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DIY Industrial-Style Shelving & Storage

March 11, 20132 comments

It’s always fun to see what the creative, handy types can come up with next. Recently, I’ve been seeing more and more DIYers make some pretty awesome things for their home using only two of the most basic materials: plumbing pipe and hardwood.

These projects impress me for two reasons: their striking style and the variety of applications. What I like about the style is how unexpectedly well the contrast works. The hard, industrial quality of steel juxtaposes ever so nicely with the timeworn warmth of salvaged hardwood. In terms of application, many have been successful using these two materials to create an inspiring range of designs.

It’s the simplicity of the piping and the wood that makes them so amazingly versatile. Piping, for one, comes in range of colors and can be treated to find the desired appearance. Wood, on the other hand, can be used naturally and unfinished, stained to a specific tone, or even reclaimed from a previous use for that “found” look.

Industrial Plumbing Pipe Shelf from vintagepipedreams

The Original Industrial Plumbing Pipe Shelf from vintagepipedreams on

The first I saw of this trend was a simple, two-part shelving installation made by vintagepipedreams and sold on Etsy. Black metal piping was rusted, so each piece features a one-of-a-kind texture, and attached to small slabs of untreated walnut wood. If purchasers are lucky, the wood may even contain natural character, like knots and small holes. In the right setting, this shelving could be a striking conversation starter.

Industrial Style Shelving Unit from Houzz

Industrial Style Shelving Unit from

While the wall shelving was particularly small, others have dreamt up much larger ideas using wood and plumbing pipe. One example is this free-standing shelving unit. Whereas the piping in the first project was used more artfully, here it’s used simply for structural support. Nevertheless, the seemingly conflicting look of nature verses industrialization is still achieved. After filling it with vintage finds, these homeowners managed to add a unique and rustic storage piece to their kitchen. Visit for the supply list and directions for this project.

Plumbing Pipe and Hardwood DIY Table

Plumbing Pipe and Hardwood DIY Table from

Another designer commissioned an 8-foot table for her home. She needed a hard-working surface that could take a beating. Perhaps ironically, any beating the table could take would only add to its rustic style. In this piece, the boldness of the cast iron piping really is the star of the show. The cross-bar supports and extra fittings add subtle details to make this table the focal point of the room. If you’d like to see the design plans, they are available for download at Café Cartolina — click here to see the blog post.

Asymmetrical DIY Pipe and Wood Shelving Unit

DIY Pipe and Wood Shelving Unit from

Others have designed and built more permanent storage fixtures. I especially like this one for its asymmetrical design. Here, the DIYers opted for smaller piping and thinner planks of wood. This gives it a very minimalist feel. With the varying spaces between shelves, artwork has been placed on the wall to add extra depth and visual interest. You can read the supply list and brief directions for the project here.

What’s truly amazing about hardwood and plumbing piping projects like these is that the possibilities are endless. Really, if you can imagine it, you can create it.


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Showing 2 comments

  1. Rick Henning Reply

    I am curious if you’ve ever received requests for shelves for storage of LP’s?

    • August Drilling Reply

      Hi Rick,
      Our designers get a lot of questions, but I’m not sure about that one! I’m sure they’d be happy to discuss some ideas for storing LPs though. Here’s the number if you’re interested: 800.576.7930.

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