in our laundry room. I want to set a few baskets on it. Can you please tell me how deep the shelves are exactly?


  2. I never thought of matching the color of the brackets to a stripe on the wall. The brackets blend in that you don’t even notice they are there. Genius!! Thanks for the awesome idea!!

  3. I love this installation! not only because it is cu-ute, but the monitor shelf is *ahem* ergonomically correct. I don’t know how many times I’ve adjusted my chair for optimum typing only to have my neck crinck up. btw – where did you get those blue lights (am I reading too fast) – the pop of color is perfect!

  4. You inspired me to make some shelves like this for my kitchen nook. I worked on them this weekend and plan on installing them today. I love how it’s looking so far. Thanks for posting the idea.

  5. I was wondering about the lights from home depot– I’ve looked on their site and can’t find any clip-on lights that look even remotely like that. Do you have a link, or what they’re called?

    Thanks! Your shelves are beautiful!

    1. Liz, you need to look for a clamp light. They are mostly used in shops. We painted ours the color we wanted. You would find them by the light bulbs or in electrical, not in the lighting department. Hope that helps.

  6. I love your shelving project. Good job. I was wondering where you got those clip on lights and how did u hide the cords?

  7. LOVE the lights as well!! I’ve always liked the look of gooseneck lights, which is exactly what I thought yours were until I scrolled down and saw the other picture! Clip-on, so cute. Have you ever seen lights by Barn Light Electric (www.barnlightelectric.com)? That’s what your lights reminded me of, and you’ll probably like a lot of their lights. Anyways, great remodel and I love the rustic wall shelves! 🙂

  8. Loved, loved this idea. We’re going to try it too! And send images 🙂 But I had a couple questions about the wood. What type of wood did you use and the metal strip to hold the brackets, I wasn’t able to find them. What are they called and were they located near the brackets themselves?

    1. We’d love to see pics! As listed in the blog post, the wood is 2×12 lumber, cut to length. There isn’t a metal strip holding the brackets — the shelf brackets (which are linked in the post) are screwed directly to the wall. You could, however, use upright shelving tracks and those coordinating rackets, and paint them and the wall like ours, for a similar look.