Build Your Own Playroom Floor-to-Ceiling Shelf


When we moved into our house about a year ago, I saw great potential in an ugly porch which had been converted into a bonus room. It was dark, had stained carpeting, and included some weird built-ins. But, what I saw were the beautiful big windows, loads of natural light, and a place for my kids to use their imaginations!

The first thing we did, before painting the whole room white, was remove all the awkward built-ins. Playrooms can have a lot going on with a variety of bright colors happening, so I wanted the walls to be simple and reflect as much light as possible! Next, we took out the carpet, and added an affordable snap-in engineered hardwood floor. Last, we created a built-in floor-to-ceiling shelf.


Built-in bookcases are an excellent way to add functional value to any room. They provide storage, add character, and look fantastic! Here is how you can make your own in 10 easy steps!


Step 1: Find a wall in your home that can fit an entire built-in bookcase.

Step 2: Hit the hardware store and gather all of your necessary supplies. This will vary depending on the size of the room, available wall area, number of shelves you want, and budget. Here is what we purchased for lumber:

  • (4)   1-ft x 8-ft x 3/4-in boards (or plywood cut to size)
  • (7)   1-ft x 6-ft x 3/4-in boards (or plywood cut to size)
  • (2)   1-in x 2-in x 8-ft trim boards
  • (12) 1-in x 2-in x 6-ft trim and shelf support boards
  • (1)   1-in x 4-in x 8-ft trim board

Step 3: Make the outside frame of a rectangular box. We used 4 1-ft x 8-ft boards (cut to length) for the verticals and 2 1-ft x 6-ft boards for the horizontals. Pre-drill pilot holes and attach the horizontals to the verticals using cabinet screws. In this case we created one large rectangular frame with center supports, but you could also create two individual boxes and attach them to each other during the installation—this decision depends on the size of your project and how you can best minimize lumber waste.

Step 4: After measuring where each shelf will be located, attach the 1-in x 2-in shelf support boards into the back of the wall, as well as the side of the rectangular frame (Step 3) using cabinet screws (drill pilot holes to prevent splitting).

Note: make sure you are attaching your shelf supports to solid wood and not just dry wall to ensure your bookshelf is structurally sound.

Step 5: Slide each shelf (1-ft x 6-ft boards cut to size; approximately 3-ft) into place on top of the shelf supports (Step 4). Repeat until all of the shelves are in place.

Step 6: Add trim to the outside edges to hide joints. Use 1-in x 2-in boards on outside edges and 1-in x 4-in board down center joint.

Step 7: Use a paintable caulk to fill in any gaps between the wall, ceiling, or shelves of the bookcase.

Step 8: Prime and paint the entire unit. Tip: priming and painting the wood prior to installation may be faster, but will require touch ups.

Step 9: Gather baskets, books, and toys to be displayed on the shelves.

Step 10: Style the bookcase, keeping in mind the accessibility of each item and the practical purpose of the shelf itself.

This room is now everyone’s favorite spot to hang out in the house! We added the bench, large pillows, poof, books, chair, string lights, and curtains to create a stylish and inviting space that is more than just a playroom. See more before and after photos of the room at Cloudy Day Gray! For more inspiration for playrooms like this, head to this Pinterest board!

1 Comment

  • Christine Baroch

    Oh my gosh, Kelly! I was searching for something like this, read through your great article, scrolled back up, and then saw it was you! I love this and want this for my house. I need you and Tyler to come do this for me… or talk me through it. This is exactly what I want. It looks great!


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