How to Build a Bed Shelf

What You'll Need
Small Board (for shelf, size is up to you)
Brackets with keyhole anchors

Building a bed shelf is the perfect solution for a room that's too small to include standard shelves or bookcases. You can put just about anything you want on it, including books, lamps, laptops or an iPod. You can also position your bed shelf so that it's out of reach from infants, toddlers and pets that might want to pull down your items. A wall mounted shelf can also look more stylish than a traditional bed shelf.

Step 1: Find a Location on Your Wall

You can build your bed shelf on either side of your bed, or you may opt to build two (one on either side). Once you've decided where you'd like to build it, you have to find the studs. If you have an electronic stud finder, it will be easier to find them. Keep in mind that they're typically placed 16 inches apart (sometimes 24) when you measure them from the center. 

Step 2: Mark the Studs on the Wall

Take a pencil and mark each stud on the wall with an "X", to indicate the center of the stud. You're going to be drilling in the center of the stud. Draw vertical lines on either side of the "X" to show the stud's edges.

Step 3: Make Sure Your Marks Are Straight

Use a level to align your marks properly. This will help to make your brackets straight, which makes for a level shelf. A laser level works well if you have one.

Step 4: Drill Brackets

Fasten each bracket to a stud you found in the wall by drilling it. How you drill into the studs depends on whether you have drywall or plaster. You can use screws or anchors. You have to take into account what material your board is made out of and its weight.

Step 5: Attach Shelf Top

Line up one bracket against the bottom of your board. What size board you choose is up to you. If you're not sure, try a 1" by 12" by 3' board. Attach the board to the bracket by drilling down into the board and into the bracket. If the board you're using is dense, you may need to drill pilot holes first. This will make it easier for your screws to go through.

Step 6: Prime and Paint Shelf

Prime and paint your bed shelf using colors that match your bedroom decor. Let it dry. You can skip this step if you prefer a traditional wood look.


If you're not sure whether to use anchors or screws based on the board you use, take the board to your local hardware store and ask for help. You don't want to damage your bedroom walls by using the wrong materials.