When you build or get a new shed, you’ll find that a lot of smaller items are going to go into it. All sorts of yard tools, hand tools, and a myriad of boxes, bottles and cans of pest killer, fertilizers, oil, and other things will need to be stored.
Along with that, any leftovers from carpentry projects or painting jobs, even leftover lumber from your shed build, will go in the shed. These things can quickly take up floor space and create a big jumble even when they’re sorted into boxes unless you have some kind of shelving.
In this article I’m going to go over 5 shed shelving ideas to use the space you have in your shed to create shelving.
Fortunately, most sheds provide the means to install shelving. If you’ve got a traditional shed with some kind of stud framework, your problem is solved. Even some vinyl or resin shed models have a wall anchor system to allow for the installation of shelving. Some offer shelving kits made just for your shed.
Sheds with metal siding and no interior studs present the biggest problem. Any shelving needs to have studs or legs for the shelves installed inside first to support the shelving. Attaching shelving directly to the metal siding would be a disaster, as the siding isn’t made to support weight such as this.
You can, however, build in a stud system while building your shed. Some build-to-order shed manufacturers even will install studs as part of the package when requested.
There are plenty of shed shelving ideas that you can install in your shed, but we’ll take a look at some of the more common types. As you build shelving for your shed or as time goes on, you may come up with some of your own ideas that suit the inside of your particular shed. You just can’t have too many shelves in a shed. Check out my article Is it Cheaper to Build or Buy Storage Shed Shelving? if your undecided between buying shed shelving or building it yourself.
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6 Shed Shelving Ideas for Beginners
1] Shed Shelves Between Studs – These take advantage of the supports you already have and are super easy to install. In fact, you can install quite a few, making part of an interior wall look like a bookcase. They can be spaced evenly or with varying vertical spacing to accommodate taller items.
All you need is a 1 x 4 or 1 x 5 for the shelf, assuming that your studs are 2 x 4s. It’s okay to let the shelf stick out a bit from the stud edges. Then you need a couple of 1 x 1s or 1 x 2s the same length as the depth of the shelf board for the bracing underneath.
Plywood can also be used for the shelving as long as it’s at least ½ inch thick. Remember that although these shelves will be short and not as likely to sag, you will store at least some heavy items on them, such as leftover paint.
After cutting the braces to the proper length, screw them to the studs, making sure that they are both attached at the same height. The shelf board rests on top of the braces, attached to them with screws. Screws are a bit preferable to nails, as they are less likely to work loose over time. Check out my article Messy to Organized – Installing Plywood Shelves in Your Shed for more great and cheap ideas for shed shelving.
2] Heavy-Duty Shelves – These are shelves made to store heavy items, such as paint cans, heavy tools, vehicle parts and the like. You’ll need several lengths of 2 x 4s for the legs and braces, and 3/4-inch plywood for the shelving.
You can also use 1 x 1s spaced a little span apart for the shelving to allow drainage in case you store any wet things, allow airflow to prevent mildew on cardboard boxes, or just happen to have a bunch of scrap 1 x 1s. Plan for shelves that will be the proper length so that the side bracing can be attached to wall studs. Building them with one end in a corner will provide extra strength.
How many shelves you want and how much vertical space between will determine how high your outer legs must be. The side brackets are attached with screws to the legs and the outside of the studs, including any studs on the interior of the shelf unit.
Add a 2 x 4 along the entire front of each shelf placement for added strength, then attach the plywood to the bracing. You’ll need to make cutouts for the legs.
3] Freestanding Tall Shelves – Building one of these is much like building heavy-duty shelving, in that you’ll need 2 x 4s for the vertical supports and 1 x 2s for the bracing. The big difference is that instead of being attached to wall studs, you’ll have another row of vertical supports along the back. You can build this type of shelving in one long unit or individual shelf units so that they can be rearranged in the future. Get more information in my article Freestanding Shelving Units vs Wall Mounted Shelving Units for Storage.
4] Easy to Build Storage Shelves – Probably the easiest shelving to build is the kind that goes between wall studs. Another really easy way is to get long L-shaped metal brackets. Long ones will hold more weight than short ones. You attach these to your studs, then attach your shelf board to them. Nail a 1 x 2 all along the edge and nothing will slide or fall off.
5] Tool Storage Rack – For small yard hand tools, such as trowels and weed diggers, a 2 x 4 with screw-in hooks will hold a bunch of these on the wall. For any tools that don’t come with a hole in the handle for hanging, it’s fairly easy to drill a hole in a handle or glue some old shoelaces in a loop for hanging.
One of the popular shed shelving ideas is a rack for long-handled yard tools that can be built from a length of 1 x 6 lumber and a couple of metal brackets to hold it. Cut a number of two-inch diameter holes along one end, leaving an open slot to slide in the tool handles. Remember to space them out to accommodate wide tools such as leaf rakes.
For tools such as drills and electrical saws, you can build a box frame with 2 x 6s or 2 x 8s with room for a couple of interior shelves. Metal brackets will support those interior shelves. For more support, a plywood back over the whole unit can be attached, with a central bracket attached to it under each interior shelf. They can be spaced evenly apart or leave a larger vertical space between two shelves to accommodate bulkier items.
6] Pegboard Shelving – This type of storage is really popular for people who have a lot of hand tools, but it can also hold shelving. Pegboard is made of plastic, wood or metal. The plastic type won’t hold as much weight as the other two. The wooden type is usually made from pressed wood products and is quite common.
The metal type holds the most weight but also is the most expensive. With a wall covered in pegboard, all sorts of hooks can be inserted to hold tools. There are also many sizes of metal braces designed to hold shelves on pegboard.
If you have a pegboard with larger holes, you can use dowels as your shelf supports. Nail a strip of wood to the dowels that extends over the edge of the shelf to hold it in place. If your would like more information on some plastic shelving options, check out article Are Plastic Shelving Units Strong Enough for a Shed?
What Kind of Wood Should I Use for Shed Shelving?
You can use scrap boards such as 1 x 6s to build simple shelves. For larger shelves, 3/4-inch plywood will hold quite a bit of weight. You can paint or stain them before assembly. The good thing about building shelves is that you can make use of any scrap lumber you have on hand.
How Do You Attach Shelves to a Shed?
Long L-shaped brackets are an easy way to attach boards for a shelf. They have several holes along each leg to accommodate screws, and the length helps with more support. For long shelves, a bracket or two in the middle is important to prevent sagging.
The other easy way is to use 1 x 2s or 2 x 4s as shelf brackets, nailing them with a butt end against the wall itself and attaching it to the side of the wall stud. For a long shelf or one that will hold heavy tools or parts, you’ll want to use the 2 x 4s. Be sure to attach a brace to each stud in between as well and make sure they are all level and attached evenly. Check out my article How to Finish the Inside of a Shed? if you need some ideas and tips with finishing and shelving.
How to Build a Basic Shed Shelf
Actually, your simplest shelf would be a 2 x 6 or 2 x 8 piece of lumber in whatever length you want. Be sure it’s the right length so that it can be attached to brackets or bracing that’s attached to studs. It can be stained or painted before attaching it. Be sure to sand it smooth in any case to prevent getting a sliver when you’re reaching for something. Nailing a 1 x 2 strip around the front and ends that extends a bit above the shelf surface will keep anything from sliding off.
Check out this quick video on a easy shed shelf idea.
Shed shelving is a very flexible thing. Not only are there many kinds, but you can always add more as the need arises. When building your shed or anything else, it’s also a good reason not to throw away any scrap lumber that can be used.
This way, your shelving will cost little to nothing in materials except for wood screws unless you have some of those around as well. You can even use a long shelf or two to store that scrap lumber and keep it off the floor. Make use of that wall space.