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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Garden Shed DIY Budget Open Shelves

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Garden sheds can be beautiful on a budget. DIY open shelves made from real wood and metal shelf support brackets from a home improvement store gave my garden shed French Country elegance I love. 

Garden Shed DIY Budget Shelves made using white-washed wood and gold-painted brackets
White-washed wood shelves and gold-painted brackets coordinate with the fleur de lis topped mirror. Sturdy, functional, and beautiful elegance!

A list of materials and sources is at the end of the description of how these shelves were built. 

G a r d e n   S h e d  

D I Y   B u d g e t   O p e n   S h e l v e s

B e f o r e 

Previously this area of the garden shed had just one small shelf and a set of five hooks that worked well for several years. Since the garden shed is now also used as a retail French Country Christmas Event, more display space is needed. 

Garden Shed DIY budget open shelves offer more space
Plans, in-progress work, and inspirational source for the open shelves are explained in the last post, Garden Shed DIY New Shelves

Goals for the new shelves include 

  • Beauty  
  • Low cost materials: inexpensive, but not cheap 
  • Thick wood shelves in proportion to the wood in the shed 
  • Wood with a smooth surface suitable for staining 
  • Shelves with at least 10" depth 
  • Sturdy shelf support brackets to support deep shelves 

A f t e r  

Garden sheds can be both functional and beautiful with planning

Make your heart happy and your eyes dance. 

Garden sheds tend to have beauty as a low priority. At least until the she-shed trend. 

Function is usually the paramount goal with small budgets and little planning for more than the basics. But, with beauty as part of the planning, both function and beauty can be achieved. 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder for sure. For me, blue and white is my favorite color combination. When designing a garden shed or any space, you should use what is beautiful to you. 

Garden shed shelves made from inexpensive materials

Inexpensive and cheap are not synonyms! 

One thing I learned at a very early age from my mother is inexpensive is different from cheap. Plus a high price does equate to good quality. Some low price items are inexpensive and have good quality. 

Poor quality that does not last was my mother's definition of cheap. Cheap items can have low or high prices. Good quality with a low price was my mother's definition of inexpensive. 

Finding quality shelves meant looking for real wood, not MDF.  
MDF is Medium Density Fiberboard engineered from wood fibers, wax, and resin. Touted as stronger than plywood and as standing up better to humidity and heat, MDF is often recommended to buyers. But, MDF cannot be stained, doesn't hold screws very well, and contains industrial solvents that can pose health risks. 

Finding quality shelves also meant looking for boards that were not warped, knotty, rough, or splintered. 

In stock pine stair treads are excellent for creating open shelves

Thick, Stainable, Deep Wood Shelves 

One of the best wood for shelves is pine stair treads. Excellent quality at a low price!

I stumbled across in-stock pine stair treads at a home improvement store several years ago. Always in stock, 4 feet long, one inch thick (true thickness,) 11.5 inches deep, with a rounded front edge, ready to stain

And I never looked back! 

One of the first places I used a pine stair tread was to create a DIY Wood Bathtub Tray | French Country Charm.

The thickness of the wood is one of the features I like best. Proportion is an important factor in designing a space. Since the garden shed has thick wood counters, moulding, bead board walls, and wood ceiling, the shelves need to look hefty to go with these other woods.  

We white-washed the shelves so the grain is visible, but the wood will not turn orange over time. 

Stair treads come in several wood varieties: pine, red oak, white oak, hickory, etc... Prices depend upon the wood variety and length of the tread. They come in 3, 4, and 5 foot lengths. The 4 foot length pine tread is always in stock at my home improvement store. Other wood varieties can be ordered. 

The treads are not in the same aisles as the traditional shelf boards. You may have to ask an employee where they are located. 

Gold painted shelf brackets add French Country elegance to open shelves

Sturdy Shelf Supports With Gold Paint 

Since the shelves are 11.5 inches deep, the support brackets have to be strong. These in-stock metal supports are 9.5 inches by 9.5 inches and were described as supporting shelves 9.5 inches to 12 inches deep and can support up to 80 lbs. per pair when installed properly. 

Another feature I like is the supports do not take up much room under the shelves. I looked for wood supports and found several I liked. However, the wood supports take more space and cost significantly more. 

These supports are zinc and steel with an aged nickel finish. They feel substantial, not flimsy. Customer online reviews and comments pointed out some of the brackets they bought were not perfectly 'square.' So, we checked each one we bought to make sure they were square. We also bought extra brass screws since the supports only came with 4 screws each, but have 8 places to attach the supports to the walls and shelves. 

I painted them with gold metallic spray paint and love how they coordinate with other gold accents in the shed. At Christmas the gold will be spectacular with greenery. 

Blue and white flower pots and accessories are beautiful late summer decor

Late Summer Styling 

White-washed boards, gold supports, and white painted walls will look extraordinary during every season of the year and with any style. The antique French script ledger page will also look good as an accent for every season and style. 

Blue and white bird designs are perfect for late summer.  

Garden shed DIY budget open shelves will look beautiful during every holiday

As summer begins to wane, I am thinking about all the ways to style the new open shelves for the coming holidays, beginning with Halloween. 

DIY open shelves in the garden shed do not look like a budget project
What about navy colored birds and feathers instead of black ones for Halloween? 

White mums will dress up the DIY garden shelves for Fall

Maybe some white chrysanthemums in the double handled crock will work for both Halloween and late Fall? 

Garden shed DIY open shelves cost $100, but look much more expensive

Proof that garden sheds can be both functional and beautiful on a budget are these open shelves created from easily found materials. 

The cost for the shelves, brackets, gold paint, and white-wash stain was around $100, a fraction of the cost of a hutch. Plus, the height between the shelves was created exactly for my garden shed. 

Thank you for reading Botanic Bleu. 

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Stay safe and create a little joie de vivre everyday! 


S o u r c e s 

Pine Stair Tread - Home Depot