full overlay cabinets
Better life

How to Add Shelves to a Cabinet

How to Add Shelves to a Cabinet

how to add shelves to a cabinet

Having a tall and wide cabinet is good. Because it’s spacious, you can put large things easily.

However, if you want to make the most out of your storage, consider installing changes. To be specific, you should add shelves. Doing so will allow you to store more things in it. In addition, it will be much more organized.

What makes shelves better is that it isn’t costly nor won’t it need a professional’s help. Today, we’re going to walk you through the simple steps on how to add shelves to a cabinet. Rest assured that by the end of the article, you can enjoy the benefits that come with a shelved cabinet.

Step 1: Prepare necessary materials.

The first step on how to add shelves to a cabinet is to prepare all the materials that you will need for the process. Here is a list that you can refer to:

  • Shelves
  • Shelving Pegs
  • Driller
  • Tape Measure or Ruler

You should take note of the sizes of the shelves, pegs, as well, as a driller. You should base them on the size of your current cabinet. To know the right size, know your cabinet’s measurements beforehand. Take its exact height and width. Moreover, determine the number of shelves that you want, and can, place.

Taking the said details into account will help you land on the right materials when buying them.

Step 2: Determine where you want your shelf to be.

Once you have bought and prepared the necessary materials, you can proceed to this next step. Here, you have to determine where you want your shelf to be. You can use one of the shelves as a guide for this task.

Basically, you have to know how high or low you want the shelves to be. In addition, take the shelves’ distance from each other into account. To do this effectively, consider the kind of things that you plan to place on your cabinet. For a rule of thumb: the bigger the items, the farther the shelves.

This step will rely mainly on your preference, so there is really no right or wrong place.

Step 3: Measure and mark desired shelf position on both sides of the cabinet.

After figuring out the shelf layout, you can head on to making the right measurements through a ruler.

Again, using a shelf as a guide, mark the position where you want them to be placed. All in all, you need four marks, two on each side. One pair of marks consists of where the shelf will end, and the other is for the front part. You can do this by simply using a pencil or a pen. You don’t have to worry about stains since the boards will cover them.

Note that the marks should be on both sides of the cabinet walls. Doing so will make it easier for you to make the shelves even.

This step, although simple, needs a lot of precision. One wrong measurement can lead you to redo the process all over again. If not, then you’ll end up with a faulty cabinet.

Step 4: Start drilling holes for pegs.

Now, you have to look at the marks that you’ve made on your cabinet. The next thing that you need to do is to start drilling the marks that you’ve made. The holes that you will end up with will be used in the next task.

When drilling, you have to consider the pegs. You should only drill up to the part that the pegs will reach. You can’t drill through the whole cabinet wall since, first, it will not look that pleasing, and second, it can cause structural issues.

Step 5: Install pegs.

The fifth step is probably the easiest out of the bunch. Here, you just need to install the pegs by inserting them into the drilled holes.

Step 6: Place the shelf.

If the pegs are fully functional, you can now head on to placing the shelf. Just place the board above the pegs, and you’re all done.

However, you may need to check if the pegs can support the shelf’s weight or if they are installed evenly. If you can’t find both of these qualities, then there may be issues in the pegs. If so, you may need to go back to step 5 and redo the task. On the other hand, if everything is fine, then you can proceed to the next tasks.

Step 7: Repeat the process until all shelves are done.

If you’re just going to place one shelf, then you can skip this task. However, if you’re going to add more than one, you simply need to repeat the whole process. To be specific, repeat steps 2 to 5 to add your additional shelves.

If you had no problems with the previous task, then you’ll have no trouble redoing them for the remaining shelves.

Step 8: Test out your improved cabinet.

You’re basically done with the task once you have placed all the needed shelves. The only thing left to do is to test its quality.

To test your cabinet, place random things on your cabinet’s new shelves. If the process is successful, then they shouldn’t fall down or even change position. Of course, this is unless you added a very heavy object. If not, then you should expect it to stay put.

If you didn’t encounter any issues, then you can now enjoy your newly improved shelved cabinet.


As long as you follow the steps above, you can expect that you’ll know how to add shelves to a cabinet. To further assure the quality of the process, take all the necessary factors into account. In particular, you can use this checklist before and after adding shelves:

  • Shelves are in the correct size (height and width).
  • The shelves are evenly placed.
  • The boards don’t bulge once you start placing things in the cabinet.
  • The holes and the pegs fit well with each other.

Note that the previous steps apply no matter the cabinet you’re using.

If you still find the task a hassle and want to save more time, you should directly buy either a cabinet with built-in shelves or more innovative ones. To be specific, you should check out a cabinet with pull-out baskets, detachable organizers, or a revolving basket.