How to Build Linen Closet with Floating Shelves

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We just remodeled our bathroom and one of the things I really wanted was a linen closet that looked clean and simple. Bottom line, I don’t like the look of brackets holding up the shelves. I wanted the shelves to look like they were floating. After a lot of searching online on how to do this I came up empty. So I thought I would share what I did to get this look. Here it is completed!

Here is what you need:

  • 4X8 sheet of 3/4″ Melamine (like plywood with a white coating)
  • 4X8 sheet of 1/8″ Melamine
  • 1X2 – However many feet you need to use to support your shelves divided by two (these are going to be ripped/cut in half)
  • #8 3″ wood screws (don’t use drywall screws as they will split the wood)
  • 1.5″ X .25 inch pine molding (just a flat thin piece of wood that will be used for the front of the shelves)
  • Drill/driver
  • compressor/nailer & stapler
  • Caulk gun/white caulk
  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • Small level (needs to be short enough to fit in the shortest dimension of your closet)
  • Compound miter saw


I found it most helpful to remove the old door and case the opening with casing and 1X6. That made it really clean because I could match up the casing and the shelves really easily. If anyone wants instructions on how to do the casing I would be glad to lay that out as well.

  1. Measure & Mark the height of where you want your shelves. 5 shelves is pretty typical depending on the height of your closet and opening.
    1. Remember the top shelf needs to have enough clearance with the top of the door frame.
    2. Some people make the top shelf less deep but I wanted my shelves to touch the door casing at the front of the closet so it looked really clean.
    3. I made the first shelf 18″ and the rest 13″ apart.
  2. Locate the studs.
    1. All screws need to go into studs in order to be secure.
  3. Measure the width and depth of your closet
  4. Take your 1X2 and rip it in half. The result will be a .75 X .75.
    1. This will serve as the support for your shelves. Traditionally the supports are 1X2 but that would make your shelves really tall to have to cover up on the front and you would lose a lot more closet space and your shelves would look ginormous.
  5. Cut your .75X.75 to the length and width of your closet with 45 degree angles where appropriate (1 45 degree cut on the side pieces and 2 on the back pieces) in order to frame three sides of each shelf.
    1. Cut enough of these for the number of shelves you are installing.
  6. Take the three pieces you need for the first shelf and place on the wall at the appropriate height.
    1. Make sure you put them .75″ below the shelf height you want so that when your shelf rests on them your shelf is at the height you want (the shelving is .75″ high/thick).
  7. Put the .75X.75 bracket on the wall and make sure it is level. Then drill pilot holes with a small drill bit in the location of the studs. Level and screw those three pieces into the wall.
  8. Make all your pilot holes in all your wood brackets by setting them on the set you just installed and partially drill the pilot holes over where the screws are on the first board. I did this with all my brackets all at once and it saved me a ton of time. Take them off the wall and complete all the pilot holes with your drill.
  9. Install all the brackets at the appropriate heights checking that they are level and again .75″ lower than the shelf heights you want (the shelf material will take up the rest of the .75″
  10. Cut your shelves from the 4’X8′ melamine and place them on your brackets. After they were all laid in I caulked all the edges.
  11. I wanted a really clean look so I actually cut them to touch the closet door molding so it would look clean.
  12. Cut to  length and brad nail the 1.5″ molding on the front to cover the shelf material and brackets
  13. Cut your 1/8″ sheet to fit under each shelf and use the compressor to staple these to the bottom of the shelf mounts/brackets. I had to bend these a bit to get them through the door opening and into the shelves. They bend more than you would expect, just bend it slowly.
  14. Caulk around the shelves and any gaps you have and paint.

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