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How to install shelves in odd-shaped spaces

Hello everyone,


Last week in my store, I assisted a customer with a great question. It was such a good project, I thought I'd pass the information along here.


The customer had a fairly large closet but with one problem, the back wall was very angled since it was against the roof of their house. The shape was essentially a trapezoid, where the bottom of the closet was much deeper than the top part, making it difficult if not impossible to install a closet system to hang clothes, the customer's intention. 


Lots of houses, newer and older, experience this....walls that are angled, sloped, or just plain odd shaped.

You'll see these kinds of forgotten areas in places like the little closet under the stairs, and even big master upstairs closets with sloped ceilings. To get the right shelving and storage systems, you have lots of options and choices,  so let's get started!


With any closet project, always...........


  • start off with getting the exact measurements for the width and height of your walls, to the nearest 1/4". 
  • Next, measure and record the size of your door(s), this will be important to get the shelves inside the closet effectively. 
  • Remember to consider any intrusions like moulding or electrical outlets that may get in your way. 
  • What do you want from your storage space? Determine about how much space you’ll need for different items and consider what types of accessories you need to organize them (rods, shelves, baskets, drawers).
  •  Last but not least, what kind of shelving system to you want to put in? laminate, wood, wire?


The customer I chatted with didn't have the exact measurements then and there, but I did get a rough idea of what they wanted. The closet was fairly large, about 8 feet wide, and it was a slight walk-in, and the customer wanted preferably wire shelving to store and hang clothes. They wanted the bottom to still have room enough for storage and I came up with a basic solution.


To actually hang clothes via wire shelving on a surface that won't have adequate back supports, you must have some sort of bracing in the middle and the back. In this particular instance, unless you made an actual brace for back clips and supports, wire shelving wouldn't work. Melamine or wood shelving is fine and then place clothes brackets, but you would still need back supports. No shelving systems we have in the store will work for angles other than 90 degrees. To get your 90 degree angle, building a wood frame or structure is crucial to support the weight of the shelves. To give further support, you can brace supports of the shelving from the top of the top frame to run to the back of the wall for added weight and strength as well.  So in the section below, you will see how you can overcome building a hanging shelf  on angled walls with a little know-how and planning.


If you know me, with any project, I always do a rough sketch or simple design on the computer. You can do this even before getting the measurements. Since they had a larger room to work with, I'll put some options for smaller and larger spaces. 



closet diagram (angled large).JPG




For smaller areas, like the closet underneath the stairways or just a small hallway closet without shelves but angled funny, you can take the same options as above, but reduce the material or simply install the shelves off the step backing. Just depending on what type of shelving you want to put in, remember that ventilated wire shelves require back clips and shelf supports for track systems that are 3 feet of wider. For solid wood shelves you can use simple shelf hangars set up shown in the image below....

closet diagram small.JPG


You may of noticed that one red shelf above was deeper than the one above, you can even do that without building a back wall and simply fasten the shelves to the back using metal plates with screw holes and place the brackets on the side walls to achieve a install as well.


Basically, there are lots of choices when it comes to shelving in how and what it is being installed on the walls.


One of our storage experts on the community, Ask_Mr_Jay , has made a great how-to guide for various types of shelving systems we have in our store. To view this great how-to guide and video click here!


To view and search basic shelf brackets and supports for solid shelving, our partner John Sterling, has great products for any and all storage needs. To view our webpage of their products, click here


Our partner in ventilated shelving, ClosetMaid, has a great how-to guide on their website regarding installation, creating more storage space, and other helpful hints that can be found here




That about wraps it up here, any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to ask us! Or even if you have built or found another storage solution in sloped walls or ceilings, let us know or even post pictures here on the community!


Have a great day,




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Posted 2011-09-03T17:45:04+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL Joseph_HD_ATL