How To Build Closet Shelves

Here are instructions for how to build closet shelves. Closet rods and shelf brackets make it easy to build your own closet shelves for very little money. Any closet size can be fitted with these simple closet shelves, and you can build as many shelves as you like, with as many hanging or folding solutions as fit your lifestyle.

To build one closet shelf you will need:

  • Two shelf brackets or two blocks of 2×4 lumber.
  • One hardwood shelf at the length desired for your closet.

To add a hanging option to your closet shelf you will need:

  • One closet rod in the same length as the shelf
  • A pair of closet rod brackets.

You can find all the materials for building your closet shelves at your local home improvement store. 

  1. To build your closet shelves, follow these steps.
  2. Plan your closet shelf layout. Measure the length, width and depth of your closet and decide how many shelves you wish to install in it. If you plan to add closet rods under the shelves for hanging clothes, leave enough space to accommodate the type of clothes you intend to hang. For example, T-shirts require less space than dresses. Mark on the right-hand wall where you wish each closet shelf to sit. Then measure the height from the floor, and use this measurement to determine where to mark the opposite wall (left-hand side).
  3. Install the closet shelf supports. If you are planning to use shelf brackets to hold up your closet shelves, install them at both sides of the closet, just beneath the marks you made. If you want to save money and use blocks of 2×4 wood to support the closet shelves you are building, hammer them into the side walls beneath your marks.
  4. Install the closet shelves. If you wish to sand and finish your shelves, do so before you place them in your closet. Otherwise, go ahead and rest them over the closet shelf supports now.
  5. Install the closet rods. To suspend a closet rod under a closet shelf, you will need to install a closet rod bracket on either side of the wall, just under your closet shelf. If you used 2×4 lumber to support the shelf, install the closet rod brackets over the wood blocks, one at each end. You will need to cut the closet rod by a few inches so it can fit into the elevated closet rod brackets. If you built your closet shelves with shelf brackets, install the closet rod brackets directly into the side walls, just under the shelf. Be sure to use toggles to secure the brackets against the drywall.
  6. Install a closet rod without closet rod brackets. Some shelf brackets have a built-in loop that allows you to suspend a closet rod. In this case, no closet rod brackets are needed. Just slip the closet rod into place and you’re done.
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