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DIY Above the Door Plant Shelf

This post shares my DIY above the door plant shelf as a solution to increase my space for plants and help to disguise a doorway without trim. I’m also sharing a few other updates we’ve made in the space, including replacing the bifold closet doors, painting the Tricorn Black accent wall, and added a mirror and refinished table.

Using a DIY above the door plant shelf to disguise an entry without trim

Hey all! Today I am sharing a DIY above the door plant shelf tutorial, but I’ll also be talking a bit about the work we’ve done in this space to modernize it. After all, the plant shelf was my solution to an empty-looking doorway that, because it leads to a hallway, didn’t have trim.

However, when you look at the trim-less opening next to the closet on the same wall, which has trim, it looked really weird. When we moved in, it wasn’t as evident because the hallway opening was covered with a rustic barn door. Here are a few pics of what things looked like with that barn door and the bi-fold closet doors.

empty room with gray walls and a barn door
empty room with gray walls and a barn door

Replacing the bifold closet doors & painting

Before the tutorial, please humor me with a bit of an explanation for why I decided to do this shelf. If you just want the tutorial, feel free to skip ahead! If you want more info about my home decor thought processes and decisions here, read on 🙂

The very first thing I did when we moved in was paint everything a muted white to get rid of the purpleish-gray. Then, when the bifold closet doors broke, we replaced those. After literally burning them in our fire pit.

After removing the barn door and patching all of the damage from its hardware, the area looked super bare. I knew I wanted to do some sort of statement wall here, so I decided to paint everything Tricorn Black by Sherwin-Williams. I have a post all about using Tricorn Black around our old house you can check out, too.

The other side of this space is our fireplace, which I also painted black last year. I thought this could also be a nice counterbalance to that large black feature. (And, as a bonus, the plant shelf will coordinate with the DIY mantel I made, too!)

bifold closet doors
burning our bifold closet doors
modern sliding coat closet doors
black paint swatch on a white wall
black paint cut in around the trim on a wall
color difference between the first and second coats of tricorn black

Finished painted wall…

And then somewhere between painting the whole wall black and putting up the above the door plant shelf, we also replaced the front door. I was loving the direction things were taking here—but you can see what I mean about the entry to the hallway.

I thought it could benefit from some trim to beef things up and balance things out with the hall closet opening. However, based on the shape of the entryway and the existing trim, I couldn’t decide on an easy trim solution for it.

Since it was a hallway-doorway and not a doorway-doorway, I decided to embrace the difference and make it look more intentional. The DIY above the door plant shelf was my way of doing this while hopefully distracting the eye from the lack of trim.

tricorn black entryway

So here’s what I used:

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And here’s how I made my DIY above the door plant shelf!

Always take the proper precautions and safety measures before working with any tools or materials. Wear safety equipment and work with a professional to complete projects when necessary. Read my full terms of use and disclosure for more. Happy making and stay safe!

Step 1: Cut the shelf to size

Our hallway opening was exactly 36 inches wide. So I decided to pick up a piece that was 48″ wide (4 feet) so that the shelf would extend a bit beyond the sides of the opening. I didn’t cut it down—just chopped the ends off to ensure things were perfectly square.

I’d toyed with the idea of making a very large shelf that maybe went the length of the wall. However, it’s a pretty long wall with no natural starting and stopping points other than the corners. So I decided this would look too much like the ceiling shelves we had in my house in the 90s. (Sorry mom.)

Oh—and although these brackets say they are 10″, they actually are designed for 1×10 lumber. The actual measurements of 1×10 lumber are 3/4″x9 1/4″…and this piece of wood fit perfectly on the brackets!

woman cutting a board with a saw
woman holding a piece of wood

Step 2: Sand, stain, and finish the board

Next I used fine-grit sandpaper to break down the edges of the board by hand. I also gently sanded all over the top and bottom of the shelf to prepare the board for staining.

Next I wiped the piece down with a dry cloth and stained the board. You can use wood conditioner if you’d like to, but I almost always skip this step. For this one, I brushed the first coat on using a chip brush. Then I buffed a second coat in using a rag to get a bit of a deeper color.

Once this was dry, I put on two coats of satin polyurethane, sanding lightly between the first and second coats. This helps to pop air bubbles from the first coat and give you a smooth, even finish.

For more on staining and finishing wood, check out my post about How to Stain and Seal Wood. It’s a pretty easy process once you do it once or twice!

sanding the shelf
sanding the shelf
staining the DIY plant shelf
staining the DIY plant shelf
staining the DIY plant shelf
board for the DIY above the door plant shelf

Step 3: Mount the brackets

Once my shelf was dry, it was time to mount the brackets. I got super lucky in that I was able to screw them directly into 2x4s behind the wall. If you cannot screw your shelving into something solid like the door frame or a stud, you’ll need to use drywall anchors.

Make sure to use anchors that are rated for the estimated weight of your shelf and plants. Follow the instructions on the packaging based on the type of walls you have and the type of anchor you’re using. If you can drill into a stud and avoid anchors, this is always my first choice!

After adding the shelving brackets, I popping my wooden shelf on. I did not screw it into place on the bottom of the brackets, but there are holes in these brackets if you’d like to.

black wall and step stool
black shelving bracket
shelving brackets mounted above the door
DIY above the door plant shelf

And here’s my finished DIY above the door plant shelf!

Isn’t it lovely? I think it does a great job of bringing some life and interest to the area! We added a 36″ round gold mirror between the hallway and the coat closet.

I also have decided to leave that little table up here for now. I originally got this for my post about How to Refinish Wood Furniture and put it here as extra table space for my daughter’s birthday.

However, with the leaves dropped, I actually think it’s really nice here. It’s pretty narrow and gives us another space to drop stuff on when we’re coming in the door. Plus I used the same stain color on the shelf, so they look lovely together.

I’m really happy with this area as it is now! I still have to finish off the other side of this wall, which is behind me in these pics. I want to build a piece of furniture for this area, so more to come on that.

DIY above the door plant shelf
DIY above the door plant shelf
black wall, round mirror, and a small table in an entryway
DIY above the door plant shelf

Pin my DIY above the door plant shelf!

collage that says above the door plant shelving with images of the room
beautiful entryway with plants above a door and text that says DIY above the door plant shelf
Brittany Goldwyn
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