I'm hoping to add shelf of sorts above my sink between the existing cabinets. I'm in a rental, and I don't want to do any damage to the cabinets, so that rules out any nails or drilling in order to anchor it. Here's a quick sketch (the back wall is tiled, no window there):

quick drawing of the cabinets, with a red line where I'd like to add the shelf

The idea I currently have for mounting is using a long U-shaped metal piece that can slide on the bottom of the cabinets, and attaching the wood to that. Like this under-cabinet hook, except without the hooks (and with a hole for screwing the wood) I have no idea what to search for to find something like that though - most of the u-shaped brackets I'm seeing aren't long enough.

example image of the under-cabinet hooks mentioned above

A C clamp might work in the front as well if it's thin enough, but it also would only be able to attach to the front of the shelf so I'm not sure if it's the solution I need.

The end goal is for it to be a rack so I can use it for dish-drying instead of having something that takes up counter space. I'm thinking it'll be made of wood because that would look nicer, so I'll probably use thin boards in front and back with dowels between - or something along those lines (might need side pieces as well for stability). If there's a better option that's cheaper or is more secure I'm not 100% set on wood. Open to all creative solutions or different arrangements as well (Like using the top cupboards for extra support somehow)

Any input or thoughts would be much appreciated - I'm all for weird and creative out of the box solutions with my projects!

Edit: Dimensions requested:

  • from the wall to the front of the cabinets is 11in.
  • bottom of cabinets are 5/8in thick
  • vertical space from the bottom of lower cabinets to bottom of upper cabinets is 10in
  • lower cabinets to the counter is 19in
  • horizontal area between the cabinets is 28in

I'm hoping I could build it in a way that could be flexible enough to use in another space for whenever I end up in a different apartment. An over the sink dishrack as suggested that sits on legs on the counter would work for my purpose, I just think it doesn't look as nice for my aesthetic, so trying to brainstorm a solution that looks nicer to me.

  • How about some dimensions
    – Traveler
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 18:22
  • The no nails/screws/drilling does cancel a lot of ways. Dishes/glasses then to be heavy enough that screws/nails are almost needed for enough support, if you do not use a self standing set up. I did not even know of them two weeks ago, but do agree finding one that matches what you want is the main thing.
    – crip659
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 19:27
  • @crip659 it definitely makes it more complicated! I appreciate the suggestion - if I can't make something better work I'll probably just get an over sink dish rack. I wonder if there's a way I can combine the two designs - attaching the front of the rack/shelf to the bottom of the cupboards with some sort of clamp, and the back having a support down to the counter by the wall to get its support from below. Something that would anchor the back up diagonally to the front of the top cabinets could be an option too maybe
    – Ken
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 19:40
  • Can you add a pic showing the bottom of the upper cabinet?
    – Huesmann
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 13:41

2 Answers 2


I would not try to strap the shelf like you have planned. That's likely to sag and rattle. It also won't look great suspended below.

I might install simple cleats on the sides of the cabinets near the bottom with which to support a shelf or dowels. 3M Command™ products would secure the cleats well and would be removable. Use a few extra for added security--say four per cleat.


|    | ___________________________________
|    ||
|    ||  3/4" shelf
|    ||________________________________
|    | __ 
|    ||  |
|    ||  |<-- 1/2" x 1" cleat
|    ||  |
  ^-- cabinet side

Door stop molding would work well as a cleat and is readily available. Look for a version without a recess in the back so your attachment holds well.

enter image description here


If you go the route of dowels you could drill through the cleats, install them through the cleats, then mount the cleats.

  • Good point about sagging and rattling, I think you're right that the back wouldn't be supported enough just from the front. Cleats could definitely work, though I'm a bit unsure about using command strips, since it'll probably have to endure some amount of jostling with taking dishes in and out - and I definitely wouldn't want it falling down and breaking all the dishes that are up there at any point.
    – Ken
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 19:48
  • They are amazingly strong when used in their intended manner. A periodic load test would confirm viability.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 20:46

Maybe using adjustable spring tension rods? Something like these. Not sure about the strength. So, you might want to go easy on the amount of dish you put on there.

enter image description here


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