DIY Rustic Bathroom Shelves


diy rustic shelves

DIY Rustic Industrial Shelves

I have to confess. This is my favorite part of the entire bathroom. (If you missed any of the bathroom remodel that we did this past winter, you can recap right over here.) I knew I wanted some really chunky wood shelves for the little nook above the toilet, but Joe surprised me with something better than I could have imagined.

cutting bathroom shelves

Making Shelves, Lumberjack Style

I caught a peek of him working on something with his chainsaw out front, just channeling his inner Minnesotan lumberjack. Disclaimer: No trees were harmed in the making of these shelves.

I came back to find these beaut’s sitting out for me! I love how they look, raw and unfinished. It reminds me so much of our old mantle. Joe left the bark exposed on the edges of the shelves, cutting thick slabs out of some firewood. Luckily we had some nice sized lumber around from helping his friend Tim clear brush after a huge storm. These logs live to see another day.

DIY rustic shelves

Since we’d done the mantle project already, I knew what to do and got myself right down to business.

varnishing wood

I set up a spot off the ground for them and I found an old paint brush.

DIY rustic shelves varnish

We had this satin polyurethane sitting around so I reused that, covering all its surfaces. This seals the wood to ensure it won’t rot or collect moisture from the steam in the bathroom.

DIY rustic shelves

After letting the shelves dry for a few hours, we were ready to hang them up. We just needed to find a way to secure them… They are super heavy!

Shelf Brackets

We played around with some different ideas.

brackets metal hardware shelvesI thought about doing more ornate brackets like these ones. I found a ton at Big White House downtown Anoka. Lots of different hooks and brackets there.


I also thought about doing floating shelves, but it would have been tricky with these heavy guys. We probably could have hollowed them out from the back and anchored them somehow.

But there was another option we liked.

brackets hardware store

Ultimately we decided on these simple L-brackets from the hardware store for a clean, modern and industrial look.

DIY rustic shelves

I had some hammered bronze spray paint to match them to the rest of the bathroom’s hardware finishes.

DIY rustic shelves spray paint brackets hardware

Joe told me to sand the metal before spray painting to be sure it adhered.

DIY rustic shelves spray paint hardware brackets

I gave it a few passes with the sanding block then spray painted them evenly.

Chunky Bathroom Shelf Inspiration

Here are a few of my favorite finds on Pinterest that I looked to for ideas. I love the not-trying-too-hard look of all these meaty shelves. We didn’t want them to look overly done.

Installing our Wood Shelves

DIY rustic shelves

Here’s the little nook we had to work with. This was here in the previous life of the bathroom with no shelves or anything. It seemed like wasted space to me. So much potential!

DIY rustic shelves
Joe working of some ideas. Hellooo bedhead.

DIY rustic shelves

Joe and Michael leveled the shelf and marked where to attach the brackets.

DIY rustic shelves

Oh, now’s probably a good time to remind you to measure out your area before you actually cut your shelves to begin with. 😉 And consider anything that might get in the way like an outlet. If you plan to put something tall on your shelf, like a vase, be sure you’ll have enough space height-wise.

DIY rustic shelves

Ok, now that we’ve leveled our first shelf and made sure it’s in the right place, it’s safe to screw the brackets into it.

DIY rustic shelves


DIY rustic shelves

We repeated the same process for shelf #2.

DIY rustic shelvesTwo screws went into the sidewalls first, and then three into the bottom of the shelves. We just followed the holes in the brackets.

lighting bronze

And there you have it! Custom wood shelves. I love the detail on them. They’re really unique and turned out even better than I could have asked. Super easy, and better yet, cost less than $5!

DIY rustic shelves


Ideas for Decorating Shelves

Here are a few ideas we were playing with as far as styling the shelves. I actually ended up using one shelf for towels, one with a basket filled with toiletries for guests and one for decorations. We try not to clutter it up, but it’s fun to play around with ideas.

I’m sure it will change over time. I’ll have to update you guys after we’ve lived in it a bit longer to see how we use the space on a day-to-day basis. I might put some flowers up there.

DIY Rustic Industrial Shelves

So there we have it. My favorite part of the bathroom is the shelves. I think Joe just eyeballed the cuts with his chainsaw, which is pretty cool. Made for a very easy and interesting DIY. I’m happy we made our shelves unique instead of buying something off the shelf. Shelf off the shelf, that’s just crazy…


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2 thoughts on “DIY Rustic Bathroom Shelves

  1. Kaitlyn O.

    Love how these turned out!!! I want to do some shelving in my bathroom too. Well, I will be remodeling within the next 6 months hopefully.

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