Top loaders are tricky when it comes to storage, but adding a floating shelf just above can help you gain additional storage space and help hide the not so pretty parts that come with washing machines. This shelf uses minimal cuts and is an easy DIY that even beginners can tackle!
Top 3 tools that will make this project a snap!
While I’ve always been a bit jealous of the counter space that comes with top loaders, I don’t love dealing with drums and the smells that come with them. That’s why I’ve been a top loader convert for the last few years. #speenqueenforlife
And while hanging cabinets above a washer and dryer can be a great way to add storage, our odd shaped ceiling prevented us from being able to hang anything and have it look halfway normal.
I needed to find another way to add storage and use that wall space above our washer and dryer.
That’s where the floating shelf comes in. I wanted to make something custom that 1) fit the space 2) was narrow enough to still open and close the top loader lid and 3) was a place I could store & display laundry soap. Because really, it’s the little things in life.
After lots of research and combining a few ideas from across the web, here’s what I came up with:
Eek! I love it so much!
Now, one thing to note is that this shelf does not have a bottom, meaning the space inside the shelf is “open”. However, having this space free means more room for your hands to reach in under and adjust the hookups that are conveniently hidden in the shadow of the shelf.
If you are looking for an easy-to-build shelf for above your washer and dryer, then read on for the step by step guide.
DIY FLOATING SHELF FOR A TOP LOADER WASHING MACHINE
2×4 for internal support structure
1×8 pine board (select one that has few knots- this will be the top of your shelf)
1×6 pine board (again, look for one that has a nice grain pattern – this will be the front of your board and what you see when you look at the shelf)
Step 1: Measure and mark your space
Measure the space above the washing machine to determine the exact length of the shelf. Use a stud finder to find and mark all studs. I like to use a stud finder that identifies metal and electrical behind walls. This can help prevent you from drilling into something you REALLY don’t want to drill into.
Decide how high you would like to hang the shelf. I decided to hang my 2×4 just above the water hookups. This was the perfect height to cover the eyesore that is the space behind the washer and still allowed access to the water.
Step 2: Cut your boards
Use a miter saw or circular saw to cut your boards. You will need to cut your 2×4 support board, the shelf board and the front board all to the length of your desired shelf. My shelf was 61″ so all three were cut the same length.
Next, cut 3 support boards from the remaining wood on the 2×4. These will be the arms in the “E” you will create. The shelf board will sit directly on top of the “E” so the support boards plus the width of the 2×4 will need to be exactly the same as the width of your shelf board (in this case, I’m using a 1×8, so my width was about 7.5″ but make sure you measure for your specific board.)
Step 3: Build the internal structure and attach to the wall
Now that you have the parts to make your “E” you will use 3.5″ wood screws to attach the support arm to the 2×4. I pre-drilled holes from the 2×4 into the support arm and then used my impact driver to screw a 3.5″ wood screw into the support arm. I made sure to space my support arms so that they would not be covering a stud when attached to the wall.
After I had my “E” created, I placed it on the wall and made sure it was level. The floor in our laundry room is definitely NOT level, so I made sure the shelf was. Then, I used 3.5″ wood screws and my impact driver to screw through the back of the “E” and directly into the studs. I did two screws per stud and made sure I hit 3 studs. I can tell you this feels incredibly sturdy and it’s definitely not going anywhere!
Step 4: Stain the shelf and front board
I sanded each board first with 150 grit and then 220 grit paper. Then I applied pre-stain conditioner to all sides. For the stain, I really wanted something light, but I also wanted to tone down some of the yellow undertones in the pine, so I decided to go with Varathane White Wash stain. It looks beautiful in person and really shows off the wood. Cross your fingers that it doesn’t yellow over time!
For a top coat, I did 2 coats of Polycrylic in satin to make sure the shelves were protected and wipeable.
Step 5: Attach the top board and front board
Now for the fun part! Simply place the shelf board on top of your “E” and make sure it is lined up with the front of your support boards. Use a brad nailer to attach the shelf to the support arm. I did two nails into each support arm to make sure it didn’t move.
For the front, I placed the 1×6 board in front of the support structure and made sure the top was flush with the shelf. Again, I used the brad nailer to place two nails into each support arm. I also added two nails that went from the front of the shelf into the top shelf board.
And that’s it! Pretty great, right? I really like how the chunky shelf balances out the tall white Ikea cabinet on the left side of the dryer.
I’m so glad I decided to DIY this shelf. It is so much sturdier than anything I could have bought and it is the perfect perch for our glass laundry soap containers.
Our laundry room refresh is really shaping up and I’m loving how its coming together! Not only are we making the space more functional for our family but we are adding a ton of storage! I’ll be sharing some more updates and DIYs over the next few weeks so be sure to follow along on the blog and on Instagram!