DIY Repurposed Farmhouse Shelves In the Dining Room

October 1, 2018

Today I'm sharing how to build wooden farmhouse shelves.

fall decor tobacco basket boxwood wreath velvet pumpkins pie sign shelves white corbels vintage scales

I've dreamed of building farmhouse shelves for our dining room ever since my mini dining room reveal in September of 2017. Once the paint and ceiling overhaul was complete I was ready for a totally new look. 

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And that required removing the old, traditional china cabinet that took up an entire wall and replacing it with farmhouse shelves. It may have taken me a year -- but those farmhouse shelves are heeere!

One of the best things about these shelves is that I made them myself out of repurposed wood salvaged from the living room and dining room renovation. I explained how and where I got the wood I used in my post DIY Farmhouse Shelves: Two Options.

wood planks diy repurposed farmhouse shelves

Here's the wood I decided to go with. The planks are 4 feet long and 3 1/2 inches wide. After attaching two of them together that gives each shelf a depth of 7 inches.

Tool Shop red palm sander DIY wood shlves 

To prep the shelves I gave them a light sanding with my electric palm sander, basically to get rid of any areas that had the potential to cause splinters. I tested an area with tongue oil to see if it would change the color of the wood but it didn't seem to make any discernible difference so I decided to forego the tongue oil altogether. 

If you don't own a palm sander you can purchase a Black + Decker palm sander. Mine has come in very handy for many day-to-day DIY projects.

wood planks diy repurposed farmhouse shelves white corbels

Not that I plan to display anything incredibly heavy, but due to the length of the shelves I wanted to use 3 corbels, rather than 2, just to be safe. However, we ended up using a different number of corbels as explained below. 

wood planks on floor white Ikea corbels

We purchased the Hensvik corbels from Ikea for $7.50 each. Their dimensions are  7" x 9 1/2"and they're reversible, so they fit both 7" and 9 1/2" deep shelves. Their size worked out perfectly for our 7" deep shelves. While the color was perfect, the finish was not. They looked too shiny and new for my taste. So I got out some of my Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint in Fluff and got to work.

If you don't have access to an Ikea store, you can always purchase a set of similar traditional white corbels online.

Ikea  Hensvik white 7" reversible corbel
It's difficult to see in the photo but trust me, after painting the corbel, its finish was so much more in keeping with the vintage-inspired farmhouse aesthetic that I was going for. Just one more step and the corbels would be perfect. 

distressed Ikea Hensvik white 7" reversible corbel

distressed Ikea Hensvik white 7" reversible corbel

That one more step was "distressing" them. In keeping with the farmhouse vibe, I faux distressed them with my Plaid Folkart layering block. You can read all about that process here. I found so many corbels that fit the bill, but they were all so expensive. I knew I had to buy what I could afford and make it work. The faux distressing was just what I needed to get the look I want.

Bulldog Mending Plates red package

Once the corbels were ready it was time to put the shelves together. I did that by using 4 inch mending plates to attach the planks to each other. I used four plates per shelf, eyeballing their placement and using our electric screwdriver to attach each of them with the screws provided. In retrospect I believe I could I have gotten away with three plates. But as they say, hindsight is always 20/20. I was, however, careful not to place the plates where I thought the corbels would eventually be attached to the shelf.

modern farmhouse dining room bird cage chandelier buffet dried hydrangeas trophy ironstone

Here's what that side of the dining room looked like before we installed the shelves. One big blank wall. I love the farmhouse sign, but I knew the shelves would be coming eventually so I purposefully never permanently hung it.

modern farmhouse dining room buffet dried hydrangeas trophy ironstone

modern farmhouse dining room bird cage chandelier buffet dried hydrangeas trophy ironstone

With or without the shelves, though, I would still love my modern farmhouse dining room.

modern farmhouse dining room buffet ironstone

Here's the stark reality of the empty wall and dining room sideboard, basically stripped naked. 

distressed corbel DIY shelf mending plate white distressed corbel

First my husband placed one of the completed shelves upside down. Then we chose the spacing for the corbels. We basically placed one on each end of the shelf and one in the middle. 

distressed corbel DIY shelf mending plate measuring tape Lithium electric screwdriver

In order to be able to see a "dry run" of sorts, he then attached the corbels onto the shelf by "temporarily" putting in the one screw that attaches the corbel to the shelf with our power drill.

distressed corbel DIY shelf mending plate laser level painters tape

distressed corbel DIY shelf mending plate laser level painters tape buffet ironstone

He then used painter's tape to help secure the corbels more fully for our experiment.

man holding distressed corbel DIY shelf

He was then able to flip the shelf right side up and hold it against the wall so that we could see where we actually wanted to hang it.
laser level on wall

Once I picked a height he made a pencil mark, then took out the laser level to make sure he was hanging it evenly.

buffet DIY shelves corbels levels

And voila! Shelf number one was up and looking good. From the top of the buffet to the bottom of the shelf was 21 inches, and then 19 inches between the bottom shelf and the top shelf. Those measurements worked for me, knowing the types of things I'm likely to display there. You might want to use totally different measurements depending on the size of things you think you'll be displaying. 

hole in wall paint from laser level

Just a word of warning, though. The laser level attaches to the wall with a velcro-sided sticker. Just like a 3M Command Strip, it's supposed to come off the wall without leaving a mark. Ours, unfortunately, did not perform as promised. When he took it down it left a gaping hole in the otherwise pristine paint job. Ugh. But after a little spackle and elbow grease he patched the hole and moved on. 

Perhaps we should have tried the Black + Decker laser level instead.

farmhouse shelves fall decor tobacco basket pumpkins boxwood wreaths buffet vintage scale corbels

Shelf number two was put up the same way, just without a repeat of the laser level debacle, thank you very much. We only used two corbels for the top shelf since a third one in the middle might hamper me from placing any tall objects in the middle of the bottom shelf. We can always add another corbel in the future if I change my mind.

Fresh Baked Pumpkin Pie sign velvet pumpkins

Clearly I am going to use these shelves as my decorating playground. I don't know which is more fun -- making the shelves, or decorating them! Okay, it's decorating them. 

Knowing that I can change the vignettes from season to season and year to year makes me happy. These are Target Bullseye Playground $1.00 velvet pumpkins and the pie sign is from Big Lots. They no longer sell the sign but you can get a similar Fresh Baked Pies sign online.
 fall decor blessed plate pumpkins tobacco basket

This darling "Blessed" plate and tobacco basket are from Hobby Lobby. The mini white clip-on pumpkins are from Dollar Tree and the orange pumpkins have been in my collection for a few years.  


vintage scale olive buckets white pumpkins boxwood wreaths

This vintage-inspired farmhouse scale is from Decor Steals. The mini olive buckets filled with greens proved to be the best spot for some of my white mini clip-on pumpkins! I am totally in love with this display.


clay terra cotta pots green wreath white pumpkin dining room shelf

 I filled a vintage-inspired terra cotta pot with mini faux greenery and a mini Dollar Tree clip-on white pumpkin. The faux greenery ring was a Target Bullseye Playground find.   


Preserved boxwood wreath

farmhouse shelves fall decor tobacco basket gourds boxwood wreaths olive buckets ironstone measuring cup

farmhouse shelves fall decor tobacco basket pumpkins boxwood wreaths

Ikea Hensvik 7" reversible white corbel distressed

dining room decor vintage french biscuit crate dried hydrangeas ironstone pitcher

Here I've upended a vintage-inspired wooden French crate and placed it on top of a vintage New York Biscuit Company crate to create a makeshift side table for my ironstonee pitcher, hydrangeas and photo of our children.  


farmhouse shelves fall decor tobacco basket pumpkins boxwood wreaths pumpkin pie sign blessed plate

farmhouse shelves fall decor tobacco basket pumpkins boxwood wreaths buffet vintage scale corbels ironstone

I think the new shelves look perfect alongside my estate sale farmhouse hutch in the corner. What camp are you in -- the traditional china cabinet camp or the more free-form shelves camp? I never thought I'd ever want anything other than a traditional cabinet yet here I am. And I'm loving it.  

If there's anything you were interested in that I did not provide a source for just leave a comment and I'll be happy to get back to you.

 Well, that's it until next time, friends! 
I hope you enjoyed reading about my
DIY Repurposed Farmhouse Shelves 
In The Dining Room
and that I've inspired you in some way.

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fall decor tobacco basket boxwood wreath velvet pumpkins pie sign shelves white corbels vintage scales

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Leave a Comment!

Kathy said...

Gorgeous! And it sure didn't take you long to get it styled. I hope you will show us how you style the shelves every season! I think it is going to be a great focal point. And give your husband a hug from all of us who have to do it ourselves caz we don't have someone who is willing able to enter into our decor struggles!

Junkchiccottage said...

Kathleen these are really wonderful. They look awesome. Love the way you styled them too.
Have a great new week.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

It looks lovely, Kathleen! And it can still be decorated like a traditional hutch or open shelving...beautiful!

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