10 November 2014


Hello, my vintage vultures! You ready to build your own mid-century inspired wall unit? These kind of units typically cost an arm and a leg. I've seen a few DIY variations, so I figured it shouldn't be too hard to Dab-It-Yourself. The whole unit ended up costing about $230 with tax. It's like a statement piece for your statement pieces. I think the best thing I did was spray paint the tracks and brackets gold. It looks moneeey. Everything can be scooped up at Home Depot. I was torn about what kind of boards to use. Initially, I wanted to buy 2x4 plywoods and stain them myself but Rubbermaid has pre-maid particle boards in all the right sizes and in different colors, so I settled for those instead. I know they're cheap looking but you end up saving time from all the sawing, sanding and staining. I'm all about quick and dirty. You feel me? I think they still look awesome. I did have to stain a piece of plywood for the desk.

It feels great to have a little workspace, plus some shelves to house my accessories. And by accessories, I mean plaaants. I need more. Can't stop, won't stop! I'm slowly building a new collection of tchotchkes in my New Orleans home, which includes Buddha statues now, because my heartmate likes them. I'm actually digging that little altar. The styling isn't 100%. I need planters asap. It still needs some work but I wanted share the progress.

Each tracks are spaced 22 inches apart because you want to be able to hang a 24 inch shelf, which means the 48 inch boards will stick out just a tad. You can also ask the Home Depot lumber people to help cut it to the perfect size for free. There are countless ways to configure the shelves, so it's really up to you if you wanna include desk or just shelves. They also have 72 inch boards that goes all the way across which is something I might consider later on. That's the fun part about these wall units. They're totally modular.

• Spray paint tracks and brackets outside. I applied two layers for an even coverage. They dry pretty quickly but gentle with them as they will scratch.

• Position the left track about 8 inches below the desk height. FYI, a standard height for a desk is 29 inches or you can adjust your ergonomic workspace. Use a level to mark the seven anchor spots. Each anchor can hold up to 50lbs!
• Use an 1/4 inch drill bit to drill through the plaster walls. Don't let the size of the bit intimidate you. You can easily patch it up when you move.
• Hammer anchors into the wall.
• Place track over anchors and then screw it in.

• Use tape measure to measure 22 inches from the fisrt bracket.
• Place second track on the wall and use level at the top of tracks making sure it's leveled horizontally and then the side. Mark your anchor spots. Drill holes. Pop in anchors and screw in track. Repeat for the rest of the tracks.

• Position your brackets to your shelving configuration. I try to keep even space between all the shelves.
• Use screws to secure brackets to shelf. I had to use a 1/8 inch drill bit first to create a hole for the screws. This part was a little tedious. You can also spot treat the screws by dabbing some gold spray paint with a brush.

And that's it! I hope that was clear. If you need more instructions, Rubbermaid has them under decorative shelving. It took a few hours doing this alone but if you have help, then it'll be quick and easy.

• 4 Rubbermaid 70 inch twin tracks upright
• 17 Rubbermaid 11.5 inch twin track shelf brackets
• 3 Rubbermaid 18.5 inch twin track shelf brackets
• 4 Rubbermaid 12 inch x 24 inch shelf
• 3 Rubbermaid 12 inch x 48 inch shelf
• 1 3/4" 20 inch x 48 inch plywood
• 2 Rustoleum gold metallic spray paint
• 5 Rubbermaid twin track hardware pack

• Hammer
• Power drill
• 1/4 inch Drill bit for the anchors
• 1/8 inch Drill bit for the shelves
• Level
• Tape measure

6 Comments so far

  1. Hi Dabito! I love this! I'm currently looking for a book shelf and it might be a good idea to build one like this myself.

  2. I used to have a similar shelf & desk synthesis when i was in junior high!

  3. It looks so good! I love that you put pictures in the negative space.
    Also, you can NEVER have enough plants. NEVER. Get a monstera plant!!! then you can have all the cuttings you want. muahaha.

  4. Hi there: I love this and have been preparing to do something similar, with a desk built in as well. Did you use the same size brackets under the plywood? Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much! The brackets for the plywood are 18.5 inches, so it's longer to help support the desk. Have fun building your wall unit. You're gonna love it!

  5. Hi there. I just discovered you on IG via the West Elm feed takeover. I absolutely loooove this. I never really thought id be into a modular shelving system, but this is fab. Ive been looking for a solution for our small living space for a while now. I have to integrate a workspace into our living room and I wanted it to be a bit more intentional than just sticking a desk along the wall. Ive been wanting to add a midcentury element to our home and this may be a greatnway to do it. Thank you so much for sharing this. Happy to be a new reader and follower.


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