A Super-Easy Bookshelf You Can Build in an Afternoon

Build a Bookshelf Inspired by West Elm

I saw this and I was in love… I decided I would try my hand at creating plans to build a bookshelf inspired by West Elm! This is one of the first furniture plans I ever drew for Dbsc. I used one (yes, ONE) sheet of plywood, edge-banding and a few screws. Such a cheap build coming in at about $50…

Here is a photo of what my shelf looks like finished:

build a bookshelf inspired by West Elm Table

Tools & Materials Needed:

  • Table, Miter, Circular, or Jig Saw
  • Kreg Jig & 1-1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws
  • Drill
  • Tape Measure
  • Square
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Filler
  • Finishing Supplies

Cut List:

All pieces are cut from ¾” plywood and the grain should run parallel to the longest side except as noted–

  • 3 – 10” x 38” – Shelves
  • 1 – 6-1/2” x 9-1/4” – Upper Divider
  • 1 – 9-1/4” x 12-1/4” – Lower Divider * Grain will run parallel with 9-1/4” side
  • 1 – 6-1/2” x 29-3/4” – Upper Back
  • 1 – 12-1/4” x 29-3/4” – Lower Back


Cut all pieces as indicated. It would be a good idea to sand each piece after cutting and drilling the pocket holes because sanding after assembly may be difficult! Also, if you choose to use edge banding on the plywood edges, this would be a good time to apply that to all edges that will be exposed. I like to sand the edges really well and leave them exposed. Using the Kreg jig set for ¾” material and the Lower Divider, drill pocket holes along the 9-1/4” edges. Attach with 1-1/4” screws to one of the Shelves (this will be the lower shelf), 8-1/4” in from the edge. Make sure the front of the divider is even with the front of the lower shelf. This will allow for attaching the back.

build a bookshelf inspired by West Elm_Lower Divider

Drill pocket holes in the Lower Back piece on each of the 29-3/4” edges. Attach to the lower shelf and to the divider with the pocket holes facing out. See drawing.

build a bookshelf inspired by West Elm_Lower Back

Lay the middle shelf on this assembly and attach with 1-1/4” screws through the pocket holes on the back and divider pieces.

build a bookshelf inspired by West Elm_Middle Shelf

Drill pocket holes in the 9-1/4” edges of the Upper Divider and attach the divider 8-1/4” in from the edge of the middle shelf. Make sure the upper divider is placed opposite of the lower divider. See drawings.

build a bookshelf inspired by West Elm_Upper Divider

Drill pocket holes in the Upper Back along the 29-3/4” edges. Fasten to upper divider and middle shelf with 1-1/4” screws.

build a bookshelf inspired by West Elm_Upper Back

Lay the last 10” x 38” piece on top of the assembly and attach with 1-1/4” screws through the remaining pocket holes in the upper back. Finish as desired.

build a bookshelf inspired by West Elm_Top

I sanded and finished the pieces to my bookshelf before assembly. I use 80 grit sandpaper first, then 120, and finished with 220. This makes an ultra-smooth finish. I stained the shelf with Minwax Wood Stain in Special Walnut, then used Rust-Oleum Ultimate Wood Stain in Matte.

build a bookshelf inspired by west elm copy

The cool thing about the plans to build a bookshelf inspired by West Elm, is that two can be built, then they can be fitted together in an “L” shape! This is the perfect build for beginners. It comes together quickly which gives a feeling of satisfaction! Any questions? Let me know at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!

Originally posted 2012-05-14 08:00:22.

  • MommiFried

    Where do I place my order? Love it! Visiting from the SITS comment challenge! And pinning this!

    • CherTexter

      Lol! Thank you so much for stopping by – I really appreciate it!

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