Makeover - Scaffold Board Shelves

February 16, 2015

Yay back to a Makeover Monday, feels like I haven't done one of these in a while? Probably the thing that gets commented on most when I post photos of our kitchen are these scaffold board shelves and apologies to those of you who have been waiting for this post for a while! When planning our kitchen we hadn't really thought of what to do on the walls, we figured we'd get the kitchen in and sort that out later. We knew that we didn't want wall cupboards as it would make it feel dark and block the skylights above. We didn't have an alcove to start with until Ben built the extractor chimney, so once everything was in we realised that shelves were the answer. Decorative, functional and they are a feature without being too overpowering above the kitchen. 

We were going to look for standard oak floating shelves or find some fancy old brackets but decided that we wanted more of an industrial chic look and after making the dining table out of scaffold boards {post on that here} realised that we could just use scaffold boards instead. They're a fraction of the price of oak shelves and have much more character. I love the metal bands on either end. So, how to make your own scaffold board shelves:

Kitchen before the shelves and fake chimney alcove:

We found that it was better to buy old, reclaimed scaffold boards rather than new ones because they've got more character and tend to have better metal strips on the end. They're also cheaper. We got ours from a local wood recycling yard.

Ben removed the metal bands carefully, saving them for later and then roughly sanded the top and bottom with an electric sander to get them smooth {although you don't want them too smooth and remove all the character}. He then planed the sides/edges to get a straight, smooth edge and then cut to the size of our alcove.

The boards, after being sanded were light in colour so we stained the wood with yacht varnish which darkens it slightly, brings out the grain and protects the wood. The edge that had been planed was too pale so we dabbed on some wood stain in an antique oak colour.

The technical part: {I have no clue when it comes to DIY so Ben has dictated this to me, if you have any questions feel free to ask}

The illusion of the floating shelves, without visible brackets will only work in an alcove. To put up the shelves, the metal bands are screwed into the walls {behind and to the side of the shelves} and then a couple of little brackets should be fitted where the shelf is going to go. The shelf is then put in place and screwed through the front edge of the metal scaffold band and previously mentioned brackets. The photos might help to explain better:
{Shelves screwed into the walls via the metal bands. Screws to the left and the back of the shelves in this photo}
{Extra angled bracket is screwed into the wall behind first and then screwed into the top to keep the shelves level}

Once Ben had done his bit putting the shelves up, I got to do my fun bit and decide what I wanted to sit on them. Over the years I've collected various old, vintage kitchen bits and bobs. Cake stands, jelly moulds, weighting scales, stoneware jars etc from antique shops and markets. My Mum got us the B and R mugs as a housewarming present when we bought our first flat in London and the wooden Fresh Flowers Daily crate was from Kempton, The egg cups again were a present from my Mum, the old zinc loaf tins were from a market in California and the heart glass jars from TK Maxx.

 They're now a real focal point in the kitchen. I really love them.

And they're also good for helping with my seasonal kitchen displays for hanging baubles and bunting throughout the year...


Any questions, as always, feel free to comment on here or Instagram.

There will be another post on using scaffold boards at some stage for jewellery hooks.

R <3 xx

- you can find our whole kitchen makeover post here.

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  1. Brilliant, thanks so much Rebecca, really enjoyed reading your post.
    As always accompanied by beautiful photographs, xxx

  2. They look great! I also love how to use it to decorate seasonally :)

    Gemma x

  3. Rustic and elegant- the perfect mix for your lovely kitchen. You are lucky to have such a handy husband. Mine tires but isn't nearly as "successful" as yours! :)

  4. The shelves look fantastic! You must be thrilled with them. I also love the way you have styled them x

  5. Shelves are the main part of very kitchen, without shelves the kitchen would not be completed so the design of the shelves should be good and attractive. North London Scaffolding

  6. Surely the flimsy fixings mean that the shelves can't take much weight?

    You can get proper floating shelf brackets that stick out of the wall like pins, and with a matching hole bored in the shelves support the weight in a much safer way.

  7. The shelves look great. Did you use gloss or matt yacht varnish?

  8. Looks pretty great Rebecca! We are working right now with aluminum scaffolding and we are very happy with all the work we are doing

  9. Hi Rebecca! I know this is a while ago now, but I wonder if you can elaborate on how you've got them fixed to the walls? I'm taking on a similar project in our living room, but I may have to use two scaffold boards for extra depth of alcove. Any advice on fixing to walls would be much appreciated!


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