How to Fit a Cupboard Shelf

In recent years it’s become increasing popular to have bedroom wardrobes and cupboards fitted to the full height and width of your room. Not only does this mean you end up with enough storage space to hide away your treasured possessions, clothing and the junk that would have previously accumulated on top of the wardrobe, but it also means there’s no top surface for dust to settle and you to clean!


Without a well-planned solution floor to ceiling cupboards do however inevitably provide too much open storage and more often than not there will be need to add further shelving within the cupboards to allow for your possessions to be stored tidily.


Additional shelving can be added to your cupboards in several ways and one of the most simple yet not the most effective or recommended is to use plastic shelving blocks that will stand up upon assembly within the open space. These however can be difficult to align inside the cupboards open space and can so easily become unstable with weight and end up falling out upon opening the doors.


The best solution hwoever is to fit shelving using support battens attached to insides of the cupboard on both the right and left sides along with the back if possible. Although this method isn’t quite as quick and easy as plastic shelving it will provide a solid shelf that will no-doubt outlive the cupboard or at least last for years to come.


First you will need to remove the wardrobe or cupboard doors for ease of access and to avoid damage to the doors and hinges.


Next, using a tape measure take the internal dimensions including the depth (front to back) on both left and right sides and width at the front and back. Note these on a sketched diagram and then double check all measurements.


Once you have accurate measurements noted, take these to your local hardware store and ask them to cut your chosen shelving board and support battens to the sizes required (as per your measurements).


Having arrived back home the next step will be to pre-drill pilot holes in the battens using a 3mm drill bit. Drill the pilot holes at either end and in the middle, for battens that measure over a metre it is recommended that fixing holes are drilled with a maximum spacing of 25cm between each, which will give the shelving added strength.


Next measure and mark the height of where you would like to position the shelf, do this from either the top or bottom of the cupboard on both the right and left sides along with the back if fitting a back batten. Remember to take the thickness of the support battens and shelving board into consideration when deciding on the final height in which you want the shelf to be positioned.


Attach the first batten through the middle pre-drilled pilot hole only, using an appropriate sized woodscrew that will not penetrate the external side of the cupboard. Once the middle screw is in place and holding the batten, use a spirit level to get the batten level before drawing an alignment line using a pencil. Now that you have the batten level, screw the remaining fixing screws through the batten and into the internal side of the cupboard. Repeat this step until all supports are securely fixed to the sides and back.


Next place the shelving board on top of the support battens and check its level, it should also be a good fit if the measurements were taken accurately and that the circular saw operator at the hardware store wasn’t drunk when cutting the board to size!


Once the shelving board is in place, you can choose whether you screw it down to the battens or start loading it up with your most treasured possessions and junk!


The final step is to refit the cupboard doors and check that they open and close as before the additional shelf was fitted.


While you’re at it you may decide to update your cupboard handles, read our 8 tips on choosing cupboard handles.