Wednesday, November 30, 2016

8 Laundry Room Update: DIY Floating Wood Shelf

Well, we finally committed to a backsplash for our kitchen! This is extremely exciting for me as I really wanted to do something a little bold, but then I would find myself getting nervous to actually go bold. So after ordering at least twenty five samples over the last two years in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes, I decided that I had been pondering long enough and pulled the trigger.

It's been quite some time since we have tiled a backsplash, so while we wait for the beautiful kitchen tile to arrive, we thought we would warm back up by tackling our laundry room wall first. In this space, I saved a little moolah by going with a simple beveled subway tile to mimic the shiplap wall across the way. The final step will be to give the room a boost with a lively and colorful wallpaper.

We have only just begun with the tiling project, and will share the full tutorial as soon as it is completed, but we thought it would be a little easier to start it before installing our floating shelf. That way we could put in complete rows of tile, install the shelf, and then finish tiling up to the ceiling.

With this laundry room update, I am setting out to add some natural wood tones to the room to warm things up. But I didn't want anything too dark or heavy, in fact, I have really been digging the look of natural, raw oak lately. Which is such a weird full circle moment for me because I couldn't paint over our oak trim fast enough after we built our home over 15 years ago. But that was more of an ornate golden oak so.... anyway.

There are a 101 tutorials on the net for installing a floating shelf, but I hadn't found any that covered this particular look, so I thought I would quickly share the steps we took.

The shelf itself is approximately five feet long and two inches thick. My goal was to make it look like a single, thick piece of wood, and a little brainstorming between the hubs and I allowed us to do just that!


  • Tape Measure
  • Stud Finder
  • Saw (table or circular)
  • Clamps
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Construction Adhesive
  • Brad Nailer
  • Iron
  • Utility Knife
  • Wood Filler
  • Stain/Poly
  • Foam Brush

To prep for the project, we began by finding the studs and marking them accordingly on the wall. We then measured to determine our cuts for the guts of the shelf, which would be created with the 2"x2" furring strips.

We cut the furring strips accordingly and placed them on the counter in front of the wall to dry fit the design.

It helped to mark the strips with the stud location to determine where to place the cross supports of the shelves. We actually needed to screw the back of the frame to the studs, so the cross supports could not land where the wall studs are located.

To assemble the frame, we began by pre-drilling, then screwing it together with 2" wood screws. 

The back rail and cross pieces were assembled first and then screwed into the wall studs along the back and far left side. We also attached the right side by screwing into the side of the upper wall cabinet.

Above you can see how tiling the first few rows above the counter helped with the ultimate location of the shelf. This prevented us from having to make an abundance of partial cuts, and also from trying to install the shelf directly over the tile.

We used our clamps to hold the outer board in place while we pre-drilled/drilled to finish the frame for the inside supports of the shelf.

Once the frame was complete, installed and level, we measured for the cuts of the 1/4" red oak plywood pieces. We cut two pieces from a 4'x8' board, one for the top and another for the bottom, and we measured them so they would be flush with the face of the frame we had just built.

We don't want these outer pieces to bow or warp, so we affixed them to the frame with both construction adhesive and our brad nailer.

The total width of the shelf was now at exactly 2", and we were able to track down some 2" red oak iron-on veneer edging to finish off the face of the shelf.

I used some scrap pieces of wood to test out a few stains, but ultimately decided that I didn't want to stain the wood at all. I filled the brad nail holes with a tiny bit of wood putty and then gave the entire shelf a coat of satin poly.

The poly dried clear and the natural wood looks so very lovely!

Although the tiling isn't done and we still have so much to do, this shelf really added a lot to the project and the room in general. I just love it!

What I love most is that it really does look like a single piece of oak. I am so happy with how seamless the entire build turned out.

Now, back to tiling all the way to the ceiling and wrapping it down behind the sink. And then grouting, sealing and sharing!

Catch up on previous laundry room update posts below:

Lowering Hookups & Installing a Counter
Installing a Drop-in Sink
Adding a Decorative Toe Kick


  1. Thank you for sharing this. I want to do a shelf just like this for our basement wet bar with tile above and below it. You made this look super easy and your finished shelf is gorgeous. You've renewed my spirit to work on our project. Thanks Jen!

  2. That looks great! I just started to desire one in black!

  3. Your laundry room is coming along beautifully, Jen! I love that you left the natural wood tone of the shelf! Hope you're having a wonderful week!

    ~Abby =)

  4. Just a tip for when you tile up to the ceiling.. those spacers are actually not all the same height when used flat, the way you have them. You want to stick one "peg" in between the tiles- so it looks like a little tombstone. Otherwise you will have uneven grout lines :-)

    1. Oh my goodness! #facepalm Thank you so much! We definitely have been lucky so far as everything is looking pretty straight and level but I appreciate you chiming in before things got off or wonky.

  5. you're welcome! I am currently tiling my kitchen up to the ceiling as well and I put the first few spacers in the same way you did. Then I had one that was super thin and was confused. so I googled it quick and sure enough, not the right way!

  6. Love this laundry room!!! I'm such a fan of natural wood to contrast white and this looks so pretty :)

    Thanks for sharing this tutorial.

    >> Christene
    Keys to Inspiration

  7. I love it. Thanks for sharing the steps. We did something similar in our family room to create a focal point. We added faux stones around it for more drama.


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