I have been busy lately on some major house upgrades.  This is one of them!

I cannot tell you how much I love being able to see all of the beautiful dishes that I have collected over the years!  Believe it or not, we actually use most of these dishes on a regular basis!

In our house, whoever is charge of setting the table sets it right after we eat so it is ready for the next night.  My oldest will even see what is on the menu for the next night and will set particular dishes depending on what we are eating (Chinese/Mexican/Soup/etc..)

view from foyer

Now we can easily see all of the dishes and it makes setting the table more fun!

I’ll share a few tips and tricks that I learned while working on this project.

First of all, if you are going to be painting, paint everything before you start.  I changed the color from beige to green (Spring Green from Sherwin Williams).  You can see the ceiling hadn’t been painted yet in this picture.

before wall

I removed the chair rail after I painted because I was originally going to try to work around it.  I decided that was a bad idea, and so I removed it which meant that I had to sand and repaint the area where the chair rail originally was.

wall uprights installed

I had been building this project in my mind a long time before I actually did it.  I originally was going to use wooden corbels and wooden shelving that I built myself, but I soon learned that Home Depot and Lowes didn’t carry what I was looking for, at least at a price I was willing to pay!

IKEA to the rescue!!  This is their ALGOT system, and I have to say it is really great to work with.  I highly recommend buying the suspension rail which allows you to hang the wall uprights and get everything centered and aligned perfectly before you attach it to the wall.

high view

I used heavy duty drywall toggle hardware that will hold 238 pounds per screw.  I really wanted to feel confident that this wall unit was sturdy.

I wanted to have hidden storage as well.  Originally I was thinking of unfinished kitchen cabinetry, but I wanted my drawers to be the same width as the shelves (15 inches).  IKEA delivered again, with their TARVA chest of drawers.   Originally I was going to just use one six-drawer unit, but I didn’t like the proportions, so I decided to connect a six-drawer unit with a three-drawer unit.

shelves completed

After assembling both units, I painted them white with the leftover paint I had from when I redid my stairs (link to that post here).

creating built in drawers

To make the units look like one seamless unit, I made several modifications before I assembled it.  First, I cut all of the legs shorter.

Next, because the top overhangs, I had to cut it off on the sides that would attach to each other.  In the picture above, you can see that I cut the top to be perfectly flush with the right side.  When I cut the left side of the 3-drawer unit, I didn’t cut it completely flush, but left about an 1/8 extra so that the gap between the two units would match the gap between the drawers of the six-drawer unit.

lining up drawer units

To keep the units from separating, I screwed them together inside while the drawers were removed.

screw together

Since I didn’t want the feet to give away the fact that I had screwed two separate units together, I reused the chair rail that I had removed from the wall and used it as a baseboard around the entire unit.  I filled in that gap that you can see from the top with caulk.

attaching chair rail to bottom

I also caulked the seam where the two units come together on the top.

caulk top

The gap where the two units meet is dark and therefore it didn’t match the gap between the drawers on the six-shelf unit.  To solve that, I just put some white duct tape over the gap. (this is duct tape leftover from my school books project.  Click here for that link)

duct tape

Once everything was together, I painted the knobs with rubbed bronze spray paint and painted the baseboard.

completed drawer units


shelves and drawer unit

I absolutely love how it turned out!

view from kitchen

Of course, my husband’s comment was “where in the world did you have all of those dishes stashed before!?!?!”  All I can say is that I am very good at organizing!!  🙂

view from library

full wall view

full wall


3 Thoughts on “DIY Open Shelving

  1. I love it, Rachel! And you have a LOT of dishes!!

  2. Jane Rutledge on May 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm said:

    Nice bones, but too many dishes!! I would thin it out and only put the nicer looking dishes up with pops of color throughout.

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