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Built-in Kitchen Wall Shelf

These built-in shelves have the elegance of fine furniture with open storage and a rod for hanging pots and pans.

Build-in kitchen shelf with hanging cookware

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


  • Drill
  • 1-in spade bit
  • Miter box and handsaw
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Electronic stud finder
  • Painter’s tape
  • Liquid Nails construction adhesive
  • 1-3/4-in wire brads
  • Wood putty


  • 4 - 12-in maple corbels, #225705
  • 1 x 12 x 96 pine board
  • 11/16 x 1-5/8 x 144 pine panel moulding, #348722
  • 3 - 1 x 48 round dowels, #19386
  • 4 - Garden Treasures S-hooks, 2-packs, #149880
  • Valspar Signature semigloss paint, Swiss Coffee (#7002-16)

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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The materials list provides enough to build a single 8-foot shelf with rods for hanging S-hooks. To build the pair of shelves shown, double all of the supplies, except for the dowels and paint. All of these parts are customizable to match your wall length. The corbels can be installed up to 27 inches center to center. The shelf is 9 inches longer than the outside dimensions of the corbels after they are installed on your wall. Measure your wall and adjust the plans to fit your space.

Prepare the Parts

Step 1

Sand and apply the first coat of paint to the corbels, dowels, shelves, and trim.

Step 2

Drill holes for the dowels in the pot shelf
Drill holes for the dowels in the pot shelf

Mark the locations of the holes to receive the dowels on the corbels (Project Diagram, Drawings 1 and 2). Mark your drill bit with a tape flag 1/2 inch from the cutting edges, and then drill a 1/2-inch-deep hole for the corbels to receive the dowels.

Step 3

Mark the length of the end trim
Mark the length of the end trim

Cut the shelf to the finished length. Miter-cut a strip of panel molding 2 inches longer than the edge to which it will be applied. Cut a miter on one end, then put the part in position and mark the second cut. Trim the edging to length and then adhere the trim in position with a paintable caulk/adhesive and secure with wire brads.

Good to Know

Instead of trying to get the miter right on the first try (and risk cutting too short), cut it slightly oversize and gradually trim small amounts until the fit is exact.

Step 4

Now cut the front trim 2 inches longer than needed and cut a miter to go against the first miter cut. Clamp the part in position against the previously installed trim and mark the front trim for the miter on the other end of the shelf.

Step 5

Use painters tape to hold the trim while the adhesive cures
Use painters tape to hold the trim while the adhesive cures

Apply a paintable caulk/adhesive to the joint and use painter’s tape to secure the trim as you align and nail the trim in position. Wipe the excess adhesive from the parts.

Step 6

Repeat the process for the remaining end trim and fill any nail holes with putty. After it dries, sand the shelf and trim, and wipe it clean. Apply one more coat of paint to the shelf, corbels, and dowels.

Step 7

Small white kitchen shelf

For an alternate look to suit your decor, experiment with different front and side trim. For example, this downsized shelf (shown installed) uses a 1-3/8-inch-wide pine base cap moulding.

Hang the Shelf

Step 1

Use a level to mark a level line on your wall at the shelf-top location using painter’s tape. Use a stud finder to mark the locations of the wall studs on the tape and also mark the preferred corbel locations -- ours were 27 inches from center to center.

Step 2

Measure from the keyhole plate on the back of the corbels and transfer the measurements to where the corbels will attach to the wall. Install the appropriate number of hollow wall anchors. (One of our corbels was mounted to a stud, the rest were hung with hollow wall anchors.) Drive the screws so the head is protruding 1/8 inch from the wall.

Step 3

Hang the corbels and insert the dowels
Hang the corbels and insert the dowels

Measure the center-to-center dimensions of the corbel locations, reduce this length by 1 inch and cut the dowels to length.

Step 4

Install the first corbel, slip the dowel in the hole in the first corbel, and then add the next corbel to support the dowel.

Step 5

After the corbels and dowels are installed, remove the tape from the wall and apply adhesive caulk to the top of the corbels. Position the shelf on the corbels so they overhang the end corbels equally. Allow the adhesive to dry and put the shelves and pot hanger dowels to work.