How to build easy barn wood book shelves!

Apr 11 2016
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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 my 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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74 Comments on "How to build easy barn wood book shelves!"

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

Nancy F Lambert

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

Cecilia MyThriftStoreAddiction

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


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.

Helen at Pleasures of the NW

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

Marilyn Lesniak

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

Linda Bouffard

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

Sherry Nappa

Turned out great! Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday.

Jessy @ The Life Jolie

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.

Bibi (@simplesummit)

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

Visiting from Monday Link up


Linda Primmer

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.

Eileen @ Just Measuring Up

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)

Holly & Heather

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


That wood really is gorgeous! What a wonderful gift that you have all these materials left from your grandparents. Thanks again for joining us at the #happynowlinkup!


This looks so great!! Love them!

I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks:

Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!


You guys like books like we do! Love the shelves! Thanks for sharing at the #InspirationSpotlight party. Shared

Carla a.k.a Mrs. R

Tarah, I love barn wood. Those shelves look awesome and one can never have too many books lol

I’m going to be using the vinegar stain technique on my aged deck boards on my porch. I’ve read a lot about it and I love the look of the stain. Mary @ Boondocks Blog got me started on that one lol xo


I love your floating shelves. They turned out great. Thank you for sharing at the Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make link party!

Mother of 3

That is so simple and cute!

Lisa Ehrman

I really like barn wood, and love what how you made the shelves. Thanks for sharing at Together on Tuesdays 🙂

Jill at Vintage & Co.

Wow, they look really good. Great job!!! Repurposing the old barn wood, what a savings, too!

Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle

I so love the wood grains, what a lovely bookshelf. Just perfect for your office.

Bloggers Pit Stop


Your shelves are gorgeous! I love the barn wood. Such a beautiful addition to your room. Thanks for sharing at the Wednesday Showcase. Pinned!


The wood in these shelves is really beautiful. By making the bracketing minimal the wood stands out and when its that nice it should be a show piece.

I am curious to see how your office comes together. Enjoy your weekend.

Amber Harrop

I love the grain of the wood in those shelves Tarah 🙂


I love your barnwood shelves and the underwater dogs book! My water crazy dog is snoring at my feet at the moment! 😉

Clearissa Coward

I love the shelves. Thanks for sharing with us at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I’ve shared on social media.

Victoria @DazzleWhileFrazzled

Love how the shelves look! I’m into mid century/retro these days and these shelves fit that look. Visiting from Coffee and Conversation party.

Carol ("Mimi")

The floating bookshelves look terrific, and they don’t take up too much space in the room. I love how you continually honor those who came before you (your grandfather in this post) as you re-purpose the objects that they left behind. I’m sure you would not find such beautiful pine boards today if you went to a home supply store for new lumber. Using the authentic, solid wood from a bygone era is such a wonderful way to practice gratitude.
Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

Anne In The Kitchen

I did something similar in my laundry room with wood my grandfather gave me from an old barn. I smile everytime I see them! Thanks, for sharing!

Quin McConnell

Cute shelves! I’m thankful for this tutorial because I want to do something like this in the nursery I’m designing for my daughter right now.


These look GREAT! Really changes that corner. Would LOVE if you’d share at Reader Tip Tuesday:

I hope to see you & these shelves at the party :). Have a great day…


These turned out AMAZING! Congrats – you were featured at this week’s Reader Tip Tuesday:

Grab a button & join the new creative fun at this week’s party.
Have a GREAT day xo

Ann @ Live The Old Way
Ann @ Live The Old Way

Love the way the way the vinegar brought out the wood! We have some cedar that has turned grey from the sun, I might give that a try and see if it will bring it back to life! Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop!


This wonderful post is a HOME feature on the September You’re the STAR blog hop:
PS – You’ve been doubly featured – this post was also featured:

Carrie @ Carrie's Home Cooking

Thanks so much for sharing your post with us on Whisk It Wednesday this week. Hope you have a great week and come back soon! Carrie

The Fabulous Party

Love this. What a great tutorial! I just pinned, tweeted and shared the post.
Thanks for coming and linking at the Fabulous Party. I’ll link your other posts too.i’ll follow you on Facebook. So watch for my friend request. Have a Happy Day. Sherry at Our Holiday Journey

Iris Nacole
Making a shoe rack and closet storage out an old ladder


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