DIY Shelves Ikea Style



I’m super excited about the new shelves in my home! There were some minor hiccups along the way, (isn’t that how it usually is with DIY… you experiment, try new things?) even with the “ack” moments, I’m really happy with the way it all turned out. This is how it went down…or up?…


I tried to make my own stain using the steel wool method. Notice the word tried? I want to give this DIY stain another go. I believe my mistake was letting this mixture sit too long. Thus the strong rust color rather than the weathered gray I was going for.

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1. Fine steel wool in a glass jar  2. Pour white vinegar to cover steel wool (about 2 cups)  3. Let sit for a few days  4. Stain is made (again, I think I let mine sit too long)


These brackets are from Ikea. I bought them about 10 years ago. They were light pine, lovely as is, but I wanted a weathered look. The second bracket from the left was after one coat and the third bracket was after a second coat. Neither color was anywhere near the weathered gray I was going for.


I found the stain didn’t go on evenly even though I applied it evenly. Perhaps it was because I didn’t use a wood conditioner.


I had hoped with a third coat the color would even out somewhat (and hoping the color would gray out as they dried…), but that was not the case. As I mentioned above, the color came out a “rust” color instead of the weathered gray I was hoping to achieve. At this point I was not in a full-blown panic, but more like “ack”! I’d been waiting for the right time and place to use these and now I’ve ruined them! What do I do now?

So… I got out my trusty DeWALT palm sander and went at the brackets. I didn’t sand them down to bare wood as I still wanted the weathered look and decided a whitewashed technique could be just what these brackets needed. You can see the whitewashed technique here.

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I wanted to mention how I hang stuff on my walls. TAPE. I use tape to “see” what the finished look will look like. You will see in future posts that the artwork is hung different from what is taped here (hence the beauty of using tape. See it before the nails go in.) I also changed the color of the walls in this room. The clock stayed in the same spot and so did the shelves. 🙂 I moved the cat house you see in the corner of the picture to the hall upstairs. I’ve noticed the cats scratch at it way more up there and it seems to be a great spot for them to go to when they need some quiet time. (see the cat post here) The lamp was moved to another room. You can see the lamp shade project here. Following At Koko’s Place you will see that things rarely stay in the same place for long!


The boards I used for the shelves used to be one of two huge bookcases. My awesome husband took them apart for me and the boards sat in the garage where they awaited what their new life would be. Picture them stained the darkest brown color you see here. I sanded them, leaving both the natural wood color and some of the brown stain, knowing I would whitewash the boards using the technique I did on the dresser turned desk here.


In making the bookcases, I countersunk screws… In making shelves, I didn’t want them to show. I then cut four boards down to 40 1/2 inches long using my DeWALT jig saw and then sanded the edges. 


Patch away I did. There was a lot of patching to do! After patching, I sanded it all flat.


Dark gray walls now! The rack of plants I move around to follow the sun. And spoiled pets…the reason we bought sofas. 😉


Taped the walls again after the new color went on. Frog tape was used this time instead of Scotch Blue. The headlamp was because I decided to hang the shelves around midnight and I didn’t have adequate lighting in the room at the time. What? I know I’m not the only one that does projects at odd hours 😉


I used the level as I taped the lines. It made the job easier for me. I didn’t have studs where I needed them to be, so I used wall anchors. Best invention. See them in this project here.


Four down, four to go!


Even though I pre-leveled, I still would check the level as I went along. I also made sure the brackets were in a straight line.


All done! Now to add the boards.


*Insert happy squeal here!


Plants bought from Trader Joe’s, Home Depot, and Costco. Owl from TJMaxx. Buddha, can’t remember, I’ve had him for a long time.

I lived with the blue, then the green tapes for a bit. Over the course of a few weeks, I moved the tapes from three shelves to four and played with the spacing. I tried to picture what I would have on the shelves and how tall I envisioned the plants to grow. Since I love greenery, I knew I wanted more space to put them so that was why I added the fourth shelf. And I am happy I did!

Thank you so much for reading. As always, I appreciate YOU! Have a beautiful day!

❀Be well and just love! Peace, Koko❀


124 thoughts on “DIY Shelves Ikea Style

  1. Hey Koko!

    I like your creativity, your planning, and your build skills. They look fantastic! They are a very nice addition to the room and functional too. Thanks for sharing, especially the details and the pictures.

    See you down the road…



    • How nice to see you pop in! Your words made my day. It was a fun project. One that I really took too long to decide to do! Hahaha. I’m glad I did it. I love plants way too much and this was a great way to keep them out of reach of the kitties! Happy you stopped by! Hope your weekend is fantastic. Doing any bike riding? 🙂

      • You are welcome. I was my delight. I enjoyed reading and seeing what you did. I have not ridden my bikes recently; but, I hope to ride a LOT more this year. Thanks!

      • I have one road bike that I think might be a little big for me. I need to figure out if I can make some minor changes to make it more comfortable. I haven’t ridden it in a long time. Such a shame as I love to. Just been so busy with the projects. I’ve seen the pics of your bikes. Super neat!

    • Thank you! I’m pretty tickled about them myself! It sure if fun decorating…perfect for my fidgeting personality! Hope your weekend is lovely. It’s supposed to snow here! We shall see…… 🙂

  2. You’re so organised and methodical! I change my walls around so often, and I just eyeball it as I hang 😳….probably not the best!
    Beautiful room ❤

    • There’s something fun about just going for it! I bet your walls are awesome! I think I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I don’t want to keep patching holes in walls. I’m so tired of painting! I spent all of fall and winter painting and I’m still not done! Not to mention all the patching I’ve been doing. So I really wanted to be sure these shelves where I wanted them to be. Though tiny holes are not so bad to repair, fixing holes when wall anchors are taken out is a bigger job! All in all, it was a fun project and I am really, really happy I did it. So much fun playing with what I put on them. Lovely seeing you here. Thank you for your sweet words. Have a great weekend! 🙂

    • Thank you for making me smile. 🙂 I’m giddy with all the ways I will be decorating the shelves! Happy you stopped by! I hope your weekend is a good one! Take care. Koko:)

  3. I love your spunk ! I’m thinking if I ever would have got past the stain experiment.

    You’re way more confident with tools than me, but I’d like to try. Jigsaw, countersink ! Looks awesome and super fresh.

    I’d really like to Ikeafy my whole craftroom one day. Thanks for the inspiration ! Cheers Boomdee Aka Petals on IG 💟

    • I must say when the stain didn’t workout, I had to keep it together. I had held onto these brackets for so long and now I’ve ruined them. They even smelled like rust! It was awful! Hahaha. Now I can laugh about it. Sanding them took away the smell and the bad color. Whitewashing is such a great way to hide a multitude of sins! So does sanding. Wood is forgiving, only if you don’t cut something too short! Which I have done, so the measure twice cut once is what I have to remind myself. These days I measure three times! My craft area is a disaster. I’ve been remodeling my house and my craft area has been the area I’ve been dumping things to “go through later”. Just yesterday I wanted to do a water color project and had to go buy watercolor because I couldn’t make my way to the back closet to get the watercolor! Oh my! I hope you get to Ikea your craft room. There are so many neat things at that store, not to mention their vanilla soft serve ice cream! If I live near, I’d work the jigsaw for you! I love your instagram! Your work makes me smile every time! Enjoy your weekend. They say it’s supposed to snow here! 🙂

      • Thanks so much for all your visits on IG, I’m pretty new there but I love the community. It’s a happy place! Hope you don’t get too much of the dreaded white stuff :/ , it’s time for sunshine!

      • Saturday was about 3 inches of snow. Sunday has been nothing but blue skies and sunshine! All the snow has melted! The birds have been busy…American Robin’s and Cardinals and I spied three deer happily munching on plants way up on the hill. It’s been a beautiful weekend. I love your Instagram! Seriously. You are very talented. I haven’t been reading much on wordpress, but I need to. Looks like I have a lot to catch up on your blog! Life you know?! I wish there were more hours in a day! Be well Dollface! Hope your weekend was glorious! 🙂

    • I’ve always been interested in yurts! I’m glad I could inspire you! Do the upgrade. Cooking is so much more fun when you can find everything! 🙂 Thank you for your kind comment! I really appreciate it. Good luck with your kitchen!

  4. You never ever fail to impress me! Just when I think, “Exactly how many more cool ideas can she come up with?”, you come up with yet another!!!! And…I love the fact that, even when you were thrown an unexpected curveball (in the form of a rusty stain), you stepped back, thought about it, and hit it out of the park! You have been an inspiration to me, and I thank you kindly and profusely for that. Please, keep doing what you do so well. I will be anxiously awaiting your next post! Peace to you!!!!

    • I was happy I was able to salvage the project. I glad I can keep inspiring you! I continuously get inspired by you and all the readers here. Thank you so much for your thoughtful words, they sure keep me doing this! Take care! Koko 🙂

    • You totally made my day! But if you saw the rest of my house….not so organized. I’ve been spending months repainting room by room and so other parts are a disaster with stuff being shoved into other rooms. On the good side, I am donating and sorting and having less. Less to clean in the long run! Hahaha. Take care Sarah! 🙂

      • I’ve been working on downsizing my stuff for a while – it is finally looking like I am making a dent, but it takes so long. Perhaps I need to start some home improvement projects to get it fully taken care of!

      • Getting rid of things can be hard especially if there is a memory attached to it. Doing house projects really does help. I think for me, as I’m doing whatever project, I want it done! So being rid of stuff is easier as less for me to have to handle during said project. I know with each time I do projects or move even, I get down to just the must haves… well and a few things I don’t really need! Haha. 😉

  5. I think I love your pets at the sofa the most 🙂
    But I am also very impressed about the end-result. Don’t you have neighbors (midnight)?
    And that tip about the tape; fantastic! I am definitely going to copy that!
    Big hug, XxX

    • Where I live, everyone has a bit of land in between each other. My house sits on two acres. We’ve had music (concerts) at my house many times. Our neighbors play their music loud too, but no one hears it inside their homes. It’s pretty nice. I’ve seen my neighbor do a project into the early hours of the morning! Hahahaha. Glad I’m not the only one! My pets like the sofa a lot too! The sofa covers get washed weekly so we all can enjoy sitting on them, not to mention the daily vacuuming! I wish you well on your project endeavors. 🤗 Happy days to you!

    • Thank you Rose for your thoughtful words! I am constantly learning with each DIY/project I do! Thank you so much for popping in! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Best wishes, Koko 🙂

  6. You must have the patience of a saint! Having to use multiple layers of stain (requiring additional drying time) only to wind up with a finished product you had to further work on demonstrates a love for challenge. You seem to conquer nearly every project you tackle. This is probably my greatest area of weakness. Thank you for sharing another amazing work of beauty.

    • I had been staring at taped lines on my wall for months. I had a picture of what I wanted and when the stain didn’t come out right I had a moment! Haha. It really was easy putting up the shelves. I’d pictured it for so long, so I’m glad that came out okay. I have plenty of scrapped projects Johnathan. I wish I were more pro! I just show the good ones! Hahaha. Thank you for reading. Means a lot. Enjoy your weekend!

    • Thank you so much. It’s nice to have one more project done. It’d be nice to get to the point where I can just sit on my deck and enjoy the sun. Speaking of which, the sun is finally out. Happy Sunday! Thank you for spending your time here. Have a great day!

    • Awe! Thank you so much for saying that. Made me smile. I have a project list that grows by the day! I wish I had more time to do them all. Thanks Doll for stopping by! I appreciate the support. Have a gorgeous day! 🙂

    • Glad you think so! Means a lot knowing others think it looks good. I do have projects that go south, so when one goes good I can’t help but do a happy dance. Needless to say, I happy danced this one around 2 am! Haha. I appreciate you spending your time here on atkokosplace. Thank you! Have a wonderful week! 🙂

  7. I do a lot of DIY, so I’m going to have fun exploring more! I divide my time between two states, but once I get home I have the perfect place for these shelves!

    Love your curtains, btw!!

  8. Wow, just what my pal needs – he’s a little disorganised lol. Anyways, it was professionally done. I love it’s simplicity – simple but yet beautiful. Not too much to handle. Thanks for the entry – it’s been of great help.

    Good Luck.

    • I’m happy you found this helpful. I’m getting ready to build the same shelves at the other end of that wall. Your comment made my day. Thank you! Good luck to your friend on putting together some shelves! Take care!!

  9. I’ve never been a DIY gal but i do admire the way people like you are able to roll up their sleeves and just get going. The shelves look wonderful. Thank you for the inspiration!

      • Ha ha I can’t even hang a photo on the wall. I think I seriously need to have a more positive attitude about trying things around the house, other than cooking. How have you been? You’ve have been rather quiet for some time. Enjoy the weekend!

      • Yeah, I’ve been out of touch. Life really. I hear you about hanging stuff on the wall. Gosh did it take me forever to decide. I think it’s all about permanency. Which is why I don’t have tattoos! Ha! As for hanging stuff on the walls, I guess now I just say what’s the worst thing…tiny holes? I could patch that! So I do it. A tip though….I use painters tape in the size and shape of what I want to hang and I tape up that shape on the wall to see if I like it. I stare at it for a week or two and go from there! Good luck Liz! Hugs!

    • Hello Helen! Nice to hear from you! I’ve been mostly catching up with you on twitter. Life’s been wild! Glad I did the shelves. They’ve really come in handy. I have more brackets to do the other side of the room! Yay. More room to put plants on. Thank you for stopping by! Hope you have a wonderful rest of the week! 🤗🦋☀️

    • Thank you for coming by! I’ve really enjoyed a safe place to put my plants away from kitties! I’m planning on doubling the shelf space up at the other end of the wall. Thanks again for popping in. Enjoy your day! ☀️

  10. Love this! And the tape idea is genius!!! The shelves, the wall color, the planters, it all looks great!!!

    • Day made! Thank you for your thoughtful words. It was a fun project and one that has been very handy plants love it and the cats can’t get to them either! Haha. You have a wonderful day and ha k you for popping in my little part of the world! Take care!! 🙂

  11. I love this, the only problem with renting rooms is you can’t fix anything on the walls and I hung one of my pictures on those hooks that can peel off when you leave and it just dropped off the wall one night. I liked to see how you did this though, and it was nice seeing you 🙂

    • I totally understand your dilemma. When I was renting, I’d hang some artwork on easels. I’d also lean many along the walls. I built a long thin table–basically like a hall table, and lean pics along that. I love hearing from you and reading about all the fantastic things you are doing. You are quite an inspiration. Hugs!

  12. Such a beatifual space. My tip is before I hang artwork I remove the papers from the frames and tape them all to the wall to get the layout , but the blue tape trick works just as well 😉

    • Love that tip!!!! I have some canvas art i had to try and fit into place. But you sparked an idea…I could cut out the size from paper! Thank you for stopping by. Means a lot. Hope the rest of your week is awesome. 🙂

    • Thank you for saying so. It was fun indeed. The shelving still makes me happy! I’m considering doing the same thing in the kitchen/breakfast area. I think above the coffee bar would be neat to put all the coffee and tea stuff 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! Have an awesome rest of your week.

      • I thing it is a great idea. Go for it. Your blog is beautiful. You got my follow and I can’t wait to read more of you. -Dominique

  13. Wow, these look really great! I made some planter for my fence in our backyard, and i have done a lot of painting (love the color grey!). We have a second home that needs shelves, I will definitely use this post for inspiration! Have you put this on Pinterest by any chance?

    • Thank you so much! Planters for my backyard is on my list. I made some but I put them above my kitchen cabinets. I might put them outside since I am going to be redoing the kitchen. The gray is soothing; a very nice color to wind down to. I haven’t put any pictures on Pinterest. I need to get used to using that. I know a lot of people refer to it. I hope you get to build those shelves. I’ve got so much to do as the weather is getting warmer. Repair fencing, moving the garden, etc. I better get to it! At least the sun is out. Hope your day is delightful!

      • We are a long way from summer here and I am still feeling the pressure to get out there and clear the debris from the winter die off! Good luck to you 🙂

      • I know! So much to do. There are a few juniper type trees that are diseased which has made half of my vegetable garden turn blackish. Main reason why I have to move my garden. I’m excited to design and make a new one, but not looking forward to cleaning up all the dead and black mold type stuff from the junipers.

  14. This is so awesome! You make it look so simple. I definitely need to get more creative like this, and believe I can do it. I also love the way you pre plan with tape that’s clever and saves holes on the walls from nails! Thankyou for sharing this 🙂

  15. I also thought about a DIY stain I have read about but after hearing others talk about the trouble I may just pick a fall day, open windows, and use a premix one and let the fumes escape with the open windows.

    • I get a bit nervous about DIY stains and paints…That one I made was a disaster! Hahaha…I had read so many sites from others that made it and had success. It probably was me! I actually bought like 5-6 stains recently and they were awful! I returned all, but one! I need to stick to the handful I do use. Those and water’d down paint for white washing. Nice to have you stop by. Enjoy the rest of the week! 🙂

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