How to Build an Entryway Bridge

Create an overhead display surface in a foyer with these step-by-step instructions.

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More and more homes are being built with grand entrances, and a shelf over an entryway is a perfect way to add some detail to these great display spaces. 

Here's how to build one:

Materials and Tools:

circular saw
cordless drill
4d finish nails/or nail gun
multipurpose primer
semigloss interior latex paint
four 4-inch L-brackets
torpedo level
toggle bolts
decorative brackets


1. Measure the distance the bridge will span and cut a piece of lumber to that length with a circular saw, allowing a gap of 1/8-inch on each end for expansion (the cut of the saw will allow for this if you cut off the line of measurement). A piece of 1x10-inch pine was used for the pictured project.

2. Cut the trim the same length as the shelf. Attach the trim to the shelf so that the bottom of the trim is flush with the bottom of the shelf. The trim will rise above the shelf once installed to create a lip. Attach the trim with finish nails. Countersink the nails and spackle over them. Prime the shelf and the trim with multipurpose primer, followed by two coats of semigloss interior latex of the color of your choice.

3. Attach a pair of L-brackets at each end of the bridge. The L-brackets should be on the top of the shelf so they'll be hidden when the shelf is installed.

4. Determine where the shelf will be installed. Use a torpedo level (a level that's about 8 inches long and can be slipped into a pocket) and place a level line to give yourself a guide while installing the shelf. With the help of an assistant, set the shelf in position using the guidelines. Make a mark where the L-brackets' screw holes are positioned.

5. Drill pilot holes at the marks. If you don't hit a stud, use toggle bolts that are strong enough to hold the weight of the shelf and the accessories that will be placed on it.

6. Hold the shelf in position and attach with screws (if you hit studs) or the toggle bolts.

7. Embellish as desired. For the pictured project, two brackets designed as candleholders were attached to both serve as decorative pieces and add some extra support for the shelf.

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