Add a Shelf: Cupboard Customization Made Easy

A woman looks at a cupboard.
  • Beginner

When it comes to installing a shelf, cupboards can be an easy place to begin. They are also a useful place to add a shelf since additional shelves can add convenience and additional storage space.

Where to Install a Shelf

An extra shelf in a cupboard or closet can be just what you need in the kitchen. If you look in your kitchen cupboards, there are likely a number of them that have unused space above the items on the shelf. This is a great place for an additional shelf.

Pantries are another place where additional shelves are useful. Many times you have cans, bottles, or spices on a pantry shelf, then an area of wasted space above them, or other items stacked on top of them. For better organization and easier access, add a shelf to the cupboard.

The same is true in a bedroom cupboard or closet, and in a bathroom cupboard. Create an extra shelf to store toiletries, cleaning supplies, or toilet paper in an organized fashion.

A great place to consider an additional shelf is in a corner. Corners are often wasted space, and small items can get lost in the corner. Adding a corner shelf can help organize these items conveniently.

Free-Standing Shelves

A freestanding shelf is popular and easy to install in a cupboard. You can buy this type of shelf in plastic, wire mesh, wire with glass shelves, and wood. The legs are integrated into a free-standing shelf, providing their own support.

You will find some standard sizes, styles, and colors at discount stores and home improvement stores, but searching specialty bed and home stores or online retailers will give you other, more distinctive options.

An advantage of freestanding shelves is that they can be placed anywhere in a closet or cupboard. They can be any size and configuration since they do not have to be supported by the cupboard sides.

Another advantage is quick and trouble-free installation. The shelves can be put up in a matter of minutes, with no measuring, cutting, or gluing, unless you decide to build the shelf yourself.

Disadvantages of freestanding shelves include that the legs for the shelves take up space and limit the items that can be stored under them, and they are often less sturdy than a supported shelf.

Shelves with Supports

Consider using shelves with supports such as molding or furring strips to hold them up or shelves that are held in place by hooks or tabs.

An advantage of these shelves includes customizable sizes—you are not bound by the standard sizes available from a store, as you are with purchased free standing shelves.

Additionally, you can make the shelves as wide and thick as you want by purchasing wood or glass in different sizes.

A disadvantage is that these shelves take longer to install. You must use great care in measuring and cutting the shelves to fit. Making the supports even and level takes time and attention.

Finishing the Shelf

Another aspect of supported shelving can be both positive and negative. You need to finish the shelves if they are wood. This can be great if you want to create a specific look, want to match the stain or paint with your other trim or want to be creative with colors and styles.

However, it also takes extra time and attention to detail when you finish shelves yourself.

An extra shelf, in cupboards or closets, is a practical and decorative customization that you will appreciate for years to come.