How to Turn Dresser Drawers into Shelves

Repurposing dresser drawers into shelves is a clever and creative way to breathe new life into old or unused furniture. Instead of discarding an old dresser, you can transform its drawers into functional and stylish shelves, adding both storage and aesthetic appeal to your living space.

How to Turn Dresser Drawers into Shelves

In this guide, we’ll take you through the process of repurposing dresser drawers into shelves, providing step-by-step instructions and tips on how to turn dresser drawers into shelves.

From preparing the drawers and choosing the right mounting system to ensuring stability and arranging the shelves, we’ll cover all the essential details to help you repurpose your dresser drawers effectively. Let’s embark on this upcycling journey, where we’ll give your dresser a second chance to shine in a new and inventive way.

Reasons for Transforming Dresser Drawers

Transforming dresser drawers into shelves has many advantages. First, it allows you to maximize the space in your room by providing extra storage for items that you may not have been able to accommodate otherwise. It also eliminates the need for other shelving units which can be expensive and take up valuable floor or wall space.

Additionally, drawer shelves are easy to customize so you can match them to your room’s decor and style. Finally, they are a quick project that requires minimal supplies and time to assemble.

If you have an old dresser drawer lying around or find one at a thrift store for cheap, it makes the perfect starting point for this DIY project. All you need in addition is some hardware and tools which can be purchased inexpensively at your local hardware store. With a few simple steps, you can have your own custom shelves in no time!

Measure the Drawer and Decide

The first step is to measure the drawer and decide on the size of shelf that you want to create. You should also consider if you will need additional support for heavier items such as books or records.

Once you’ve determined the size of your shelves, the next step is to measure and cut wood planks. You can choose to use hardwood for a more polished look or plywood for a more rustic feel.

Selecting Suitable Dresser Drawers

When selecting dresser drawers for conversion into shelves, it is important to consider the material of the drawer as well as its size. Wooden dresser drawers are generally best since they provide some stability, while metal ones may be too flimsy without additional support.

The size of the drawer should also be considered; if you plan to use it to hold heavier items, it is important to make sure the drawer can support the weight. However, if you will be using the shelf primarily for lighter items such as books or clothing, a wider drawer may not be necessary.

10 Methods How to Turn Dresser Drawers into Shelves

1. Remove the Drawers

The first step to turning dresser drawers into shelves is to remove the drawers from the dresser. This can be done by unscrewing the drawer slides and then carefully pulling out the drawers. Once all of the drawers have been removed, you will need to sand and paint or stain the dresser frame in order to give it a fresh look.

2. Measure and Cut Plywood

The next step is to measure and cut plywood boards that will serve as your shelves. You’ll want to make sure that each board fits snugly into the space left by each drawer, so take careful measurements before cutting. Once you have cut your boards, you can sand them down if needed and then apply a coat of paint or stain for a finished look.

Remove the Drawers From the Dresser

3. Install Brackets

Once your plywood boards are ready, you will need to install brackets underneath each board in order to support them. To do this, you can use either metal L-brackets or heavy-duty shelf brackets depending on how much weight you plan on putting on each shelf. Make sure that your brackets are securely attached before moving on to the next step.

4. Attach Shelves

Once your brackets are installed, it’s time to attach your shelves! You can do this by using screws or nails depending on what type of material your shelves are made from (e.g., wood vs metal). Make sure that each shelf is securely attached before moving on to the next step.

5. Add Trim Pieces

If desired, you can also add trim pieces around the edges of each shelf in order to give it a more polished look and help hide any imperfections caused by cutting or drilling holes for brackets or screws/nails used for attaching shelves. You can use molding strips, corner braces, or other decorative pieces depending on what style you’re going for!

6. Hang Up Wall Decor

Now that all of your shelves are installed, it’s time to hang up some wall decor! This could include framed photos, paintings, mirrors, tapestries, etc., depending on what kind of style you’re going for with your new shelving unit!

Be sure not to overload any single shelf as this could cause it to become unstable over time due to too much weight being placed on one side of the unit versus another.

Hang Up Some Wall Decor

7. Place Baskets & Boxes

In addition to hanging up wall decor items like framed photos and paintings, baskets and boxes also make great additions when turning dresser drawers into shelves! These items help keep smaller items organized while also adding texture and color throughout your space!

Plus they’re super easy (and inexpensive!) items that don’t require any additional installation steps beyond placing them onto a shelf – no drilling holes or screwing anything down required!

8. Add Lighting

Lighting is an important factor when creating any room design – especially when it comes to shelving units! Installing lighting underneath each shelf helps bring attention towards certain objects while also providing additional illumination throughout the room itself! You can opt for recessed lighting fixtures built directly into walls/ceilings or opt for something more decorative like string lights hung up along walls/ceilings instead!

9. Place Plants & Greenery

Adding plants and greenery is another great way of bringing life into any room design – especially when turning dresser drawers into shelves! Small succulents placed in pots along with trailing vines hung up along walls/ceilings both work great here as they help bring natural elements into an otherwise man-made space while also helping purify air quality throughout rooms at same time!

10. Add Decorative Accents

Finally once all of these steps have been completed (or even during!), adding decorative accents such as throw blankets draped over couches/chairs/beds; pillows placed around seating areas; rugs laid out across floors; etc., helps tie everything together while adding an extra layer of comfortability throughout spaces at same time too!

Things to Keep in Mind When Turning Dresser Drawers into Shelves

  • Make sure the dresser is structurally sound and stable. If it wobbles or shows signs of wear, it’s not a good candidate for this project.
  • Measure twice, cut once – an old saying but still relevant when converting drawers into shelves. Be extra careful when measuring the heights of your cuts so that all the shelves are level with each other.
  • If you’re planning to use your dresser shelves for heavier items, make sure the material of the drawers is thick enough and strong enough to support them without sagging or breaking.
  • Depending on what type of paint, stain or varnish you choose, be aware that these products may also affect how much weight a shelf can hold.
  • Be mindful of the weight distribution across all shelves and don’t overload them. This will help ensure the dresser remains stable after completion.
Plugged Into a Gfci Outlet

Safety Precautions for Turning Dresser Drawers into Shelves

It is important to take some safety precautions when transforming dresser drawers into shelves. Here are a few tips:

  • Wear protective eyewear while working and wear gloves if you are using power tools.
  • Make sure that your workspace is well ventilated, especially when using materials like paint or stain which can give off fumes.
  • Keep children and pets away from the workspace when in use.
  • Make sure that all tools and materials are properly stored after each use.
  • Dispose of any dust, debris, or large chunks of wood according to local ordinances.
  • When using power tools, make sure they are plugged into a GFCI outlet for added safety.


As evident from this blog post, reverting dresser drawers into shelves is a fast, easy and creative way of adding extra storage space to any bedroom or home. Plus, it’s an effective way to give furniture an appealing and original look!

All you need are some basic tools and supplies to get the job done. So why not follow our simple guide on how to turn dresser drawers into shelves today?

It will add a touch of character to your room and make your guests smile in amazement with your impressive creativity when they visit. Have fun through the journey of turning old objects into something new and unique! Now that we have come to the end of this post remember – don’t throw away those old furniture pieces, repurpose them as wonderful shelves instead!

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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