How to build easy barn wood book shelves!

I have not professed my struggle about my office to you guys out here on the blog yet. Well, its been a doozy! First, I had it all done, complete, looking good . . . and I hated it. When Joe and I moved in here last August my mom sent one of her big book cases along with me which I managed to somehow fit every last book I had in it . . . but NO room for more and that just wasn’t going to work! And that poor book case was so jammed packed that it just looked awful. (NO, I could not give up more books I had already forced myself to purge two full bins which I gave to the library!) And then there was the big closet in my office (which I had so many hopes and dreams for) which had become a total failure for me when it came to storage. On top of all of that I had my back to the door when I was working at my computer. In the end, I needed to go back to drawing board and figure out the first most important thing my office had to do for me. And that was (as you might guess) some really great book shelves! Next week I’ll post my whole office reveal but, for right now, let us talk about barn wood book shelves! I had lots of dreams and ideas for builts-ins across this entire wall . . .

Easy inexpensive cheap DIY tutorial barn wood book shelves

But I was always pulled by the fact that honestly I just didn’t want to make this room feel even smaller then it already was. I took the smaller of the two bedrooms for my office and, until I brought my furniture in, I had really thought that it was PLENTY big enough. I had dreams about a full cabinet run all the way along the bottom of the window to each wall, built ins running all the way to the ceiling etc. It just wasn’t in the cards. The more I thought about it the more I wanted something as minimal as possible with as-invisible-as-possible hardware. So, I headed to the store for some L brackets.

Easy inexpensive cheap DIY tutorial barn wood book shelves

Using a pencil, a measuring tape and a level I got to work drawing my lines along the wall where each shelf would hang and finding my studs. I knew I would always have a stud in the corners to hit but I also knew I had to find at least ONE more for these shelves to be able to hold any kind of real weight. With the lines drawn, I put up my brackets using three inch deck screws into the studs. (I really didn’t want to be in bed some night to hear the crash of my barn wood book shelves falling to the floor.)

Easy inexpensive cheap DIY tutorial barn wood book shelves

From there I headed out to the barn to see what Grandpa saved for me that would work in this project. Suddenly my book shelves were now, most certainly: Barn wood book shelves! I grabbed the wood I needed and got them cut to length (using my miter saw in the basement) and then put them on towels in our kitchen because they were absolutely FILTHY.

Easy inexpensive cheap DIY tutorial barn wood book shelvesEasy inexpensive cheap DIY tutorial barn wood book shelves

Some vinegar and some elbow grease and I was so excited! Isn’t this old pine beautiful? Thank you Grandpa! I’m only sad that you end up not being able to see hardly any of it because they’re covered in books!

Easy inexpensive cheap DIY tutorial barn wood book shelvesEasy inexpensive cheap DIY tutorial barn wood book shelves

I pulled the boards out from the wall about two inches just so the last screw hole in the bracket would still sink into full wood but also so the shelves would still be as deep as possible. It dawned on me that books certainly did not need shelves that ran flush to the wall, a gap across the back wasn’t going to effect anything. These are true 2x6s meaning: they are actually 2 inches by 6 inches as opposed to the 2x6s of today which are 1 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches. But, really, any wood you choose will work for this project, I just wanted thick enough boards so I would be able to screw up into the bottom of them without having to use bolts and nuts however, doing it that way on your own barn wood book shelves would be fine as well.

Easy inexpensive cheap DIY tutorial barn wood book shelvesEasy inexpensive cheap DIY tutorial barn wood book shelves Easy inexpensive cheap DIY tutorial barn wood book shelves

I am so excited to finally have some real storage now and I love how minimal the shelves really are! I ended up doing four shelves to the right of the window and only two to the left so I had a place for my rocking chair beneath them. With the angle I was using on my camera you can see the hardware across the bottom but most people are taller then four feet and can’t see it unless they bend down and LOOK for it. All in the project cost me about $20 in hardware and $5 in screws and it only took me about an hour to complete! Sometimes I am just amazed at how little time it takes sometimes to vastly improve a space! (and my life!)

Easy inexpensive cheap DIY tutorial barn wood book shelves

Check out my full Office Reveal!

Easy do it yourself diy inexpensive cheap frugal barn wood book shelves with hidden hardware wood working

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  1. Alice
    April 11, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Works for me. Hope tp be able to make some of these…just have to figure out WHERE!

    • April 12, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      Hey there! What I really like about them is that they can be just about as “shallow” as you like so they don’t seem to impede on the room very much, I think they might be great even in a bedroom. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Nancy F Lambert
    April 18, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    The shelves are amazing, Thank you for sharing and giving me ideas.

    • April 18, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      Thank you! I’m SO happy to finally have a place for all of my books! Honestly, home is where my books are 🙂

  3. July 24, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Wow, Tarah! These turned out fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing @Vintage Charm!

  4. September 21, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    What a great idea. I have got books stuffed everywhere and would love to create something like this to display my ever growing book collection.

    • September 21, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Thank you Anna, they were really easy to put up! The only thing I wish I had done differently was put up the shelves closer together, so I could have squeezed one more shelf on each wall!

  5. September 26, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    I love old barn wood – you did a great job! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party!

  6. September 28, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    I need to show this to my 7 year old granddaughter. Last week she was showing me how to set the ringtone on my new phone and said, “next week I will show you how to repurpose and old bookcase into a ladder for my loft bed!” She makes me feel old. LOL

    • September 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Marilyn, that’s great! I have a cousin that I have to message from time to time for help with my smart phone lol I get so annoyed trying to work on a phone, I much prefer being at a computer!

  7. October 6, 2016 at 3:39 am

    Great work. Ilove the shelves. Now I need to make some!! 🙂 Best wishes, Linda #Crafts a la mode
    Pinned also.

    • October 6, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      Linda, I was so stoked that these turned out as well as they did and you can’t even see the hardware! Thanks for coming by!

  8. October 8, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Turned out great! Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday.

  9. October 10, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    What a beautiful project- so you didn’t use any stain? My husband is going to be making some picture ledges for me and I’m having the absolute worst time finding a stain I like.

    • October 10, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Jessy, nope these just came right out of the barn like that 🙂 I cleaned them with vinegar and then screwed them to the wall. I love the patina of older wood but if it doesn’t have a lot of character I usually reach for minwax’s dark walnut, it is the dark brown of my floors so it’s always my go-to!

  10. October 10, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    This shelving unit looks gorgeous and so natural!
    Such a beautiful project 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    Visiting from Monday Link up


  11. October 11, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Oh Tarahlynn, I love your projects. You keep on giving…LOL. Love your thinking process and how you implement it all. Thanks for sharing at DI&DI.

    • October 12, 2016 at 3:19 pm

      Thank you so much Linda 🙂

  12. October 14, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    I love how these turned out! We just finished large built-in bookshelves with a window seat for all of my books (love having a place for them now!), but I will be keeping these shelves in mind for future projects. I always have more books and things to display 🙂 (Visiting from Thrifty Thursday)

    • October 17, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      Eileen, I was thinking of doing built ins with a window seat too! I bet yours are lovely! Thank you for coming by!

  13. October 18, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Love this project–the shelves look so beautiful! Thanks for sharing. #happynowlinkup

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