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DIY Kitchen Basket Shelf (or how to use all the space you have)

Heya folks! Dan here. Sorry I’ve been away so long, but I’ve been busy working behind the scenes on a few projects, including solving this little dilemma! Regular readers will know that in the space where our fridge once sat, we’ve added a dishwasher and extended the countertop to the wall, but in doing so we were left with a 10” wide gap between the dishwasher and wall. It was dead space that we needed to address. (Oh by the way, we have finished the kitchen and are working on a post for this month!)

Kitchen Basket Shelf BEFORE

We first thought to install shelving. We’d be able to store some small oft-used appliances, or baskets, etc. Then we started to think of other fun, creative solutions for the spot. We debated a wine rack, a roll-out cabinet, not unlike the one next to our fridge, even thought about closing it off entirely.

Ultimately we figured the best option was to add shelving. So that’s what I did!

Kitchen Basket Shelf 3

I’m pretty happy with how this simple DIY turned out. I was able to use spare wood we had on hand, with the exception of a couple of cast-off 2×2’s from cull bins at our local Kent Building Supplies.

There were a few small challenges:

First we needed to figure out how we’d use the shelves. We dislike clutter, so the plan was for baskets for things like tea towels, root vegetables and daily bread.

Adding to this challenge was that I needed to ensure the shelf would fit into the 10″ opening between the dishwasher and wall. I opted for 1x2x8 framing lumber for the legs, to which I secured my 8″ wide shelves.

Kitchen Basket Shelf 4

The last hurdle was self-imposed. I’ve decided that the only way I’m to improve as an amateur woodworker is to try something new with each new project – whether it’s using a new tool or trying a new technique. So for this shelf, I decided I’d experiment with joinery.

I’m a big fan of The Homestead Craftsman, and (as Erin will attest) I’ve been watching his videos obsessively. His dovetail joint video inspired me to move beyond basic butt joints (where piece of wood “A” simply connects to piece of wood “B” with glue and/or screws). I decided to try dowel joints. (Dovetails will come later!) Dowel joints are easy enough to make, stronger than a butt joint, and require no special tools beyond a drill and handsaw. Challenge accepted!

Each shelf is rectangular, and secured at each corner with a dowel joint.

kitchen shelf - dowel joint

Shelves were then affixed to the legs with screws. Nothing fancy.

Kitchen Basket Shelf 1

Fits like a glove…

Kitchen Basket Shelf 2

We’re trying not to show too much in these shots, so as not to spoil an upcoming kitchen reveal… 🙂

So did we make the right call in putting in a shelf? How would you make use of such a space? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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Linda Tunget

Thursday 23rd of May 2019

O love how you put shelves into use as you did. It gave me inspiration on what to do for my sons small kitchen

John Walters

Wednesday 30th of January 2019

The wheels that another suggested could be added to the inside of the legs -fixed so they were under the shelves and wouldn t try to rub either the wall or dishwasher- they would allow you to move the shelves to clean, rather than drag them on the floor. They do look nice, though.

Cathy Milne

Monday 20th of November 2017

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for. I have an opening beneath what was probably designed as a breakfast bar that is not useful in a tiny kitchen. My thoughts were to create something that rolled and enclosed (too much work & not enough time) but this unit will allow me to get the baskets and covered plastic boxes off of my limited counter space.


Saturday 30th of January 2016

I think I would have made the shelves just tall enough to accommodate the bins, possibly making room for another shelf. And wheels on the unit would make the back part of it accessible. Just my thoughts..... Thanks for a great idea for using the space constructively!!

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