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Over the Door Display Shelf Plans

Every door or window is an opportunity for a display shelf

above door shelfFamily Handyman

Build a display shelf over the door to show off your knick knacks, add storage space to a small room, or use it as a window shelf. As a bonus, if you increase the height and depth of the “box” that forms the core of each shelf, these shelves can double as valances for window curtains or blinds.

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Time
A full day
Complexity
Intermediate
Cost
$51–100

How to build a display shelf/window shelf

Photo 1: Build the core of the shelf

Build the three-sided 1×3 box so it fits over your door trim. The 1×6 shelf should overhang the ends the same amount as it does the front.

Photo 2: Install the crown molding

Cut and install the crown molding. Install the 3/4-in. cove molding along the edge of the top shelf, letting it protrude 1/4 in. upward to create a lip.

Your materials will vary based on the size of your window or door. There are a few key measurements to keep in mind as you customize this design to fit:

  • Make the inside of the box 1/8 in. longer than the door or window trim. That way, the box will easily fit over the trim.
  • The height of the box should be about the same as the width of the window or door trim (or you risk having the door hit the shelf when it opens). If this is doubling as a valance, the box can hang below the trim.
  • The top shelf should overhang the three edges (the front and the two sides) of the box equally so the crown molding fits symmetrically.

Crown molding comes in a variety of styles and widths (from 2-1/4 in. to 6 in. and larger.) Mock up a small section of shelf to determine the best size and proportion of molding for your project.

Mount the completed shelf to the wall above the window or door. In most cases you’ll be able to secure the shelf to the trim and framing along the sides and top of the opening. If not, use L-brackets mounted to the top of the shelf. Note: Use extra care if you mount this over an entry door (or one that your teenager slams a lot). Be sure all the displayed items are arranged securely behind the “lip” created by the cove molding.

Figure A: Display Shelf

Use this diagram to assemble your display shelf.

Required Tools for this above door or window shelf project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Brad nail gun
  • Cordless drill
  • Miter saw

Required Materials for this above door or window shelf project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • 1x6
  • Crown molding
  • Plywood: 1x3

Additional Information