Easy How to Build DIY Floor to Ceiling Bookshelves

Now don’t share too well right before the but. I would usually share a beautiful picture of the space before jumping into the picture of the space. Let’s take a look at how far we’ve come with this amazing room. Today, we’re talking about all these DIY bookshelves from floor to ceiling. Moving on to the next installment, let’s discuss the Theater Room series.

As I mentioned before, the room that used to belong to my older boys has now been stripped of any unnecessary decorations or embellishments and transformed into a shared media room with no extra space.

My entire family loves hanging out in the beautiful home theater room, where there is plenty of space for everyone. Last week, I shared the platform riser in the new theater with them!

The room had a monochromatic theme, with no exception to the shelves that went from floor to ceiling. The space had a blend of a just and built-in bookshelves, and it appeared as if they were here for the goal of keeping the vibe of the room.

Achieving a unified appearance, I painted the shelving unit to match the color and sheen of the walls. Rather than focusing solely on the shelving unit, my main goal was to make the decorations inside it the center of attention.

Of course, a contrast color would make these DIY floor to ceiling bookshelves pop! And it would be a gorgeous design element!

Here you go! Interested in the blueprints for the Media Console? I constructed the do-it-yourself tall bookcases prior to constructing the media console, as evident in the image provided.

However, for the time being, let’s proceed and construct these do-it-yourself bookcases.

Determining the Exact Measurements

The initial step I took was determining the dimensions of the area.

There were a few factors I needed to take into account:

  • How expansive did I want this built-in bookshelf to be?
  • What type of ornamental objects did I want to incorporate, which in turn, would determine the elevation of the shelves?
  • Were there wall supports I could safely attach this unit to?
  • Am I obstructing a crucial electric socket?
  • I concluded that the wall studs had been labeled and the electrical outlets would be concealed. (Note: After the installation, it would be impossible to discern that the bookcase will hide your markings. Make sure to mark the wall studs on the ceiling.)

    It is important to take a few measurements of the ceiling height before doing anything else, as the height of the ceiling fluctuates from one end of the wall to the other. Once I have measured the ceiling height, I can proceed to the next step.

    After completing this task, you will prefer selecting the measurement of the lowest distance between the floor and the ceiling.

    Because my unit was in the first garage out in the building, I decided to take a couple of inches off the upright bookshelf that I once got in the room, to make sure I would be able to turn it.

    Here are the dimensions I arrived at:.

  • Our ceiling measurement is 8 feet.
  • The measurement of the bookshelf’s height is 90 inches.
  • Bookshelf dimensions: 21 inches wide.
  • Bookshelf depth: 16 inches.
  • I wanted a total of 5 shelves.
  • Gap between each shelf: 16″.
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    Because including the shelf itself will also occupy space, I used the term “approximate”. This provided me with an estimated figure for the gap between each shelf, which I then divided by the number of shelves I chose. I subsequently divided this figure by the width of the trim pieces on the top and bottom shelves, subtracting the overall height of the unit. In order to determine the spacing between each shelf, I merely subtracted the width of the trim pieces on the top and bottom shelves from the total height of the unit.

    Each shelf in my 16″ approximately spaced shelves will have a gap of 16″. Therefore, by dividing 80″ by 5, each piece of trim equals 16″ (each piece of trim is 5″ in length). Here’s an example using my measurements of 90″ in height, with each shelf divided into 10″ sections.

    Once all of the calculations were completed, I was prepared to commence the construction…

    The instructions are based on the dimensions of a bookshelf with the following measurements: 5 shelves in total; 16 inches deep; 21 inches wide; 95 inches tall.

    Materials Needed for DIY Floor to Ceiling Bookshelves:

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  • 3/4″ Smooth plywood (amount required varies depending on the specific project) (For this particular project, you will need two 4×8 sheets).
  • 1/2″ Sanded plywood (1 sheet measuring 4×8 feet).
  • 1x2x8 Pine planks (2).
  • 1×5 Pine planks (1).
  • 1 1/4″ Pocket fastening screws.
  • 1 1/4″ Timber fasteners.
  • Tack nails.
  • 220-grit sandpaper.
  • Edge banding.
  • If you’re interested, take a look at it for under $5. You can find it at Home Depot for a significantly lower price. Nevertheless, for individuals seeking the ease of purchasing all the necessary materials for this project in a single location, I have provided the Amazon link for the Edge Banding.

    Tools Needed for DIY Floor to Ceiling Bookshelves:

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  • Please consult the note below for the list of cuts. If you do not have a table saw or circular saw available, Home Depot can assist you with making the necessary cuts.
  • Tape measure.
  • Power drill.
  • Hammer.
  • Orbital Sander.
  • Stud Finder.
  • Here’s the essential items you will require for easy access: Simply ensure you have your dimensions prepared when you proceed to collect your timber. In case you lack a table saw or circular saw, Home Depot will offer the service of cutting your plywood. Please take note.

  • Two sheets of plywood (3/4″) measuring 90 3/4″x16″ each.
  • 5 sheets of plywood (3/4″) measuring 19 1/2″ x 15 1/4″ each.
  • Step One: Cut the side panels

    To initiate the construction process, I utilized my table saw to cut my two side panels into dimensions of 90 3/4″ x 16″. This marked the initial phase of the project, as I commenced by cutting the side panels.

    Step Two: Cut the shelves

    Trim 5 shelves to dimensions of 19 1/2″ x 15 1/4″….

    Create 3/4″ pocket holes along the edge of the 15 1/4″ side of every shelf. (As illustrated below)…

    Step Three: Cut spacers

    In order to expedite and streamline this process, I sliced spacers to ascertain the precise placement of each shelf.

    Trim two sections of leftover plywood measuring 15 inches in length each. (The width is not crucial; mine were roughly around 4 inches in width).

    Cut two pieces of plywood at a length of 4 1/4 inches each (the width does not matter).

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    Step Four: Attach shelves

    Your bottom shelf will be affixed at the designated location indicated by positioning each spacer’s bottom against the edge of your side panel, with a spacing of 15 inches between them, utilizing the 4 1/4-inch spacers.

    To ensure that the holes on the pocket underneath are not visible and to make sure that this will be the bottom shelf, keep in mind that you want the shelving unit to be standing upright. Attach one side of the shelf to the side panel using 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

    Secure the following shelf to the side panel using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. Position the 15″ spacers above the lower shelf (as depicted below). You are now prepared to affix your subsequent shelf to the side panel.

    Ascend the side panel, utilizing the spacers as a reference point to affix each shelf.

    If the unit is upright and visible, you’ll want to make sure to pay attention to the pocket holes. When you finish, you’ll want to avoid having these holes filled with wood filler, so accordingly, you want to place the shelf.

    When the unit is in an upright position, the pocket openings should be oriented upwards on the upper shelves. In contrast, the pocket openings should be facing downwards on the lower shelves, for instance.

    Once all five shelves are connected to the side panel, it will have the appearance shown in the image.

    You are now prepared to flip the unit and place it on the top of the opposite side panel.

    Connect the opposite side panel to the other side of each shelf and align it accordingly. Follow the same procedure as mentioned earlier. Make sure the shelves are evenly positioned by inserting spacers between them. Utilize 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws for the attachment process.

    Once this step is completed, it will resemble this…

    When standing tall, the shelving unit appears like this…

    Step Five: Add front shelf trim

    For this stage, you have the option to utilize either the existing plywood or 1×2’s.

    Utilizing your table saw, cut 4 pieces to a width of 1 1/2″ if you decide to utilize the plywood. In regard to this particular undertaking, I already possessed the 3/4″ plywood that I opted to employ.

    You will then trim each of these strips, utilizing your miter saw, at a length of 19 1/2 inches.

    You should now have four trim pieces measuring 19 1/2″ in length x 1 1/2″ in width.

    Each of these trim pieces will be attached to the front of your shelves using 1 1/2″ wood screws, providing a more polished appearance to the bookshelf. The trim pieces will conceal the exposed plywood edges, giving a finished look.

    (In the image provided below, I still required to attach the 1 1/2″ wide trim component to the shelf positioned one level below.) Please take note that wider trim elements will be used to conceal these. It is unnecessary to affix them to the uppermost or lowermost shelf.

    Step Six: Add the backer board

    Secure with small nails and place your shelving unit back on the floor. Trim the 1/2″ sanded plywood to match the dimensions of the back of your bookshelf and effortlessly incorporate the backing material.

    Oh no!! I didn’t realize that the upright back unit I had attached to the backer board of my shelves stood in front of the board until I was ready to push through and get the project done. It was late at night when I reached this stage of my project. I must not make the same mistake again.

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    After working on fixing the long take and removing the stubborn nails with ease, we decided to call it a night.

    Here’s what it should appear as when completed correctly….

    I can see that you added the bottom trim piece to the bottom trim piece, as I cut a strip of plywood to fit the bottom and attached it with 1 1/2″ wood screws, which you can use in place of the plywood for the bottom trim.

    Step Seven: Add Edge Banding to DIY Floor to Ceiling Bookshelves

    I utilize edge banding to provide my face frame with a neat and polished appearance, concealing the rugged edges of plywood. The sole drawback of plywood lies in its coarse edges.

    If you complete this step quickly, you will have the packaging written on as directions to follow. It is super easy to apply to a wooden block and only requires the use of an iron.

    The application of edge banding results in a significantly improved aesthetic. The right side still requires it, while the left side has already been affixed. In the image provided below, you can observe the noticeable contrast.

    Step Eight: Add the topper

    If you desire to add a touch of elegance, consider using crown molding instead of plywood. Otherwise, these boards will not have any means of attachment, so be sure to make your boards approximately one inch wider. By using 1 1/2″ wood screws, I secured these pieces to the bookcase’s top. The trim piece’s bottom should extend beyond the unit’s top. I measured and cut plywood to fit around the unit’s top, reaching all the way to the ceiling. After taking my piece downstairs to its new location, I was prepared to give it a seamless, built-in appearance.

    Step Nine: Finish work

    You are ready to finish work at this stage. Before adding the top trim piece, I had already painted the picture above, as you can see.

    Begin by following the markings you made at the beginning of this post to attach the built-in shelves to the back wall of the studs, using 1 1/2″ wood screws.

    If you prefer not to mount the shelves to the wall studs, there is another way you can secure your bookshelf to the wall. Using adhesive mounting strips, you can firmly hold the shelving unit in place and ensure safety for the wall. This way, you don’t have to worry about anchoring the unit to the wall or having studs in this space.

    Fill up all the nail punctures. Smooth out these areas with your 220-grit sandpaper..

    If you prefer, you can choose the color of the wooden bookshelves. You can either paint them or stain them. Additionally, you can add two coats or one coat of poly (top coat). This will help prevent any scratches, marks, or smudges and also allow you to add any desired decorations.

    Take a step back and appreciate your efforts!

    Do you also want to construct the media console? Here is the link.

    When decorating, I love adding a bunch of smaller decor items to each shelf rather than larger pieces, as they make a statement by themselves.

    I want you to check them out. I will post some vases at the bottom of the case. I like how this keeps me focused on one main thing and less busy with other things. I chose to add a simple vase to fill the space on each shelf.

    The element that is pleasing to the eye is texture, which adds a different feel. I also like the look of adding a blanket on the first shelf.

    I hope you found this custom bookshelves post to be very informative and helpful. Are you ready to go and build your own bookshelves? They would look great in a home office, living room, or a room with tall ceilings. Adding a rolling ladder and how fun that would be!

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