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Built-in Shelves for Bathroom Vanity

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This looks like an entirely new bathroom for under $100!


Last month, I showed you guys the final reveal of the bathroom/laundry closet makeover I was working on, and I’m excited to share some of the more specific details now!

We started with this tiny little vanity that was probably original to the house 30 years ago:


We had a teeny budget of $100 for this room (and remember it included our laundry too), so I turned to some Facebook yardsale sites to look for a replacement vanity. I ended up finding one for $75 that fits the space perfectly!

In the before picture, take a look at the electrical outlet above the countertop. You can use that as a reference point to see just how much taller the new vanity is! It’s the perfect height now for my tall kids! You can also use the toilet paper holder on the wall to see how  much wider the new vanity is.


Crazy, right?! Not a bad fit for a $75 vanity that I happened to stumble upon!

But while it filled out this corner perfectly… it left us with an awkward looking sheet mirror.

Since ripping that down would have meant having to replace all the drywall (no clips, it’s just glued straight onto the drywall), we knew the mirror was staying.

To fill up the awkward space where there is no no mirror, built a shelf!

bathroom renovation makeover before and after

Now, obviously we did A LOT more than just build a shelf! The details are all in the final reveal post, and I’ll have some more posts coming soon about framing out the mirror and the wall treatment.

But isn’t this shelf just perfect for this space??

DIY bathroom vanity shelf

It only took us about an hour to build and we used all scrap wood from our garage, so it was completely free!!

If you needed to purchase the wood, though, it would still cost you less than $10!

Check out how we built it…

First, let me say that since this was built for a very specific space, the measurements might not work for everybody. In fact, I would be surprised if they do. If you want to try to replicate this, be sure to take your own measurements rather than going off of what we did.

DIY wooden shelf for bathroom


2 1″ x 8″ x 8′ boards (depending on your height, you may only need 1 board)

1/4″ plywood to fit the back of your shelf, ours was 3′ x 1′ approximately




speed square


To determine our measurement, I first measured the width of the empty space we wanted to fill. Ours is 12″ wide.

Then I took a look at the sink cut-out on the countertop. I didn’t want this coming too close to the edge of the sink because I thought it looked force and I didn’t want it getting splashed too much. Ours is 7″ deep. When I measured the depth, I went from the wall to the front of the shelf as opposed to the front of the backsplash (more on that later, though).

For the height, I didn’t want it to be even with the top of the mirror. Perhaps if the mirror frame was white, it would have looked nice to tie it in and make it look cohesive. But since we were working with 2 different finishes, I wanted our shelf to be a bit higher. Ours is 3′ high.

The only thing you really need to pay attention to, is if you countertop has a backsplash like ours does. We got notches out of the bottoms of our sides to accommodate the backsplash, so it would sit as flat as possible. We could have just had it freestanding on the counter and avoided having to cut out the notches, but we wanted to attach it to the wall and not have a gap between the wall and the back of the shelving unit.

Be sure to take note in the picture below that when we were marking the sides for the notches, we placed a scrap piece of 1/4″ plywood behind it to account for the backboard we would be putting on later.

cutting a notch out of a wood

To cut out the notch, we held one of the sides against the side of the backsplash and just traced it with a pencil. We cut it out with a jigsaw, making sure to err on the side of caution for the first cut. You can always go back and cut more off, but you can’t add wood back if you cut too much that first time!

Using a speed square to make sure you have right angle for your shelves, just nail your sides into the shelves.

using a speed square to get right angles

Move onto your next shelf repeating the steps to square your shelf and then nail the side into it.

building a wooden shelf

Once you have one side down, flip it over carefully and nail your other side onto it.

Then lay your 1/4″ plywood on the ground and play the shelf on top of it. Trace the outline for the backboard for your shelf. Cut it out with a jigsaw and then attach to the back of the shelf using nails.

creating a built in shelf for a bathroom vanity

After this, all we had left to do was cut a hole in the backboard for our outlet to come through. Then we screwed it directly into the wall, caulked it and painted it.

It really was a straight-forward and simple build and filled in that awkward spot beside the mirror perfectly! Plus, you can’t beat extra storage that’s free!

Be sure to check out the FULL REVEAL of this bathroom to see what we did in the rest of the room for under $100!

Create this storage shelf for your bathroom vanity to fill up an awkward space!






Tuesday 21st of February 2017

Nice job. I do like the deep blue. although i am not so sure about the sign on the wall, but otherwise a great transformation.


Sunday 26th of February 2017

Thanks! This is my kids' bathroom and totally they're sense of humor, so it's perfect for them! Agree that it wouldn't fit in with every bathroom, though!