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Basement Closet Shelving Idea: How To Hang Shelves to Cinderblock Walls?

Create an organized farmhouse DIY basement closet with this wood shelving idea

We seem to keep doing organization projects in 2020! And like most families, we were looking for a kid’s craft room space that we could create for our children. In addition to being a craft room, this room could also double as a homeschool space any time we needed it. This space in particular was the perfect place to add shelves to the cinderblock wall and open the basement closet.

We loved the idea that we had a spare room in our basement that over time has been an office, gym space, and bedroom. Once we moved the bed upstairs to my daughter’s room, we knew it was time to really think about how to repurpose this space. 

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This small room was the inspiration for many of our current DIY projects including a DIY wooden floating desk and DIY pegboard.

The “before” basement closet

chip CMU cinder block in basement before waterproofing

As you can see, the basement closet was in need of some serious help. First, we had to add a waterproof layer to coat the cinderblocks. Then a new coat of paint would be needed to freshen up space and create a cohesive color. After creating a clean closet, we knew we would add farmhouse brackets and wooden shelves to the cinderblock wall.

Yes…

we were very lucky that first, we had this small space to makeover and that it also had a closet in it.

Time-Lapse Shelving Video

Also, we added our first time-lapse video at the end of this post. Nothing fancy, but you will see how these shelves were added to cinderblock! I promise we will get better at the whole video thing, but you have to start somewhere.

The basement closet makeover: turning it all into usable space

We were not lucky, the basement closet was in pretty bad shape. See how and what we used to  “re” waterproof the basement cinderblock walls. I was so happy to take that DIY waterproofing basement idea off of our DIY list. 

I honestly can even believe that this is the same basement closet! 

Basement closet waterproofed with Masterseal 581

DIY craft closet makeover ideas

We went back and forth about the design of this closet. Here are a few things we decided that would work well for our basement closet makeover.

  1. Add shelving using wood and brackets.
  2. Waterproof and fix existing cinderblock walls
  3. Remove closet doors and leave open spacing
  4. Create a bin on wheels so that nothing is resting completely on the floor (it is a basement after all)
  5. Store extra books with art materials in our “homeschool” closet
  6. Make some small area a reading “nook” for our children
  7. Create an organized space for each art material and supply that our children can easily reach and some spaces that are just for storage where they have to ask to have that material.

In addition, once our DIY wooden desks are built, we will be adding pegboards and other organization methods (like our pallet wood crates on wheels). I can’t wait until we are able to get this whole homeschool room put together. 

How to build closet shelves with brackets?

If you do not want to have brackets in your walls, then check out how we added just wooden DIY shelves to our closet upstairs. However, we knew it would be so much easier to just use brackets for this basement closet shelving idea.

We also had experience with these brackets and wood shelves when we used them to add custom looking shelving in our laundry room

Black Farmhouse shelving brackets

Supplies

Large Farmhouse Brackets (we used the smaller size in our laundry room storage and found this cheaper set)

1 x 12  cut to size (how many you need will depend on the layout of your closet)

Latex Primer

Latex Enamel Paint (our favorite current color that we have just a lot leftover)

Small Foam Roller and Handle

More like this: See how this color was used to redo our bathroom vanity and oak railing!

Basement Closet Shelf Tutorial

1. Cut wood to size. The 1 x 12 boards that we used are pine. They are pre-finished (pre-sanded) from Home Depot.

2. Place boards on sawhorses with a 2 x 4 on top. In this picture, you can see how we set up up for a variety of painting projects.

Sawhorse paint prep

3. Prime and paint the wood using a small foam roller. This will take a little time as you have to do 2 coats and wait for each one to dry before flipping over to do the other side.

Painted wood shelves

Supplies needed to hang brackets and wood shelves on basement cinderblock wall

Hammer drill

*Cheapest/ Economic Hammer Drill: Dewalt Hammer Drill 1/2 in.

*Best Middle of the Road Hammer Drill with multiple speeds: Bosch 11255VSR Bulldog Xtreme

3/16″ Concrete Drill Bit

Tapcons (concrete screws) *linked is the size we used

Cordless Drill

4′ Level

Tape Measurer

What is a Tapcon?

A Tapcon screw is specifically when attaching to concrete, block, or brick.

Tapcon is a concrete screw

How do you attach shelves to cinderblock walls?

Note: If the wall where you are hanging the brackets is drywall and 2×4’s use a stud finder and screw the brackets into the studs.

However, it was going to be as easy as this particular closet in our house is constructed out of concrete masonry units (CMU’s), also known as cinderblocks.

1. Using a tape measure, a pencil, and a level layout (mark the drill holes) for the concrete screws.

Using a tape measure to mark distance for shelving

It is best to anchor into, drill into the grout lines above and below the actual CMU blocks (see photo)

2. Place a 4’ level from hole to hole to make sure you’re close to being level. The CMU grout line itself should be pretty level…(just check and don’t assume).

Checking marked spots are level for farmhouse brackets

3. Using the hammer drill and bit pre-drill all of your bracket holes. Make sure you wear safety glasses people!

Hammer drill to add closet shelving to cinderblock wall

4. Once the bracket holes are drilled put the Tapcon through the bracket and sink anchors with a cordless drill.

Use a cordless drill to attach farmhouse shelving brackets

5. Continue the above steps until all of your brackets are attached.

6. Place the painted shelves on the brackets and use the screws that came with the brackets to attach the shelves to the brackets from the underside.

DIY closet basement shelves

Related Reading: 30+ Epic Shelving Ideas for Any Home Decor Style

Wood shelving in cinderblock closet

We cannot wait to organize this craft room closet with supplies to inspire creativity in our children. We will post soon what this finished and organized closet will look like.

So make sure to come back and see the finished homeschool room and craft closet. We just finished the floating desk in this room! We hope to give you a tour soon!

DIY craft closet makeover

From drab to a very useful space, we are happy this DIY basement closet shelving project was such a success!

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