How to Make Corner Wall Shelves – The Easy Way!

Hey everyone, Hank here! As many of you know, I’m always looking for new DIY projects that allow me to get creative with woodworking and home improvement. Recently, I’ve become interested in making corner wall shelves to maximize storage space and add a unique design element to my home.

As a Chicago apartment dweller, I’m all too familiar with making the most of small spaces. Corner shelves seem like a perfect solution for those awkward angled corners that often go unused. Beyond gaining storage, I’m also excited about the chance to build something with my two hands and put my stamp on my home.

In this post, I’ll walk you through the entire process from start to finish. We’ll cover planning and design considerations, building techniques, installation, and styling tips – all the nitty-gritty details you need to DIY your corner shelves! I’ve done plenty of research to make sure we do this right.

Let’s get started!

Understanding the Basics

First, we must get familiar with corner shelves and why they can be helpful in home design.

How to Make Corner Wall Shelves

What are Corner Wall Shelves?

Corner shelves are triangular shelving units custom-designed to fit into corner spaces. They usually have two angled sides neatly in each corner and a straight front side for accessibility. This design takes advantage of space that would otherwise sit empty!

They come in tons of different styles and serve various functions:

  • Floating corner shelves – mounted right on the wall in a floating effect
  • Corner bookshelves – sized and shaped specially to store books
  • Corner display shelves – great for showing off decorative items
  • Corner storage shelves – complete with baskets and bins for organizing items
  • Corner wine racks – perfectly fitting wine bottles and glasses

The options are endless!

Importance of Corner Shelves in Home Design

Corner shelves offer several benefits that make them a smart choice for any home:

It maximizes storage in small spaces. It is the perfect solution for making the most of awkward, irregular corners in apartments, condos, or any small living space.

Adding a unique design element – Corner shelves, with their many styles, are a great way to add a focal point and flair.

Saving space – Corner shelves don’t occupy any floor space since they are mounted on the wall. This means more room for activities!

Versatility – Corner shelves can work in just about any room – living room, kitchen, bedroom, you name it!

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For these reasons and more, don’t underestimate the power of corner shelves for maximizing both style and storage in your home!

Planning Your Corner Shelf Project

Planning upfront will set us up for success and help us end up with fantastic corner shelves.

Assessing Your Space

First, we must consider the specifics of the corner space we want to outfit with shelves. Here are a few steps:

  • Measure the corner space’s width, depth, and height carefully, noting any irregularities.
  • Sketch out your room layout on graph paper to visualize the shelves in place. Make it life-size if possible.
  • Decide the intended purpose – books, display, storage? This will inform the shelf size and number of tiers.
  • Look for potential obstacles, such as pipes, ducts, or outlets, that could impede installation, and plan around them.
Create More Storage and Style with Corner Wall Shelves

Choosing the Right Material

With the space figured out, now we can pick the suitable material. There are pros and cons to each option:

Wood is a classic choice, available in many stains and paint colors. It is durable and sustainable, but its downside is its weight and sensitivity to temperature/humidity changes.

Metal – Super lightweight and modern. It can show some wear over time when holding heavier items.

Glass is gorgeous and creates a light and airy look. However, it is prone to breaking and requires very secure mounting.

Acrylic – Lightweight yet durable alternative, but also on the expensive side. It can easily be scratched.

I’m using reclaimed wood from my local reuse center for my shelves. It fits my DIY style perfectly!

Design Considerations

Beyond materials, a few other design choices will impact the look and function of the shelves:

  • Contemporary vs. Traditional – Match the existing style in your home, or make a statement!
  • Size and # of Tiers – Consider both aesthetics and storage needs.
  • Built-in Features – Doors, drawers, lighting? Get creative!

After some thought, I’ve decided on a two-tiered asymmetrical shelf design with a tiny open cubby and one larger enclosed storage area. The mixture of open and closed storage perfectly suits my needs!

Tools and Supplies

For my reclaimed wood shelves, I’ll need:

  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood screws
  • Wood finish and brush

Plus, a dose of creativity and patience! Now, we’re ready to start building.

Step-by-Step Guide to Building the Shelves

With all the planning done, it’s time to start construction! I’ll walk through it slowly.

Preparing the Materials

My first steps will be:

  • I calculated the dimensions of the reclaimed wood shelf and used my circular saw and a stop block to cut the pieces for the top, bottom, and sides.
  • Next, I’ll sand down rough edges and dull, sharp corners. Smooth sailing from here!
  • I’ll finish the wood pieces with a homemade beeswax finish from another project. You just need to brush it on lightly.

They are looking good so far!

How to make your corner wall shelves

Assembling the Shelf

Now comes the fun part – bringing it all together:

  • I’ll start by gluing the back piece flat to the bottom shelf, using wood glue and clamps. This will form the base.
  • Next, I’ll attach the sides at their appropriate angles. More wood glue! Clamps are essential here to keep everything snug while the glue dries.
  • Once the sides are secure, I’ll again attach the top shelf using glue and clamps.
  • Finally, I’ll drill pilot holes and insert wood screws for extra strength and stability. You can’t be too careful!
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After letting the glue fully cure overnight, I have my basic corner shelf frame ready to mount!

Installing and Mounting the Shelf

The shelves are built, but we still have to install them securely. Safety first!

Selecting the Hardware

For mounting the shelf into drywall, I’ll use:

  • Hollow wall anchors – Allow screws to bite into drywall for a secure hold
  • Wall screws – Long enough to fully penetrate the anchors
  • Level – To ensure the shelves sit straight
  • Stud finder – Finds studs for extra-secure mounting
  • Power drill for pilot holes – Prevent splitting

Step-by-Step Mounting Process

Here’s how I’ll mount these babies securely:

  • Determine the final location, accounting for clearances. Mark stud locations with a stud finder.
  • Drill pilot holes into the back corners of the shelf where the screws will go.
  • Insert wall anchors into pilot holes drilled into the wall, tapped in gently with a hammer.
  • Carefully lift the shelf into position and insert wall screws through the shelf back into anchors.
  • Check for level frequently. Adjust anchors as needed.
  • Where possible, insert extra screws directly into wall studs for enhanced security.

There we have it – my custom corner shelves are now fully installed and ready for action!

Adding Finishing Touches

I’ll add some personal touches to customize the shelves to complete the project.

Paint and Stain

Though I already applied a natural beeswax finish, some paint or stain could give them an extra oomph.

Here are a few tips:

  • Gel stains beautifully add color to wood, allowing the grain to shine. Multiple coats can build up a richer color.
  • Chalk paint is excellent for a smooth, aged look on wood. It also sticks to nearly any surface and can be distressed by sanding.
  • Use painter’s tape and drop cloths for the cleanest paint job. Patience is a virtue!

I’ll probably accent them with dark walnut gel stain to emphasize the natural wood look, but paint is always an option later on.

Customize your shelves to make the most of your space

Decorative Features

For extra flair, I may incorporate a few fun decorative elements:

  • Floating shelves mounted above to create a more substantial focal point
  • Discreet LED lighting for dramatic effect
  • Metal hardware for an industrial vibe
  • Reclaimed wood molding along the edges for visual interest

The possibilities are endless. I’ll probably start simple for now, but my imagination will keep running wild with ways to accessorize these shelves later on!

Styling and Organizing Your New Shelves

Once built and installed, the fun continues with styling these shelves to suit my space and needs.

Striking the Perfect Balance

Aesthetic appeal and functionality should be balanced when organizing your shelves. Some key tips:

  • Group items of similar height and color together for a cohesive look.
  • Frequently used items should go on the most accessible shelves.
  • Rotate objects seasonally to keep things fresh.
  • Leave some negative space between items to avoid a cluttered look.
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I’m aiming for a look that’s functional yet visually interesting. Plenty of room to get creative with the styling!

Personalizing with Accessories

Now for the fun part – it’s time to accessorize! I plan to use my shelves to display my favorite books, photos, art, and quirky vintage finds.

Some ideas:

  • Coordinating baskets for wrangling smaller items
  • Frames and risers to display unique books vertically
  • Sculptural bookends in fun shapes as bookend
  • Gallery lights above for illuminating artwork

The options for personalizing these shelves are genuinely limitless. I can’t wait to finally style them and enjoy them in my newly transformed space!

Maintaining Your New Shelves

I always emphasize long-term sustainability in my DIY projects. Keeping your shelves looking their best involves proper maintenance.

Regular Cleaning

  • Wipe wooden shelves with a soft cloth and mild cleaner to remove dust and dirt. Avoid excessive moisture.
  • Glass shelves should be cleaned with a specialty glass cleaner and soft cloth.
  • For metal shelves, use a mild all-purpose cleaner and microfiber cloth.

Make quick cleaning a habit to avoid buildup.

Preventing and Repairing Damage

Accidents happen! Stay ahead of it with some DIY damage control:

  • Inspect shelves regularly for loose screws, cracks, or instability. Tighten and reinforce right away before it worsens.
  • Scratches and gouges in wood can often be carefully sanded down and re-stained to be less noticeable.
  • For MDF or laminate shelves, apply wood filler into deeper gouges before sanding smooth.

With regular maintenance and TLC, your shelves can look beautiful for years!

Safety: Preventing Collapse and Injury

Safety should be the top priority when dealing with heavy shelves mounted high on a wall. Please remember these precautions!

  • Only overload shelves within their weight capacities, as this is the #1 cause of shelf collapse! Distribute weight evenly.
  • Use the proper wall anchors for your shelf’s load and wall type. Molly and toggle bolts add the most strength to drywall.
  • Properly screw into wall studs whenever possible for maximum security and stability.
  • Consider adding corner braces at the bottom for extra support and earthquake safety.

Your home should be a haven. With careful installation and precautions, your DIY corner shelves will stand sturdy for many years of service!

Closing Thoughts

DIYers, we covered a lot of ground in successfully designing, building, mounting, and styling your custom corner shelves. As you can see, it’s a gratifying project that allows you to add custom storage solutions and a personal flair through your handiwork.

All these tips inspire and give you the confidence to begin your corner shelf project. Remember to have fun with the process and make it your own. As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have. Until next time, happy building!