How to DIY Laundry Shelves

Convert your dreary basement laundry into a functional, organized and finished workspace.

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A half day






Most homes have basement laundry machines, sometimes in a formal laundry room but commonly just in open space against a blank foundation wall. Here's an easy project to turn that blank and often dank open space into a more functional and enjoyable workspace. The materials come mostly out of one sheet of plywood and it all can be built in an afternoon.

Tools Required

  • 3/16 carbide tip drill bit
  • Brad nail gun
  • Circular saw or miter saw
  • Circular saw or table saw
  • Clamps
  • Drill/driver
  • Level

Materials Required

  • 1- 1 x 4 x 5 clear pine
  • 1- 2 x 4 x 8 Pressure Treated Pine
  • 1- 3/4 x 4 x 8 pre-finished plywood
  • 1-1 x 6 x 5 clear pine
  • 1-1/2-in. brad nails
  • 1-1/4-in. brad nails
  • 1/4-in. x 2-1/4 in. Tapcon screws
  • 2- 1 x 2 x 8 clear pine
  • 2” Construction Screws
  • Construction adhesive
  • water-based polyurethane
  • Wood glue

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1200 CuttinglistFamily Handyman

Project step-by-step (8)

Step 1

Attach Wall Cleats

  • Rip the two 2-in. x 2-in. x 8-in. cleats out of the 2-in. x 4-in. x 8-in. pressure treated pine.
  • Set your laundry machines in their optimal location, making sure that they are leveled properly.
  • Mark two vertical level plumb lines up from either side of the machines to place your wall cleats.
  • Place the bottom of the 2-in. x 2-in. cleats on the floor, attach them with construction adhesive and Tapcon screws.
  • Pre-drill with a carbide tip bit. Use only four to six fasteners; the construction adhesive will do the rest.
  • If you have mortar joints, it's easier to drill there than directly into the cement block.

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Step 2

Attach Side Panels

  • Attach the side panels to the wall cleats using construction adhesive and 2-in. screws.

Install Side Panels

Step 3

Install Back Panel

  • Each laundry will have different utility configurations to consider.
  • To maintain access to my shut-off valves and outlet, I started my back panel above those fixtures.
  • I needed 4-1/2-in. of clearance for the dryer vent pipe so I attached the back panel cleats accordingly with nails and adhesive. Clamps on either side helped support the back panel while nailing into place.

Step 4

Install Shelf Cleats

  • Layout spacing for shelves.
  • Draw level lines or use a torpedo level and install the cleats with nails and adhesive.

Step 5

Install Shelves

  • Set the shelves in place and nail them from the top of the shelf into the cleat below.

Shelve For Install

Step 6

Install Top Support

  • Nail the two support pieces together with adhesive.
  • Nail the support to the side panels.
  • Use a clamp as a helping hand.

Step 7

Add Shelf Trim

  • Rip the 1-in. x 6-in. x 5-in. into two 2-5/8-in. strips, then cut to length.
  • Attach the trim to the front of each shelf with wood glue and nails.

Nosing On Shelves

Step 8

Attach Panel Trim

  • Hold the inside edge of the side panel trim flush with the panel and attach with wood glue and nails.
  • Measure the distance between the two side trim pieces and cut the 1-in. x 4-in. x 5-in. to fit.
  • Attach the top trim with glue and nails
  • Finish the panel trim and shelf trim with two coats of water-based polyurethane.

Nosing On Side Panels