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Make a Raised Plate Shelf & Maximize Cabinet Space

Make a Raised Plate Shelf & Maximize Cabinet Space

You know what’s really annoying? Trying to get a big plate from the cabinet, but the cabinets are so small so the big plates have to go under the small plates, which are under the bowls. And when you try to gingerly slide a big plate out, but you make a bunch of noise, chip a dish, and probably knock over the bowls and small plates.

There are worse problems, I KNOW, but let’s not discredit how annoying this is. Bonus annoyance points if you live in an apartment with fixed cabinet shelving, meaning you can’t customize anything or install anything that makes better use of your space.

And then you go to Ikea. And you see this. $5.99! What a deal. But I remembered seeing this little spice shelf from Engineer Your Space and immediately thought, “I should make a raised plate shelf out of scrap wood!” I’m always looking for good scrap wood projects, and this was a great candidate. Plus the plate shelves at Ikea were too tall for our cabinets. 

I knew mine wouldn’t be as sleek looking as the Ikea version, but it would do the job. And besides, you’d only see it when you open the cabinets to get a plate. I could live with it.

Here’s what I used:

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And here’s how I did it.

(Remember to wear a mask and eye protection while sanding and working with wood, and wear an appropriate mask while working with paints, stains, and finishes. Follow the directions and warnings from your particular brand. Do not use any tools without proper training, precautions, and supervision from a professional. Read my full terms of use here.)

Step 1: First I measured the height, width, and depth of the cabinet. Then I decided where I wanted the plates and bowls to go–above or below the cabinet insert–and measured the heights, widths, and depths of each stack.

Once I had my measurements, I grabbed my wood scraps. I actually found a piece that was the perfect size for the shelf part, so I didn’t have to do any cutting.

For the legs, I took part of a leftover 2” x 2” x 6’ pine board and cut four 3” legs.

pieces of wood on the floor

Step 2: I gave everything a good, thorough sanding before attaching the legs. I attached the legs just as I attached the legs for my monitor stand: by gluing and applying pressure.

gluing legs on the bottom of a piece of wood
gluing legs on the bottom of a piece of wood
gluing legs on the bottom of a piece of wood

Step 3: Paint! I used Americana Decor Satin Enamels paint in Dove Beige. The paint is actually made specifically for cabinets, so I thought it’d be great for this project. I gave the piece two coats…

DIY Raised Plate Shelf to maximize cabinet space

and then popped it in the cabinet. Fits perfectly!

collage that says DIY raised cabinet shelf with pictures of the project

I’m really happy with this, both because it’s a great use for scrap wood and because it has helped us make our teeny cabinets a bit more functional. Hope this tutorial helps you free up some space in your cabinets!

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  1. Prilmer says:

    I love this idea and I could certainly use this in my cabinets. Thank you

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