Space-Saving Corner Shelves

Next time you're staring at the wall, wondering how best to organize your things, avert your gaze 45 degrees and take a look in the corner. A single shelf or several that fit into the corner of a room can open up a world of possibilities.

Space-Saving Corner Shelves

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2004


Tip: Choose a vertically symmetrical shape: A classic outline, such as the urn pictured, will suit a living room, while butterfly wings or the base of a rocket ship will cheer up a child's bedroom.


  • Inspiration image for table base

  • Brown kraft paper

  • Ruler

  • Pencil

  • 4 pieces 1/2-inch-thick plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF)

  • Jigsaw

  • String

  • Hand sander and sandpaper

  • Wood glue

  • Wood screws

  • Wood primer

  • Paint

  • Hand drill

  • 3 1-inch angle brackets


  1. To make the corner-shelf base, trace image (from a magazine or book) onto paper and enlarge it to desired size, or download and print out our template. When templates require enlargement beyond the capabilities of a photocopier or printer, use the grid method.

  2. Draw a grid on the inspiration image. Decide on the size of your urn base. Then, using a ruler, draw a grid that size on kraft paper, proportionate to the grid on the original, with the same number of squares. Finally, draw the outline of the urn in the corresponding squares on the grid.

  3. Cut out design, and fold it in half vertically; cut along the fold to create the two halves of the pattern. With a pencil, trace onto two pieces of 1/2-inch-thick plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF), making one side 1/2 inch wider on the inside edge. Cut out with a jigsaw.

  4. For the tabletop, compute its side lengths: the width of the top of the shorter part of the base plus 2 inches. On another piece of plywood or MDF, mark this length on both sides of one corner. For the curve, use a pencil tied to a string as a compass. Cut out the wedge with a jigsaw, and sand.

  5. Using wood glue and wood screws, attach base pieces together at a right angle.

  6. Prime and paint the base and top.

  7. If you have baseboard on your wall, cut two strips of plywood or MDF (that are as thick as the baseboard) so they're 2 inches shorter than the width of one side of the base. Drill two holes in each strip; using appropriate hardware, screw the strips into the wall horizontally just under where the base's top will be, so they'll be hidden. Screw the base into the strips and baseboard (if you don't have baseboard, attach directly to the wall).

  8. Glue the tabletop to the top of the base; secure it with three 1-inch angle brackets.


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