Built-in-the-Wall Shelving - Reclaiming Hidden Storage Space

$150
4 Hours
Medium

Our daughter's closet has a large, blank wall on one side. It was a perfect spot for some added storage and display shelving for her little collections.
built in the wall shelving reclaiming hidden storage space, bedroom ideas, closet, diy, shelving ideas, storage ideas, woodworking projects
Since this was was not a load bearing wall, I could carve into it without worrying about the roof caving in or adding a header. I sliced open and peeled off the drywall, creating the rough opening.
built in the wall shelving reclaiming hidden storage space, bedroom ideas, closet, diy, shelving ideas, storage ideas, woodworking projects
The studs got cut off with a oscillating multi-tool, below the edge of the drywall.
built in the wall shelving reclaiming hidden storage space, bedroom ideas, closet, diy, shelving ideas, storage ideas, woodworking projects
I wrapped the opening with 2x4s, just to replace some support within the wall. It got screwed into the remaining studs I'd cut off and ended up laying flush with the rough opening.
Assembled with pocket holes
Assembled with pocket holes
The basic shelving unit is a box, made from select pine 1x4s screwed together and backed with a piece of beadboard paneling. I made the whole thing a little to tight and had to persuade it into place with a rubber mallet.
The gentle persuader
The gentle persuader
I added a couple more horizontal 1x4s with pocket holes and screws for shelving.
built in the wall shelving reclaiming hidden storage space, bedroom ideas, closet, diy, shelving ideas, storage ideas, woodworking projects
A face frame constructed from 1x2s gave the unit a heavier, finished furniture / cabinet kid of look. It also strengthened the shelves and squared up any slight warping imperfections. It got attached with 2" finishing nails.
built in the wall shelving reclaiming hidden storage space, bedroom ideas, closet, diy, shelving ideas, storage ideas, woodworking projects
After some nail hole putty, I gave the unit a light sanding and slightly rounded the edges of the protruding wood. It would help keep the paint from chipping later and hopefully prevent injury if someone was to bump into it after tripping on kid stuff that will surely litter the floor of the closet in the future.
built in the wall shelving reclaiming hidden storage space, bedroom ideas, closet, diy, shelving ideas, storage ideas, woodworking projects
After some caulk and a couple good coats of primer, the piece is done. Waiting for final paint. It will get a gloss white finish. Our daughter is probably going to choose light blue walls as we complete the remodel. Here's a digital preview:
built in the wall shelving reclaiming hidden storage space, bedroom ideas, closet, diy, shelving ideas, storage ideas, woodworking projects
This can be a weekend, do-it-yourself project that's actually not that difficult to do. I've got a ton more step-by-step info on the blog with tools, techniques, and inspiration explained in more detail.

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John @ AZ DIY Guy

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Carrie Mannes
    on Sep 18, 2017

    I would like to know your thoughts on a costco full length mirror in a bathroom. I would like to have it open to use as a jewelry organizer into the stucco. What do you think as space is always at a premium in that room?
    • Mitzi Midkiff
      on Nov 9, 2018

      Yes, totally neat!!! I would LOVE to learn how to do such things! Sad that girls are not, were not, encouraged to take shop when in high school. I would have the coolest old farm house in these here parts!


  • CathyMarshall
    on Sep 28, 2017

    We like the shelf unit a lot. Question - how would the framing go if we just wanted to have it Between the vertical studs? So that no cutting of studs would be involved? Thanks. Cathy m
    • John @ AZ DIY Guy
      on Oct 7, 2017

      You can certainly do that! In fact, there's a link in my blog post to the project that inspired me by Cristina from Remodelando la Casa. She did exactly that. I think you can do it without any additional framing, just slide the unit between the studs. I wanted a wider unit, and I was working in a non-load bearing wall, but tall, narrow units work great too.
  • Rod
    on Jan 11, 2018

    Could this possibly be made with 1x6s? My 16-year-old daughter has a few SHOES?
    • John @ AZ DIY Guy
      on Jan 12, 2018

      I don't see why not. Depending on the thickness of the wall, it would likely protrude outward a couple inches. Cool idea!

Join the conversation

3 of 85 comments
  • Corky King
    on Jan 1, 2019

    Oh, you've got me thinking! I want to build a fold-down table gift wrapping station. It needs to be about 36" wide, and about 10" deep. Height of table legs @ 30", and table @ 30". I have no really convenient wall space, but I do have some space tucked behind a door in a spare bedroom. I've been trying to figure out a way to steal some space from between the studs, and this looks like I might be able to get about 3" or so, leaving my unit protruding only 7". That I can work with, but every time I try to explain it to my husband, he panics! These pictures will help him to visualize. I'll still probably have to hire a handyman to do the job, because I don't have the tools. Nice job!

    • Imdb
      on Jan 7, 2019

      Why not buy the tools? Check garage sales and pawn shops to start. Even a Harbor Freight will get you started on a collection.

  • Bubba
    on Jan 30, 2019

    Better make sure that wall is NOT load bearing before you start cutting out studs.

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