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Adding shelves to tall, narrow cabinet.

Posted by mwhidden (My Page) on
Fri, May 24, 13 at 10:46

I have a _completed_, built-in mudroom seat with surrounding cabinets and cubbies, very _similar_ in construction to the image below. The tall, narrow cabinet at the end has a door on it.

The sides are birch-veneer plywood about 13/16" thick.

The cabinet is 16" wide, 17" deep, and 56" tall.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to put some useful, attractive shelves in there?

I thought about just screwing some poplar ledgers into the plywood and placing a 16x17 board on top of that, but I'm not sure the plywood is thick enough to handle that, particularly on the right side.

There are smarter, more experienced folks on this list than me and I hope you might share your ideas.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Adding shelves to tall, narrow cabinet.

Bookcase standards, perhaps?

I have used bookcase standards in two storage areas of my house. I surface mounted them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bookcase standards

RE: Adding shelves to tall, narrow cabinet.

Your plywood is nearly an inch thick. That would stand up to small shelves easily.

But I really like graywings' idea. That would give you adjustable shelving, so you can change the shelves as your storage needs change.

RE: Adding shelves to tall, narrow cabinet.

Bookcase standards: seems like a perfect solution. Thank you, both graywings and camlan.

RE: Adding shelves to tall, narrow cabinet.

I like these--the ultimate in adjustability. AND you can get drawer slides that will work with them, so you can add pullouts easily.

These are the flat strips with slots in them every 1/2" or 3/4".

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You can get special drawer slides that let you install drawers. I think they're only 3/4 extension, which is a bummer, but it might make it easier to get to stuff in that deep, skinny cabinet.

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And it looks like this particular set might be too deep for the cabinet you have, but you might be able to find something a bit smaller.

Especially w/ the link below--there's a large set of Accuride slides that will work with the slots.

Often these slotted standards are installed in a groove that's cut into the wood, but you can absolutely simply mount them to the surface. Esp. w/ the drawer slides, you'd lose a bit horizontally.

But one reason I like these is that the pegs are very slim so you don't lose space the way you do w/ the triangular shaped drawer brackets.

Here is a link that might be useful: shelf support/drawer slide kit

easy, cheap

You can also get nail-in shelf supports.

They're surprisingly strong. You'd have to get out the level and the yardstick but it would be pretty simple. Probably a lot less work--no drilling, etc. Just find the 4 spots and nail them in place. If you were worried, you could do three across each side.

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Amazon sells them, as do many other places; do a Google search on "nail-in shelf supports." They come in brown, white, and metal.

RE: Adding shelves to tall, narrow cabinet.

You might also consider something other than shelves.

There's the semi-classic hooks for jackets and umbrellas.

But there's also pegboard on sides and back, which would let you put hooks, little shelves, and even little baskets in different places, and you can move them around.

It depends, sort of, on what sorts of items you want to store in there.

RE: Adding shelves to tall, narrow cabinet.

Thank you, tally_sue_nyc, for the great ideas and photos, too.

RE: Adding shelves to tall, narrow cabinet.

Oh, one other thought: narrow, deep spaces are hard to use; you end up w/ lots of stuff shoved to the back. (ask me how I know)

You might look into getting pull-out shelves/drawers.

There's a company called Shelves That Slide ( that makes them in custom sizes and has really great directions for installing them yourself.

But I'd suggest that you take a deep breath and **spend the extra money** to get full-extension slides. The functionality difference is absolutely worth $20.

Without sides, these shelves run about $35. Add in full-extension slides for $17, and it's about $60.

If you decide you want drawer sides, it'll be more money, of course.

The site has some preset sizes, but you might be able to get them to make some custom sizes if you need them.

Here is a link that might be useful: the selection at

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