Cull Lumber Transformed Into Shelves

Our basement is thiiiiiis close to being finished. Just a few more nooks and crannies to touch up with paint. But for all practical purposes, it’s done and we’ve moved in down there. We’re loving having a gym and a playroom, and we had our first overnight guests in the downstairs guest room last week, which worked great – lots of space for everyone. It’s been a long process (about a year and a half since we started construction in earnest, and about two years since we got our building permit) but we are thrilled with the results. Instead of a dingy concrete cave downstairs, we have a beautiful space that it perfectly suited to our family, since we designed it around our own needs.

Throughout the project, we’ve used a lot of secondhand and repurposed materials, which helped keep the total cost down. The little closet we built in the playroom this past weekend is a perfect example of low-cost building supplies, so I thought I’d share the details.

When we built the playroom, we made it technically conform as a bedroom, with a closet, because it has a window in it. But we didn’t want to just build a standard closet with a hanging rail, because the room is being used as a playroom.

Whenever we go to Home Depot (not as often now!), we check the cull bin to see if there’s anything we can use. Our Home Depot sells everything in the cull bin for 51 cents per item, so there are some great deals depending on what’s in the bin. I happened to find two big chunks of melamine-coated particle board recently, for 51 cents. Each chunk was about 3 feet by 4 feet, so I ended up with about 24 square feet for about a dollar. Then I snagged five cull 24 sections (they’re usually cut to about 4 feet), for a total of $2.55. Those melamine-coated boards and the 2x4s, along with a few pieces of trim that we already had, were all that we needed to create these playroom shelves:


I love it! The best part was the melamine coating on the shelves – no need to paint, and it’s a very durable finish that won’t get scratched. My husband built all of this yesterday, and it came together pretty quickly: cull 2x4s as shelf supports (and then I painted them before he put the shelves in), and melamine-coated boards placed on top and nailed down. The top shelf is actually two pieces, because he had to use the offcuts from the lower shelves to make the top shelf. We filled the crack in the middle with caulk and it works great. Once he got the shelves in place, he cut some little strips of white trim – that we already had in the garage – and glued/nailed them to the front of the shelves to cover up the rough particle board edges.

Not bad for $3.57 worth of supplies, huh? It’s not quite as inexpensive as the shelves we built in our pantry, but the white finish on these makes them a lot nicer to look at. The pantry has a door on it, but the playroom closet does not, so it’s nice to have nice clean white shelves in there.

Speaking of pantries, the latest Bundle of the Week is a great selection of books about real food – just the sort of thing I love to read, and I know a lot of you are fans too, so I wanted to let you know. Five ebooks for $7.40 – always a great deal!

Back to the playroom with one more picture I wanted to share. Just about everything you see on those shelves was second-hand, including all of the train stuff on the floor and the lower shelf. See the little house in the back left corner of the bottom shelf?


It’s the neatest little wooden house, and our son loves it. I found it in the décor section of a thrift store recently, for two dollars. It’s been getting a lot of action as a house for Sir Topham Hatt lately. The door wasn’t well attached when I found it, so we’re going to make some fabric hinges today and glue them on – our son is very much looking forward to that project, as he loves to fix things. But anyway, we all like that the shelves in the closet allow the toys to spread out a bit, instead of being piled into bins. Now all of the train structures are easy to spot and grab, with no need to dump out a bin full of stuff to find one thing. Many thanks to my awesome husband for building the shelves!

Hope you’re all having a fantastic Monday!

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