How to Make Floating Shelves From Reclaimed Barnwood

See how we added inexpensive and stylish storage in a bathroom by upcycling old wood into new shelves.

Floating shelves made from old barnwood provide stylish storage.

How to Create Open Bathroom Shelving

Floating shelves made from old barnwood provide stylish storage.

Photo by: Clara MacLellan

Clara MacLellan

Our reclaimed wood is black walnut which is a great species for bathroom shelves because of its durable and moisture-resistant characteristics, plus we love the natural dark-rich tone and beautiful woodgrain. We used standard shelf brackets that are readily available at many big retailers.

Open Bathroom Shelving
Loading Video...

Tools and Materials

  • old barnwood
  • shelf brackets
  • miter saw
  • safety glasses, face mask and gloves
  • orbital sander
  • fine-grit sandpaper
  • polyurethane
  • stud finder
  • measuring tape
  • level
  • screws
  • drill and various-sized bits
  • screwdriver
  • pencil

Cut Wood to Size

Photo by: Jacquelyn_McGilvray

Jacquelyn_McGilvray

Determine the size of your shelves and use a miter saw (or circular saw) to cut the wood. Make sure to wear proper protective gear while doing this.

Sand the Wood

Use a sander to smooth the edges of the wood and slightly round them over. Then use fine-grit sandpaper to remove any sanding marks and rough spots.

Apply Sealer

Photo by: Jacquelyn_McGilvray

Jacquelyn_McGilvray

Apply three to four thin coats of polyurethane over the entire surface of the wood. Spray in a constant, even motion for the best results.

Attach Brackets to Wall

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Use a stud finder to locate the studs in the wall and mark them with a pencil. Position the brackets on the wall and mark the screw placement of each bracket. Use a level to make sure they are even. Pre-drill the holes in the wall using a drill bit that coordinates with the size of the screws. Then screw the brackets to the wall.

Predrill Bracket Holes on Shelves

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Lay the shelves on top of the brackets, and from the underside of the shelves, mark the placement of the screw holes. Remove the shelves then pre-drill for those screw holes. Pro Tip: Wrap the drill bit with tape at the proper depth so you don’t accidentally drill all the way through the wood.

Attach Shelves to Brackets

Place the shelf on the brackets and use a screwdriver to tighten the screws into place. Make sure everything is tight and even throughout this process.

Add Decor

Floating shelves made from old barnwood provide stylish storage.

How to Create Open Bathroom Shelving

Floating shelves made from old barnwood provide stylish storage.

Photo by: Clara MacLellan

Clara MacLellan

When all the pieces are on the wall and screwed together, you are ready to decorate.

Next Up

How to Make a Decorative Pegboard Shelf

Need wall storage but can’t find just the right shelving unit? Try this modern take on an old-school storage idea. It’s easy to build and you can customize the colors however you’d like.

How to Make Wire Shelf Covers That Look Just Like Floating Shelves

This renter and homeowner-friendly hack transforms tricky wire shelves into stylish, faux floating wood shelves.

13 Best Floating Shelves for Every Room in the House

Add instant style and storage to your home with these fab finds.

The 10 Best Wall-Mounted Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

Put your empty walls to work with these space-saving floating shelves, cubbies and cabinets.

Turn a Vintage Dresser Into a Bathroom Vanity

Customize any bathroom by using a vintage dresser or buffet instead of a builder-grade vanity. Scour thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets for a piece that is the right size for your space. You may even be able to shop your home!

How to Build Banquette Seating With Built-in Storage

Optimize seating and storage with an L-shaped bench that will turn any corner into a cozy destination.

How to Organize a Closet: Tips for Clearing Closet Clutter

Learn how to organize your closet like a pro with our strategies for storing clothes, photos and art supplies. Plus, find out how to turn your closet into a home office.

11 Best Garage Shelving Ideas

Functional and practical, these storage solutions will transform your garage from messy to organized.

Make a DIY Stock Tank Pool

This stock tank pool how-to will have you lounging in the summer sun in just one weekend — and for a lot less cash than you'd expect.

How to Build a Ledge Bookshelf

Learn how to build narrow floating shelves that are perfect for a kid’s room or living area, or any small space.

What's New in Handmade

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.