What do household furniture items, funky books, and trash wood have in common? They can all help you save some serious space by creating beautiful and functional shelving. Unfortunately, they also take up a lot of landfill real estate, per The New York Times. But why take objects that are destined to be trashed and plaster them on your walls? We want to ask you, why not? The EPA reports that in 2018, over 12 million tons of furniture-related trash was produced (up almost 10 million tons from 1960). A majority of this municipal solid waste (MSW) includes basic household furnishings like mattresses, tables, chairs, and sofas, to name a few.
When it comes to creating unique wall storage, the bigger your imagination, the better. So if you pride yourself on thinking in different sounds and hearing different colors, then this repurposing project has your name written all over it. The goal of creating unique shelving out of "potential garbage" is to think sustainably and give items a second (or third) chance at life ... and a more permanent home. It should also inspire you to see the world in a different light and find beauty in what others might call icky. The best part is that you probably have at least one of the following items currently in your possession. So if inspiration is what's stopping you from creating some eco-friendly shelf art, don't let it. Keep reading for some fun and relatively simple shelving ideas. glass bolt
If you happen to have deteriorating books (or even nice ones to display) then it's time to repurpose them into your personal homage to literature. There are more than a few ways to make shelves out of books, but the floating shelf is by far the simplest. You'll need a hardbound book with its dust jacket and two L brackets, which you'll mount to your wall. Be sure to cut a few slits in the book jacket before you place the book on top. The best part is that you can switch out books whenever you'd like.
Moving out of state means that you're going to be left with at least one (or more) license plates that are rendered useless. Until you started reading this. License plates can be easily bent in an L shape to create small miniature display shelves. Hang them on a wall to show off small trinkets or on a fence in your backyard with votive candles for a funky, eco-chic mood atmosphere. IF you don't have any lying around, you can purchase vintage or out-of-state license plates online, or possibly find them at your local junkyard.
This works with any type of cordage, be it belts or rope. You'll need one piece of sanded plywood and two belts that are at least one inch wide. These don't have to be identical, either. Cut the belts so that they're the same length, and then make marks on the walls where you want your shelf to sit. Make sure to use drywall anchors so that your shelf stays where it's supposed to. Once your two belt "hooks" have been placed, slide in your board and you've got a belt shelf.
Anything can be upcycled and that includes dresser drawers. All you'll need is a drawer and some basic hardware for hanging. If you want to make a split-level shelf, you'll also need some scrap wood and eyelets to support it. With the help of paint or decoupage glue and neato patterned paper, repurposed dresser drawer shelves can be as simple or as fancy as you want them to be. Make sure to give them a good sanding to soften any rough edges before you start the beautifying process. Use your hardware to hang them in your desired location.
Using a skateboard deck is a great throwback to the 80s and 90s, or just a nice way to show off your love for all things street surfing. While there is a multitude of different, and rather intricate, DIY skateboard shelves out there, one of the easiest to build, and most aesthetically pleasing, requires just cordage, the board itself, and mounting hardware. Because the skateboard already has holes in it, you just pull your cordage right through and make a super sweet hanging deck shelf.
Pianos, drums, and guitars aren't to be shunned when thinking of creative and decorative repurposed shelving. When it comes to guitars, make sure you remove all the tuning pegs and screws (and strings). You'll need to use power tools to carefully remove the front panel, cutting about an inch and a half from the outside. This will keep you from hitting the hardware inside the instrument. The inner support panels can be used as shelving. Sand, glue, and decorate as desired.
This is another upcycled shelving project that requires power tools, but it's totally worth it. Measure about 6 inches from the front of the suitcase, and then wrap painter's tape around your suitcase. This will be the cut line, and you'll need a jigsaw to make it all the way through the entire case. Keep in mind that you'll also be building an internal structure for your suitcase shelf, so you'll need plywood, too. Once you've built your structure, attach it to the wall and then screw the suitcase to the shelf. Now you have a travel-themed wall.
Wooden shutters can be utilized as bookshelves in multiple different variations. Of course, there's the typical bookshelf, where the shutters act as the supportive sides of the shelf itself. Shutters can also be used as magazine holders in offices and/or restrooms. Just clean, paint, and hang them in your desired location of choice. (Then slide in all those good reads.) They can also be used as vertical or horizontal backings for miniature attached shelves or coat hooks.
Get inspired by nature and bring a piece of it inside your home, but make sure that you scrub, sand, and soak it first. (In case there are any little creepy crawlies calling it home.) Go minimalist and mount it to a wall using L-brackets. This will give you enough space between the branch (or driftwood) and the wall, so it can properly hold books without them falling forward. Another option is to make a tree branch ladder that can be used as cascaded shelving for holding towels.
Wood waste is the unused wood byproduct from lumber and paper mills. It includes wood shavings, chips, sawdust, bark, tree trunks, branches, and stumps. Pallets also fall into this category. So if you're thinking of making a sustainable wood waste shelf, then your options are pretty open for materials. You can make a typical pallet-style shelf, or use slabs suspended with rope. Or take it one step further and mount a wood knot to your wall that can hold little objects like figurines, small photo frames, or crystals.
In order to make this particular upcycled shelf, you're going to need to get the correct type of ladder. This means it needs to be made of wood. (Check your local thrift stores for aged ladders.) You can use either an older leaning ladder or an A-frame style — the latter can be opened all the way up to make an extra-long shelf. They also make nice corner shelving. To attach your upcycled ladder to the wall, you'll need at least three or four sturdy L-brackets, depending on the style of ladder you're using.
As strange as it might sound, you can actually make shelving out of old coffee, side, and standard-size tables. First, determine how far you want your shelves to stick out. Once you've measured it out and marked it on your table, grab a jigsaw, and get going. After you've made a clean cut, measure out the height at which you would like your new repurposed table shelf (or shelves) to go. Keep them staggered, which will help draw the eye in. Make sure to use L-brackets and drywall anchors to prevent your new wall candy from falling forward.
You might be wondering how this would work, but remember: upcycling is all about imagination. While there are many versions of using a chair for a shelf, utilizing it so that it serves more than one function is always a preferred option. By deconstructing the base from the top, you can actually build a chair shelf that serves as a towel rack, too. It takes a little bit more work to finish this particular upcycle project but it's most definitely worthwhile. Just be sure that your chair has slats in the back for towel hanging. (Rung-backed chairs work best.)
Your home doesn't need to be nautical-themed to enjoy this DIY boat bookshelf. If you happen to stumble across an old row boat or canoe, you can upcycle it and turn it into your new living room focal point. That being said, this is probably the most time and labor-intensive repurposing project on this list. It might be easier to just use waste wood (pallets) to create a boat-shaped bookshelf from scratch, per Instructables.
If you're a lover of wine, then this is a great way to show off your collection of wine-related literature and unique fermented bevvie trinkets. Make sure you use drywall anchors when attaching your wine boxes unless you've managed to locate the wall studs. (A feat unto itself.) You can also get creative and build a wine box wall, which can be used up against a wall or as a room divider, making sure that all boxes are securely attached and fall-proofed. Don't forget to arrange your boxes so that light can get through.
Custom Bracket You can create a corner shelf by splitting the door down the middle using a jigsaw and securing it with wood screws and carpenters glue. The other visually stunning option is to cut out the door panels and use them as shelves. Face them outward to give your shelf more of a display feeling, or inward, which gives a more window box touch. Secure the panels to the door frame using brackets, hinges, and/or chains, as needed. Keep in mind that a support foot will also need to be constructed to keep your new door shelf from slipping.