How to Build Storage Shelves for an Attic

Updated March 23, 2017

Attics are meant for storage, but few attics are built for it. They tend to be open, empty spaces where you stack boxes of belongings for later retrieval. By adding a set of storage shelves, you can greatly increase not only the available vertical storage space, but also how easy it is to organise what you store upstairs. Storage shelves make a good project for beginning woodworkers. The design is simple, and an out-of-the-way storage space means guests won't be privy to your early mistakes.

Locate a wall space in your attic where you want a storage shelf. Use a level and pencil to mark a level line across four wall studs.

Set one beam against the side of a wall stud. The 18-inch length of the beam should run perpendicular to the stud, with its upper edge even with your pencil line. Its rear end should abut the wall. Screw it in place using three 3-inch wood screws, driven through your beam and into the wall stud.

Repeat Step 3 on adjacent studs until you have a line of four beams, all level with each other.

Set your plank on top of the line of beams so that it overlaps the outermost beams evenly on each side. Attach it to the beams using two 1 1/2-inch wood screws per beam.

Repeat Steps 1 through 5 to build additional shelves.


These steps assume an unfinished attic with exposed wall studs. If your attic has finished walls, install storage shelves just as you would in any other room of the house.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 wooden beams, 2 inches by 6 inches by 18 inches
  • Power saw
  • Wooden plank, 1 inch by 18 inches by 72 inches
  • Wood screws, 3 inches long
  • Wood screws, 1 1 /2 inches long
  • Power drill with screwdriver bits
  • Level
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About the Author

Jake Wayne has written professionally for more than 12 years, including assignments in business writing, national magazines and book-length projects. He has a psychology degree from the University of Oregon and black belts in three martial arts.