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Using Stair Treads as Shelves

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This post shares all about using stair treads as shelves, a cheap and easy idea for wooden open shelving anywhere in your home!

Using Stair Treads as Shelves: Cheap Open Shelving

Hellooooo second week of the $100 Room Challenge! If you’re just joining me, I’m tackling my tiny laundry nook and making it pretty and functional for $100 or less. You can see my first update about the space, which shares plans, budget allocations, and before and painting pics here.

And thanks to Erin at Lemons, Lavender, and Laundry for hosting this challenge again and giving us all a kick in the butt to get a space done on a tight budget!

So here’s where we left off last week. I pulled down the wire shelving, patched the drywall, and painted the walls and ceiling using Sherwin-Williams Extra White in Eggshell. I had some left over from painting our bedroom, so I decided to go with that.

tiny laundry nook makeover
tiny laundry nook makeover

Cheap Open Shelving Ideas

This week I’m chatting about how I’m putting this space back together and making it a big more functional using some open shelving! As a reminder, we had one 6-foot wire shelf mounted in the space:

I wanted to reconfigure the shelving to maximize the storage space and also make it prettier. To do so, I mixed light pine with black shelving brackets to put up three new shelves: one 6-foot shelf at the top of the space for items we don’t use very often and then two 3-foot shelves that we can easily reach for things like detergent, extra towels, etc.

However, while I was walking through Lowe’s browsing my options, I wandered into the aisle that had unfinished pine stair treads. They were much cheaper than the pieces of pine I already had in my cart, but they looked a little rough. I took a chance on them thinking I could polish them up nicely and came home with them.


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And here’s my DIY using stair treads as shelves.

(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 cut down the two 4-foot stair treads/risers to 3 feet each. I cut about an inch off of the 6-foot whitewood board so that it would fit comfortably from wall to wall in the closet.

tiny laundry nook makeover

Step 2: Since these weren’t exactly top-shelf pieces, I grabbed my orbital sander and gave each piece a good sanding. I focused a lot on the edges, too, since they were rough and splintery.

Step 3: After wiping the dust off of the pieces, I stained them using Minwax wood stain in Natural and Minwax polyurethane in semigloss. I was a little worried at how yellowish the stain seemed to be taking, but they ended up looking great with the black brackets and white wall!

Here are our two assistants helping out with the hanging process. So nosy!

Open Shelving Using Stair Treads
Open Shelving Using Stair Treads

Here are the final shelves mounted (minus the tippy-top 6-foot one…we hadn’t mounted that one yet). Don’t they look awesome?! And for a fraction of the price of what we would have paid to top-shelf pine lumber or pre-made shelving.

I used two of the bigger Ekby brackets for the stair tread and two of the smaller ones for the stair riser since it was a bit narrower.

Open Shelving Using Stair Treads
Open Shelving Using Stair Treads
Open Shelving Using Stair Treads

Next week I’ll be back to share another DIY to store my ironing supplies. Until then…

And here’s my to-do list with a predicted/actual budget for each:

  • Remove wire shelving and bring to ReStore ($0)
  • Patch drywall ($0)
  • Paint walls and ceiling ($0)
  • DIY shelving—cut, stain, finish, and mount (Actual cost: $26.69 for lumber, $27.56 for brackets)
  • Iron board/iron hanger ($10)
  • DIY drying rack for sweaters/delicates ($30)
  • Misc room in the budget ($10)

Total money spent: $54.25

Share my DIY using stair treads as shelves on Pinterest!

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Wednesday 15th of March 2017

This is so smart I'm definitely tucking {pinning} this nugget away for a future project. Your cats are too cute, my cat is always around when I'm working. I call her the project manager LOL.

Brittany Goldwyn

Wednesday 15th of March 2017

Yes! I call them the apprentices. Although they usually cause more harm than good. Good thing they are cute. :)

Ashley ~ 3 Little Greenwoods

Sunday 12th of March 2017

Oh these shelves look SO much better than the original! Great job making it budget friendly. I can't wait to see how your laundry room comes together!

Erin @ Lemons, Lavender, & Laundry

Sunday 12th of March 2017

Brittany!!! The shelves look gorgeous! Love how the cats are making sure you're doing everything right :)

Stacy Zlotnick

Sunday 12th of March 2017

What made you buy one stair tread and one riser? It seems like you would want two of the same.

Thanks, Stacy

Brittany Goldwyn

Sunday 12th of March 2017

Hey Stacy! One is a bit wider than the other, and I wanted to use the wider one for the bottom shelf to store big jugs of laundry detergent. :)

Sue Purdy

Saturday 11th of March 2017

This DIY shelving is amazing, and I'm loving how your laundry nook is coming together. Can't wait to see the whole space pulled together. You have a fabulous style.

Brittany Goldwyn

Saturday 11th of March 2017

Thank you Sue <3