Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How to Install a Shelf in the Eaves

diy shelf in the eaves

How to install a shelf in the eaves.  Lots of homes have eaves in the upstairs rooms, a necessary but difficult-to-work-with architectural detail.  Some homes even have eaves with windows, like mine.

Now you have a space with a slanted, low ceiling AND windows.
Good luck finding a piece of furniture to work there!

shelf in the eaves

I came up with an inexpensive solution to making those eaves work in my son's bedroom.
A diy wall ledge installed just above the window moulding.

Now we have almost 14 feet of shelf space to hold tons and tons of lego builds, superheros, model boats, trucks and books:

ledge in the eaves

For this shelf I used two pieces of 1x10 pine board, the shelf extends 9 1/4" from the wall.

shelf for toys in the eaves

diy shelf over windows

display shelf over windows

We moved in 9 months ago and this room had mini blinds on all the windows.

low window before

low window after with shutters and shelf

I ordered faux wood shutters for the eave windows, they were so easy to install and make a huge difference not only with the look of the room but functionally.

wood knobs versus plastic knobs

I choose not to use the tiny plastic knobs that came in the packaging and instead repurposed some wood knobs I found in my stash.

wood knobs on white shutters

side profile of shelf 

Because I installed the shelf brackets flush to the window moulding this prevents the shutters from opening entirely.
Even with the shutters open they don't protrude beyond the shelf ledge so it all works. 

shutters open under shelf bracket

shelf brackets above shutters

To keep it real this is how my son's room looked before I started the whole process:

boys bedroom before

And now he has a new pipe bed, no more wallpaper, and a great shelf in the eaves to hold all his cherished things.

boys bedroom after

How to build a shelf in the eaves:

1. Determine length of shelf and purchase 1x10 #2 pine board.
(My shelf is just under 14' long so I purchased a 1x10x8' and a 1x10x6' placing the seam directly over a support.)

2. Purchase enough Ikea Ekby Stilig support brackets for your length of shelving.
(I used 6 brackets for almost 14' of shelving, probably overkill but good for the layout.)

3. I choose to trim down the brackets both on the wall portion and the shelf portion.

ikea ekby stilig shelf support brackets

4. Mark the wall where the screws will go.
Predrill holes, add mollies (depending on your wall material - mine are plaster), insert screw into top hole:

how to install shelf support brackets

5.  Attach bracket to top screw by hooking then add bottom screw into through predrilled hole in bracket:

installing shelf support brackets

6. Using a level install the remaining brackets:

shelf support brackets installed

7. Prime and paint the pine boards.
Do a dry fit, cut boards if necessary to make the seam fall over a bracket:

installing a long shelf over brackets

8. Attach the boards to the brackets up through predrilled hole in bracket:

attach shelf to brackets


  1. Great solution! I love how the shelf is perfect kid-height.

  2. that is the perfect solution! why do kids have to come with so much stuff!

  3. What a fun room you've created for your son! I love the little windows in the eaves and the shelf and shutters you installed.

  4. This is a great idea. I just installed a shelf over the window in my bedroom. Because of sloped ceilings, I don't have a lot of usable wall space and it helps to go vertical for display space.