Floating Terra Cotta Pot Shelf Bathroom Organization

16 Materials
2 Hours

Do you find yourself having a cluttered space in the mornings when you're getting ready for the day? This project is perfect for you--it will allow you to organize your sink/vanity area, so mornings are a breeze for to get ready! My sister-in-law, Brianna, needed an organization overhaul for the vanity in her bathroom and this cute floating shelf solved her problem while adding a touch of decor to her space. We want to help you DIY, so some of the materials in this post are linked to sellers. Just so you know, Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

BEFORE: Bree didn't have any shelving around her vanity to hold her beauty essentials, so her vanity ended up looking busy and cluttered.


Click HERE to get all the materials listed below!

  • 5/4x8' common board (If your hardware store has something shorter than 8' feel free to grab that! Unfortunately, the only length available at my Home Depot was 8'.
  • 3 (4") terra cotta pots
  • Dewalt 20v max drill
  • 2 1/2" TimberLOK screw
  • 3/4" paddle bit -3/16" drill bit
  • 3 5/8" hole saw
  • countersink drill bit
  • Dewalt Right Angle Attachment
  • Measuring tape
  • Paint brush (There's a 2" brush in this photo but I ended up using a 1" angled trim brush.)
  • Behr Premium Plus Interior Semi
  • Gloss Enamel Ultra Pure White Paint & Primer in One
  • Not pictured: -fine grit sandpaper -Dewalt miter saw -Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior Satin Enamel Stain-Blocking Paint & Primer in One (color: French Colony) -Irwin Quick Grip clamps (optional but recommended)

STEP 1: Cut and sand wood First, I squared off the end of my board to ensure a nice, clean final piece of wood. Then, I measured in and marked at 15", and cut at my mark.

Next, I knocked off the edges with a piece of fine grit sandpaper. Make sure to get the edges good--once the entire shelf was finished and up on the wall, I realized I could have done a better job at sanding the edges smooth.

STEP 2: Measure and mark for holes Once my wood piece was cut and sanded, I found the half way point of the board and marked in from the left at 2 3/4" and also from the right at 2 3/4", then at 7 1/2" (the middle).

STEP 3: Clamp board to work surface (optional) This step is optional but highly recommended. I took two clamps and clamped the board to my work surface to ensure that it was stationary while I drilled the holes.

STEP 4: Drill holes for pots Finally, it was time to drill the holes for the terra cotta pots to fit into. I used a 3 3/8" hole saw attachment for my drill, ensuring that the drill bit on the inside of the hole saw was directly on my marks.

STEP 5: Paint shelf Once all three holes were created, I applied a coat of white paint to the board/shelf. I let that dry completely, then applied a second coat. Make sure to get all the nook and crannies of the wood, especially on the inside of the holes and the outer edges.

STEP 6: Drill hole for shelf and attach to wall Next, I made a starter hole for the screw that would mount the shelf to the wall. I did this by using a 3/4" paddle bit--this will create a divot that will allow enough space to drill the screw into so that the screw isn't jutting out and restricting the middle terra cotta pot from sitting nicely in the hole. Do not go all the way through with the paddle bit--you only need to drill in about 1/4" or so.

After the divot was created on the inside of the middle hole, I took a 3/16" drill bit and pre-drilled a hole through the back of the shelf (make sure it's on the back side of the divot you created).

Next, I manually tightened the screw into the middle hole from the inside, just enough that my right angle attachment would be able to fit in order to mount the shelf to the wall.

Lastly, I used my right angle attachment to drive the screw into a stud in the wall by Bree's vanity mirror. I'm not sure how else to do this without a right angle attachment--that little gadget was a game changer!

Here is a final shot of the shelf with the terra cotta pots in it all nice and pretty. I know the shelf is a little closer to the shower than the vanity (not centered) but I was forced to mount the shelf this way because I had to mount it in a stud.

To go with Bree's bathroom colors, I decided to paint the outside of the pots with a pretty blue/grey color I had on hand for another project--the color is called "French Colony" and I think it really tied the shelf organization shelf with the rest of the bathroom. Now Brianna has a cute little place to store her beauty essentials so that her vanity stays nice and clean, free of clutter. She can also easily remove the pots if need be.

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Click HERE to get all the materials listed below!

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Have a question about this project?

13 questions
  • Tina Clemons
    on Jan 22, 2017

    Why not just use the shelf space with the plant pots on top? Or no plant pots at all and put on a trim border to keep loose items from rolling off and make use of each available space? The addition is nice but I would have chosen just to add the shelf or maybe two shelves instead of just one. I.e. one for face and the other for hair items. That way it's organized according to use and frequency. Of course added toiletries of dental and hygeine items could be in another shelf and shampoos etc. with the hair items.

    • Lai1495549
      on Jan 22, 2017

      At his is so much cuter than a plain board shelf. Hair brushes etc would still look cluttered laying on the shelf as well.

    • Christina Yates
      on Jan 22, 2017

      I agree the pots are holding all the brushes safely, you don't want to be trying to catch brushes which roll off a shelf if you're on the clock in the morning and it's much more hygienic, plus if the pots just sit on a shelf the whole lot could be knocked off if you catch the contents on the edge. I think this is a good idea, I wish I had all those tools

    • Beth Kennedy Mitchell
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Great idea. Love the idea of drilling the holes so pots won't fall over. Would be cute w mason jars too. Thanks for sharing

    • Aus16636703
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Best example of going to pot ever seen : ) Gopher it !

    • Sonja P
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Pots won't fall off shelf and break. Or cause other things to be broken in the process.

    • Mickey
      on Jan 22, 2017

      I would add one more shelf to put everything left on the vanity top on the second shelf.

    • N. G. Londonderry
      on Jan 22, 2017

      I agree..without the pots safely tucked into their holes you'd just have a cluttered shelf. Things standing up in pots take up less space, too.

    • Louise
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Containers are so helpful in transforming a landscape of clutter to one of cared for serenity--my sister-in-law has been teaching me this over the years. Open decorative boxes, baskets, tote bags; they all help contain the odds and ends.

    • Maureen greene
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Might be cute to do 2 or 3 and stack them with a plant or two trailing among the storage. (To tidy up my vanity might take 5 or 6 -- lol)

    • Just figured the pots would be a different approach to having a floating shelf for de-cluttering. 😊

    • Tina Clemons
      on Jan 23, 2017

      I keep thinking the clay pots would be a little bit heavy, are there not plastic ones that aren't so heavy? I did say put a boarder trim around the shelf so as to keep things from rolling off. Like a little fence upright not below.

    • B. Enne
      on Nov 11, 2017

      All true...I also like the pop of colour under the shelf from the pots.

  • Bev darragh
    on Jan 22, 2017

    A divot is actually the sod or turf removed ,leaving a hole.

    • Zjl17505435
      on Jan 22, 2017

      When you take a club to hit your ball on the fairway, but also take a piece of the fairway aka divot.

    • Margaret E
      on Jan 22, 2017

      If you really need to be correct and technical, Bev darragh, she should be using a countersink bit, because she is "countersinking" the screw. She just may not have known the correct term for what she was doing.

    • Mimi
      on Jan 22, 2017

      To all of you posters who insist on being so "literal" in your responses: One day the shoe will be on the other foot. I hope you take the criticism well. Just for "grins" why not go check out synonyms.com and Power Thesaurus for synonyms? There are a number of them and they mean exactly what the crafter was trying to convey. Don't be so hard on a fellow crafter who has been kind enough to make the effort to share the details of her project with you. On other boards, that sort of behavior is called "trolling." You really didn't mean to do that, did you? ;o)

    • Louise
      on Jan 22, 2017

      "Divot" is a golf term but as with multitudes of other words in the American lexicon, especially sports terms, it can be applied to other areas of life, which usually lends added interest to the plain statement. I thought it did here!

    • Jan
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Really, some people have too much time on their hands. Who cares what she calls what, you know what she means and I for one think it's adorable.

    • Nancy landers
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Oh for the love of pete! The lady had a great idea! Kudos to her!

    • Teri
      on Jan 22, 2017

      "divot [ div-uht ] Main Entry: dimple Part of Speech: noun Definition: indentation Synonyms: cleft, concavity, dent, depression, divot, hollow, pit. " Our crafter actually did create a divot.

    • Dottiewilkie
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Very nice look. Great job!

    • Jo
      on Jan 22, 2017

      If you can't be polite and constructive in a positive way, be silent.

    • Mikkigirl
      on Jan 22, 2017

      A divot can also be "an interruption in an otherwise smooth contour", as in this case ! https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/divot

    • Cindy Wernicke
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Divot is not just a golf term, you can have a divot in a piece of wood, in your skin ( see Michael Douglas chin), as in a wall, I would think that a divot on the golf course is a relatively new term considering how many ways it can be used.

    • Vickie
      on Jan 22, 2017

      some people just have to get their 15 seconds of fame any way hey can. Pitty that poor soul for having such little self confidence that to make themselves feel better they must put down other people. Really. Thanks to you others that cleared the air so nicely.

    • Meem Kaplan
      on Jan 22, 2017

      She probably had an older sister like mine that corrected me all the time and my gut reaction is to correct people, too. I really try to stifle myself but it's all I can do to not correct the current "shiplap" trend when the Lap isn't there. It's just boards. I know. I just did it. Driving myself crazier than I am you, trust me. LOL! Everyone just needs to lighten up and enjoy the creativity! And the sharing!!

    • Gra10007308
      on Jan 22, 2017

      This is so cool I love it. .. I need this ..... I have so little space it's perfect.. . Thank You

    • Thanks everyone for all of your feedback and comments. At the end of the day, whether it's a divot or not, I hope the tutorial is easy to follow and people use their creativity to make a shelf for themselves. 😉

  • Karen Reilly
    on Jan 22, 2017

    Did you seal the inside of the pots so its easier to clean ? Did you put something in the bottom so things don't fall out?

    • Anonamouse5
      on Jan 22, 2017

      If it were mine, I would seal the inside with either a clear finish or paint in a desired color. I'd also cut a circle from the flat side of a milk jug to fit in the bottom, or from a thin wood. Or maybe make a tiny pillow to fit with fabric and batting, how cute. There are so many possible solutions! :)

    • Karen Reilly
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Isn't fun you get to comment on other's stuff, dream, imagine, give suggestions and you get lots of feedback. I was just thinking of herb garden on your wall. What do you think?

    • No I didn't do anything to the inside...I'm sure if my sister-in-law plans to put other things like makeup in them, she'll seal them with something.

    • 16999903
      on Sep 9, 2018

      Karen....great idea, but I would put an herb garden in the kitchen.

  • Jdprice
    on Jan 22, 2017

    Love this!! I'll have to work my way up, but I'd love to make this!

  • Angela
    on Jan 22, 2017

    Amazing. How did you cut the holes? Sorry my carpeting skills are 0 Thank you

    • Tiff
      on Jan 22, 2017

      See step 4. You use a drill attachment that actually is used for drilling door knob holes. This one says it's a 3 3/8 . Home Depot or Lowes will have this.

    • Paulette
      on Jan 23, 2017

      Hole saw kits usually come in a set of 4 or 5 sizes, so they are a really useful accessory for your power drill. They are pretty inexpensive, $10-15. You will find many uses for them.

    • I used a hole saw--you just attach the little round saw attachment to a drill.

  • Jenni
    on Jan 22, 2017

    Not a question but a comment - it's a great idea and the final results look fantastic - great job! I noticed your comment on how it doesn't look centered because you had to mount to a stud. As I looked at your pictures, I wondered if you could reposition the mirror, turning it a quarter so the width is horizontal instead of vertical. That would make the space more even. Let me know if you think that might work.

    • Elizabeth
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Could have mounted a flat board on the wall using available stud(s) and then mount you shelf to that board. Or you could mount a ledger board to studs and use to support your shelf.

    • I would imagine that could work but it's my sister-in-law's bathroom so I didn't want to start changing other things she had already set. 😉 Thanks for that suggestion!!

    • Florence
      on Jan 22, 2017

      Another comment about your cleaver de-clutter idea. Look at the finished picture. Then look at it again imagining the shelve centered perfectly. Isn't it more interesting a bit off to the left? An artist would paint it off center just not to be boring. It's a fine and useful idea. I have the same corner in my small bathroom but there is more space behind the mirror. Mine is not interesting a mirror, but behind some hidden hinges there's a cabinet that helps but I would still like to add your idea to the left of it just as you did. Maybe use one of the pots for a bit of greenery.

    • Rosel Kynast
      on Jan 22, 2017

      If that was my bathroom, I would not change a thing. The space between the mirror and the shelf could hold a little art project, even a narrow and longer picture appropriate for a bathroom would do. I would not move the mirror, that now centers the sink.

    • Helen
      on Jan 24, 2017

      I like it the way it is, as it fits perfectly if you count the edge of the counter.

    • 16999903
      on Sep 9, 2018

      Hi Jenni! I just wrote Courtney and told her the spacing is perfect. If you look at the right side of the shelf, it does overhang the counter top about an inch. The mirror is very decorative, and she created an invisible frame around the mirror. I think it is spaced where is should be. The shadows and light are also deceiving. In person it probably looks better than great!

  • Darla Simmons
    on Jan 23, 2017

    If you are going to paint it anyway why not use plastic? Reduces the weight, lowers the risk of breaking and it haseems to be easier to keep clean.

    • Susan
      on Jan 23, 2017

      I think the painted terra cotta pots just add a tough of class over plastic pots personally.

    • Kimberley Mouser
      on Jan 23, 2017

      Plastic pots (the terra cotta look alike ones) when painted properly would look just as good as the real things and as Darla Simmons says would be lighter and definitely easier to clean and keep hygienic (a must in a bathroom where germs can quickly breed and spread) a definite plus in my opinion. All in all great idea and job well done

    • I just knew the clay pots would be inexpensive and easy to find in the size I wanted them. Great idea though to use plastic for lighter weight! 👍🏻

    • Sherry Weatherly Hall
      on Jan 24, 2017

      One thing about using clay pots, you could place hot curling irons or flat irons in them with no worries!

    • Elizabeth
      on Jan 24, 2017

      I like Sherry's point..the terra cotta ensures that you can put away a hair dryer or curling iron -which is what I immediately thought of since those are my 'clutter'. :) Btw -very cool to know you do all these interesting projects in Mastic Beach...that's where a good friend lives (who did a lot of work on my own home here in Medford). I'm saving some of your ideas for him to continue his renovations here. :) I might ask him to do a second shelf beneath the first, deeper and for bigger pots since I have a bit more room in that spot. Nice job!

    • Small world Elizabeth!!

    • San1665880
      on Feb 17, 2017

      Great job! Terra Cotta pots are great!!!

    • Sam
      on Feb 18, 2017

      Any opportunity to cut down on plastic consumption is great!!

    • Janet N Yuki Shiraishi
      on Mar 28, 2017

      Re storage of flat irons and curling irons (and blow dryers, too): I picked up a very nice double shelf made of the same material as my dish drainer, but in metal (no paint) to place under my bathroom sink. I put these items on the top shelf for easy reach and stored other items on the 2nd shelf. Oh, I had a piece of cardboard that was the same size as the shelves and I covered them in aluminum foil. I have had this item for about 5 years! Works great and is within easy reach. I don't think these items would fit into the clay pots, unless you found "extra long" pots!

    • Angel
      on May 20, 2017

      Why dont people just add a vanity to another room? Idk why people HAVE to get ready in the bathroom??
    • Carol
      on Jun 5, 2017

      The sink. Water.
  • Gina
    on Jan 23, 2017

    What brand of paint has the color French Colony?

  • Shirley
    on Jan 24, 2017

    Just a comment looks good with the pots painted to gardenie not painted cute idea

  • Marie
    on Aug 19, 2017

    what is the blue liquid in the ovoo bottle on the sink?
  • Haley
    on Aug 27, 2017

    Is that one screw enough to hold the shelf onto the wall? Doesn't the shelf slide on one side if not carefully balanced
  • Krystal
    on Jul 15, 2018

    What color gray did you use on your walls, I love it.

  • Donado1017
    on Feb 23, 2019

    Great idea. Where did you find mirror?

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