DIY and Crafts

How to build a handy storage shelf

Storage is a key part of any well-functioning home, and a shelving unit can be both beautiful and useful without costing the earth. Here’s how…


Tools you will need 

Hand saw; Ruler; Pencil; Sandpaper; Paintbrush (for varnish). This project uses a shelving unit from Bunnings (pictured below) as the basis for this shelf.


Begin the project with a shelving unit, $19.29, from Bunnings.

How to build a storage shelf

  • Step 1 Assemble flat pack shelving unit.
  • Step 2 Spray paint the shelving unit in your desired colour. We used a standard white paint and applied two coats.

Step 3

  • Step 3 To make the boards that will fit over the metal shelves, measure, mark and cut 2 x 710mm lengths from each of your pine planks (the planks are already the correct depth for the shelves). You now have 4 boards 710mm x 300mm. As you measure and cut, double check that they’ll fit snugly on the shelves.
  • Step 4 Sand the boards, making sure there are no rough edges, and wipe clean.
  • Step 5 Apply a coat of clear varnish to the boards to protect the pine.

Step 6

  • Step 6 Once the paint is completely dry, bond a pine board to each shelf and to the top using a strong adhesive such as Liquid Nails.
  • Step 7 Style your shelf and enjoy! Make sure to check the weight restrictions so you don’t overload the shelf.

Top tips

  • Seal the pine shelves with a coat of clear varnish to protect the surface.
  • Paint the frame in a colour that best suits your home – try a matte black for a modern look, or leave the steel finish for a more industrial feel.
  • Use baskets to hide mundane items like cleaning products if using in the bathroom or laundry.


Shelving unit $19.29; Spray paint x 2 $30; Pine board x 2 (300x18x1800) $45.50; Clear varnish $16; Strong adhesive $6.42.

TOTAL: $117.21

Get the look

Large seagrass baskets, $74.95 each, from Freedom; potted plant (on shelf), $35, from The Botanist; marble table clock, $99.99, from Alex & Corban; YH&G Niseko bowls, $14.99 each, YH&G Niseko mugs, $9.99 each, YH&G Niseko dinner plates, $18.99 each, YH&G Niseko side plates, $14.99 each, and YH&G Kastav rug, $499.99, all from Farmers; concrete planter and stand, $244.90, from Me & My Trend; wall painted in Resene ‘Pale Slate’. Cactus, trailing plant, small brown bowl and books, stylist’s own.

Created by: Catherine Wilkinson and Martin Laidlaw. Photography by: Wendy Fenwick.

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