Catch up on all the Suite Extension posts HERE.

One of the most common questions I received during my blogging absence was, “When are you going to come back and finally share your parent’s completed suite extension?”

The short answer is soon, however I must confess it’s still not entirely complete!

Although it’s been “finished” for a while, and is perfectly nice and livable, it’s not quite at the level I would like.

You see, after COVID lock-downs threw a big fat spanner in the initial works, the suite extension was hurriedly thrown together out of necessity in order to accommodate my sister’s family of five (for nine months!) during a renovation of their own home.

Add my recent three month trip on top and there hasn’t been much time to focus on finessing it.

Yes, I do realise most normal people would have had it done-and-dusted ages ago, but I guess that’s where I differ!

So it probably comes as little surprise that I actually started writing this blog post over two years ago! Yep, I checked the edit history.

One element I was committed to in the DIY kitchenette was some open shelving. Do you remember the (rough) original design concept?

Kitchenette Design

And my previous post where I’d already built and installed this shaker peg rail?

DIY Shaker Peg Rail
Shaker Peg Rail DIY
Yes, this shaker peg rail wasn’t shown in the original concept. I decided to add it for extra character and charm, and as a means of providing additional open storage.

I considered, and thoroughly researched (in my usual manner of over-thinking things), lots of options for the shelves. From basic pine planks from the local hardware store, to reclaimed timber from a salvage yard, to discarded wood sitting in the paddock behind my parent’s house (literally!) and even fancy custom made. They were all not quite right, tricky to source, difficult to work with and/or overly expensive.

And then I had an idea…

At the same time I was considering the suite extension shelves we were working on staging my late mother-in-law’s house. She had an old coffee table we didn’t need and nobody wanted. Hmmm, maybe I could repurpose it?

Table Before

It had a nice solid timber top which was thick enough to create shelves with substance, wide enough to divide into the two shelves I needed and long enough to span the overhead cabinet gap.


So…FREE floating shelves coming up!

TIP: Whilst I was lucky to already have this table, if you’re looking to create your own affordable floating shelves don’t hesitate to shop second-hand, scour the curb and check out online stores for your own adaptable furniture options. So much beautiful timber unnecessarily ends up in landfill.

The first thing I did was isolate the top. This meant removing the legs and apron. Which was easy enough though a little bit fiddly because there was a copious amount of glue and about two thousand nails!

Due to the fact my table top was curved and slanted at the perimeter, I also needed to square it up by trimming off the edges. Of course, if you’re working with a square-set table then you get to forgo this step. Yay you.

Trimming the Table Top

Once I had a nice rectangular slab, I cut two planks at the length I needed (to fit snuggly between the upper cabinets) and at the depth I wanted (which I decided was 25cm/10″).


Then I gave each plank a really good sand to remove the orange varnish and get right back to raw timber.

I realise this may look like a male’s hand but it’s truly mine – I’m just lucky to be blessed with prominent veins (thanks Dad) and the sawdust has helped accentuate my fair arm hair.

Here you can see what a difference the sanding made.

Sanding to Natural Wood

I’m not certain what type of timber it is though it’s really lovely. Nice and dense with a long subtle grain.

Shelves After Sanding

Under different circumstances I may have kept the shelves natural, though they were a tad yellow so I applied a warm slightly ashy stain to tone better with the oak flooring in the room. I’m sorry, though I can’t recall the name of the stain I used!

To float the shelves, rather than drill through the pressed tin backsplash, they are actually attached via the flanking cabinets (which are affixed to wall studs). Not only does this give them fantastic strength, it saves them from dipping at the front, which can be a common issue with floating shelves.

Of course, if you don’t have flanking cabinets to attach your floating shelves to they can be successfully affixed via the rear wall. Just ensure it’s done well.

I could have filled the shelves with lots of pretty decor, though given the kitchenette isn’t huge it makes sense for them to house mainly functional items such as crockery and glassware. This allows more cabinet space for groceries, and so on, when the suite is in practical use.

And whilst I certainly don’t expect them to always be super neat and tidy, choosing simple and neutral items makes it hard to go wrong from a cosmetic perspective.

Most of what I’ve included are basics from Kmart and Target, with my usual spattering of vintage finds for a bespoke feel on a budget.

I’ve seen quite a bit of talk in the past from people who are hesitant about installing floating shelving due to the expense. Hopefully this concept of repurposing a pre-loved item provides a basic DIY avenue which makes it attainable for everyone!

Catch up on all the Suite Extension posts HERE.