Industrial Chic Closet Bookshelves
My daughter, Riley, and I share a Mommy + Me office that we love. Over the years, we’ve styled it to fit our personalities, but the one area that hasn’t gotten any love is our closet. It’s become a dumping ground for books and other miscellaneous items that don’t have a home.
We knew that the closet was long overdue for a makeover, so we decided to install DIY bookshelves. I was inspired by my time living in New York City to give the space an industrial chic look, so we used peel-and-stick wallpaper for the stunning exposed brick backdrop and poplar boards supported by decorative plumbing pipes for the open concept shelves.
- Newport Reclaimed Brick Peel and Stick Vinyl Strippable Wallpaper
- Wallpaper Smoother and Utility Knife Kit
- Oil-Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint
- ½ in. Floor Flanges
- 10 in. Pipe Connectors
- ½ in. Pipe Caps
- 2 in. Wood Screws
- 1 in. x 10 in. x 6 ft. Poplar Boards
- Sanding Sponge
- Clear Matte Finish Polyurethane
- ¾ in. Pipe Straps
- ¾ in. Wood Screws
Step 1: Measure and Prep the Space
Use a tape measure to measure the dimensions of the wall(s).
Use the Home Depot wallpaper calculator tool to calculate the number of rolls that you’ll need for your space.
Helpful Tip: It’s a good idea to determine where you want the shelves to be while the wall is still bare. I used a stud finder to identify where the studs are in the wall, which helped me determine that I needed my shelves to be at least 6 ft. long given the spacing of the studs. I decided on five 6-foot shelves, each 13 inches apart. Then, I used these measurements and a level to create a mock-up on the wall with painter’s tape so that I could visualize how the shelves would look before I hung them.
If needed, clean walls with warm soap and water to remove any dust or debris. Let dry completely before installing.
Step 2: Install Wallpaper
Unroll one the first roll of wallpaper on the floor to the length needed for the first panel, adding about 2-3 extra inches at the bottom that you will trim later. Cut this piece and set aside.
Next, unroll the remaining roll to find where the pattern lines up with the first panel. From this point, measure the length needed for the wall, adding about 2-3 inches at both the top and the bottom that you will trim later. After measuring, cut this piece from the roll and set aside.
Repeat the previous step for the remaining panels.
If possible, use two people to perform the following steps.
Using a ladder, line up the top of the first panel of wallpaper with where the wall and ceiling meet at the top of the left or right corner of the closet (whichever is easiest!).
Starting from this point, slowly peel off about 3-4 inches of the backing and start sticking the wallpaper to the wall. It’s helpful if one person un-peels and sticks at the top while the other person holds the bottom of the panel and guides as necessary.
Use the wallpaper smoother to smooth out any bubbles and/or wrinkles as you go. Slowly continue this process down the length of the wall, making any adjustments as needed.
Since my wallpaper has bricks, I used a level to make sure that the rows were even as I worked my way down. Once you reach the bottom, use the utility knife to trim the excess at the bottom.
Position the second panel on the wall next to the one that you just hung and note where the pattern meets (remember that you should have a few extra inches at the top). Once you find this point, peel off the backing and repeat the previous step. Once you finish, use the utility knife to trim the excess at the top and bottom.
Repeat the previous step for the remaining panels.
Step 3: Prepare the Shelves
Sand the boards (I had mine cut at the store). If desired, stain and/or finish the boards with the clear matte polyurethane to keep the natural look. Let dry completely before applying the next coat. Set aside once finished.
Step 4: Hang the Shelves
Use the measurements that you took before installing the wallpaper and the level to determine the placement of the first shelf. Then, use the stud finder to locate the first stud and mark this spot.
Repeat this process for the remaining flanges on the row.
Once the flanges are attached to the wall, screw in the pipes until secure.
Screw the caps on the ends of the pipes.
Place the board on top of the installed pipes. Secure the board to the pipes using a pipe strap and two ¾ in. wood screws. Note: I only opted to attach pipe straps to the end pipes for aesthetic purposes (the boards only need one strap to stay in place), but you can add an additional straps to the other pipes if desired.
Repeat this process for each row to finish the shelves.
Step 5: Add Decor
To complete the look, Riley and I used several industrial-themed pieces to style the shelves, including brass-finished bicycle bookends and decorative jacks in distressed gold, both available on HomeDepot.com.
I’m so pleased with how our industrial chic closet bookshelves turned out! Each time I open the closet, I feel like I’m in a gorgeous New York loft. Best of all, Riley and I are so much more organized and can say that we truly love our entire space—no more running to close the closet when we have visitors!