We Finally Have A Finished Nook: Mounting the Custom Shelves

By | April 9, 2015

When we planned the nook, we wanted to continue the open shelving concept from the other side of the kitchen. This meant we could either buy an outside corner shelf and a shelf between two cabinets or build it ourselves. Unfortunately, while buying is easier, it’s also more expensive. For the shelves between the two cabinets on this wall, we were looking at between $500 and $700. Yikes.

For the corner, it would have been another almost $500. So, instead of buying those two shelf cabinets, we decided to build them ourselves.

To help everything we’ve built ourselves blend in with itself and the purchased cabinets, we decided to build the nook shelves to match the look of the rest of the chunky kitchen shelves.

Nook Shelves Progress

However, instead of using 2 x 12 boards, I built these a little bit different than the rest of the kitchen shelves. I used some leftover 3/4 inch  MDF and layered two pieces together to get the same thickness as the other shelves. You can read about that process, here.

Middle Nook Shelves MDF and Pine Construction

Before finishing the shelves, I dry fit them a few times and sanded down any areas that were causing each shelf to not fit correctly. This was a frustrating process because our walls aren’t straight, and thus, the cabinets aren’t straight. Once that was done, we were ready to prime and paint. We put on two coats of each, sanding lightly with some 220-grit sand paper between each coat. We finished with a clear coat to help protect the paint from scuffs and scratches.

Melissa painted the back wall of the nook with the same color paint we used as a match for the cabinets so they would look built in.

Painting Nook Before Installing Shelves

After painting, I screwed the bottoms into the cabinets on each side using the pocket hole screws I had already drilled in each shelf.

Installed Custom Nook Shelving 5

I measured the total distance of the cabinet to divide the shelf spacing evenly.

Installed Custom Nook Shelving 3

And, of course, we had to check to make sure everything was level.

Installed Custom Nook Shelving 6

Then I set the top of the shelf in.

Installed Custom Nook Shelving 7

Pretty soon, everything was all in.

Installed Custom Nook Shelving 4

This worked exactly the same for the shelves in the middle. Some of them were a tight fit, but once the top half of each shelf was installed, we were done with installation.

Installing Custom Nook Shelves 2

To make sure we had a perfect-looking fit, we decided to caulk and paint all the joints. I did this after installing each shelf because it was hard to fit the caulk gun and my hands in the small shelves we designed to hold coffee cups.

Installing Custom Nook Shelves


The caulk really makes everything look polished and professional. You just have to be careful to not leave any smears and to paint over it so it doesn’t yellow over time.

Installed Custom Nook Shelving

Melissa was so excited at this point that she could hardly wait to start moving into the shelves, even though we weren’t quite finished.

Nook Before Installing Trim 2

We still needed to install the trim at the ceiling.

Nook Before Installing Trim 3

I’ll be back with the process of how we did that tomorrow.

In the meantime, tell us some of your best money saving hacks. We saved so much money by doing this part ourselves that even though it was a pain, it was worth it. How have you saved money in your house?

2 thoughts on “We Finally Have A Finished Nook: Mounting the Custom Shelves

  1. donita

    Shelves are beautiful and well worth the effort. Great job as usual.


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