Knock Down Dorm Shelves

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Project by SawdustTX posted 02-15-2013 05:55 AM 2440 views 2 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My son and a friend needed shelves for their dorms. I made two sets, one stained, one painted. it’s all 3/4 plywood, and they’ve held up well for 3 years. No sag even on the 6 foot long span over the beds.

The dorm policies made for a fun design challenge. The shelves could not in any way attach to walls or to the built in furniture. There was no available floor space, so one shelf had to sit on the desk, and the other had to straddle over the built in bed unit. As you can see by the pics, they would be heavily top loaded, so they had to be very stable while being totally freestanding. I also needed them to easily knock-down for transport to/from school, and be adjustable.

I ended up using steel legs so it could all bolt easily together with bolts and large wing nuts. Each pair of end legs is connected by 3 wood stretchers. One stretcher at the bottom that extends out in front of the legs for stability, then one stretcher for each shelf end.

Each shelf sits down on top of the stretchers, with the end rail of the shelf captured between the legs and a large tab on the back of the stretcher.

I added a power strip with extension cord on each, and ran rope lights inside the front two legs. The lower shelf has a small fan and reading light hanging over the bed.

3 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19709 posts in 2878 days

#1 posted 02-15-2013 11:51 AM

They look sturdy, functional and easy to transport & assmble. I would say you nailed this one one the head!!!
Well done!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2378 days

#2 posted 02-15-2013 07:11 PM

Great thinking and great build on that multifunctional and sturdy dorm shelves.

View Roger's profile


20952 posts in 3007 days

#3 posted 02-17-2013 02:21 PM

Ez up, Ez down. Nice idea

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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