Basic Farmhouse Shelf

I had absolutely HAD IT with the useless old towel rack in our bathroom. Using some scraps from building raised bed gardens, I assembled a basic farmhouse wall shelf.

1970s Chic?

I shouldn’t be on here talking smack about our house. Really truly, it is a great house with a lot of potential. It is our first home together that is also spacious, has a great living room full of sunshine, a wood burning furnace, and plenty of room for us to grow our family.

Unfortunately unlike a lot of the other bloggers you see out there in vintage 100 year old farmhouses, mine is vintage 1970s rambler farmhouse.

Instead of classic sturdy wood beams we have fake plastic beams and popcorn ceilings.

Underneath that horrendous thick blue carpeting isn’t a secret trove of beautiful hardwood.

So I’ve been slowly chipping away at the 70s plastic vibe and trying to bring about a sturdy, classic look.

Our bathroom needs WORLDS of work to update it. Most of that work is beyond my skill level. A towel rack though. Now THAT’S something I can tackle.

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The Old Towel Rack

I have nothing against towel racks that actually WORK. Most towel racks that are properly designed have several horizontal bars that are off-set from each other. Or they might be heated to expedite the drying process.

This towel rack was neither. The bars were all hung directly on top of one another and made of some kind of mystery wood. Our towels were only ever hung on the sides of the rack and not on the actual bars. If we had put them on the bars they would be right on top of each other never dry.

I started hunting around on Etsy and found some beautiful shelves with hooks underneath. Gorgeous. But $50+. Not in the budget. To the scrap wood pile I went!

towel rack rough and tumble farmhouse
Good riddance!

Materials for a Farmhouse Shelf

I used almost all materials I just had around the house to make this shelf.


  • 2, 2 foot boards
  • 2 smaller boards cut to size (see the video)
  • 3/4-1 inch small screws
  • Wood glue (if you want to be serious)
  • Hooks
  • 2-3 Mounting Brackets OR long screws to attach the shelf to the wall.


  • Cordless Drill with a drill bit and Philips head bit
  • Stud Finder
  • Saw
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil

How I Built my Farmhouse Wall Shelf

If you are new to my farmhouse decor/construction/woodworking content, let me make one thing clear. I have very little idea of what I am doing. I know some basics, then basically I barge ahead like a stubborn bull trying to make what I want.

If you follow the steps you’ll end up at a minimum with a shelf like mine, which ain’t half bad. There are definitely more qualified people than me to teach you how to build a towel shelf. But if you’re a little rough and tumble like me, then feel free to follow along.

easy shelf project rough and tumble farmhouse

First Cuts

After measuring and eyeballing the open spot on the wall for a while, I decided the spot would fit a two foot shelf.

First things first I cut two identical boards at two feet.

Next, I placed on board edge on top of the other and drilled pilot holes. Then I screwed the boards together. This gave me the basic shelf shape laready.

Rather than measure (which is probably best) I took the board that would become the side supports and tucked it into the corner now made by these two boards.

I decided to put this support board on top of what will be the back of the shelf. That way when I screwed it into place, no screws would be visible.

Using a pencil and a straight edge, I marked where to cut the board so itwould fit snugly in place.

I did the same on the other side.

I cut both boards down to size.

Then I repeated the process of putting them in place, drilling pilot holes, and then securing them with screws.

At this point we have a basic farmhouse shelf!

Attaching the Hooks

The one thing I did spend money on was some simple clothing hooks from Fleet Farm. I spent $6 for all six hooks, that also came with their own screws.

I was trying to be somewhat consistent here rather than eyeballing it, so I measured the distance between the two sides of the shelf, divided it by 6, then placed my hooks accordingly. Next I measured down from the underside of the top shelf so they would all be level with one another.

Once I had them in place, I marked the screw holes with a pencil, then drilled pilot holes.

I screwed down the hooks. We’re almost ready!

coat hooks rough and tumblefarmhouse

Hanging the Shelf

I also picked up two mounting brackets that were simply hammered in to the back of the shelf. If you wanted to skip those you could drill another hole or two in the shelf itself and screw it directly on the wall.

Before I could mount the shelf I had to find a stud. This shelf isn’t super heavy but it isn’t light either. Add three or four wet towels and we need something stronger than drywall to hold this in place.

After locating the studs I popped in a few screws, and voila! A brand new farmhouse style shelf to hang our towels on.

diy farmhouse decor rough and tumble farmhouse

Final Thoughts

I’ll be honest. I like this shelf and how it turned out. However, I’m not totally convinced it is the right size for our bathroom. I’m keeping it up for a few weeks to see how it grows on me. What I might do, is remove the top shelf and the sides and simply have the wood back board with the hooks. It will still give off that farmhouse vibe but won’t jut out quite so far. We’ll see!

Shop this Post

Don’t feel like building a shelf? This one is cute and only $20!

As for the hooks I purchased, Amazon only sell similar ones for an INSANE price. Check your local Fleet Supply store or Wal-Mart for hooks that will work.


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easy farmhouse decor rough and tumble farmhouse

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