Built-in Kitchen Wall Shelves!

7 Materials
3 Days

I spent my winter vacation building these shelves into the wall of my little kitchen. It's a fun project if you're looking to upgrade your kitchen and have a couple days to burn.

DIY Built-In Kitchen Wall Shelves

Tools and Materials

  • Stud finder (Mine decided it was on vacation for this particular project)
  • Jigsaw
  • Mini craft saw
  • Cedar wood
  • Stain
  • Sandpaper
  • Plywood
  • Wax
  • Nail gun
  • Nails
Find Studs
Jigsaw a Hole to Find Studs

This is my lovely non-load-bearing "interior" kitchen wall. I jigsawed out a peephole to check where in the world my studs are hiding. My stud finder was acting bonkers on me.

Be extra cautious of wires in the wall!

Cut Along Studs
Cut Along Studs

Found you guys! The opposite side of this wall is your everyday drywall. The side you see is plywood. I used a jigsaw, a mini craft saw and all my patience to cut along the studs.

Add Molding
Add Molding

I cut a "molding" type pattern in the wall and used the scrap wood from the wall to cut more pieces. The trim is cedar wood I bought for the shelving.


I went with one coat of a black and brown mixture and then lightly sanded it for a distressed look.

Add Backing
Add Backing

I stained some thin grainy plywood for the back of the shelves and then waxed the whole thing with teak.

Add Shelves
Add Shelves

My wife had an idea of what she wanted on each shelf, so I measured accordingly.

DIY Kitchen Shelves
Fill with Whatever You Desire

Now its time to fill this bad boy up!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 19 questions
  • Bundy
    on Apr 2, 2020

    Are the shelves fixed or adjustable?

  • Mina
    on Apr 2, 2020

    No wires behind the drywall?... You were lucky.

    • Bryan's Workshop
      Bryan's Workshop
      on Apr 2, 2020

      Most electrical runs going horizontally are about 2 feet off the floor or very close to the ceiling. There are lots of reasons for this but one of the obvious ones is it limits the areas of concerns when drilling. I did a similar built-in project in my workshop. That wall has wiring and it wasn't a problem.

  • Darleen
    on Jun 7, 2020

    Do you think this can be done with lath and plaster walls? My house is over 100 years old.

    • Bryan's Workshop
      Bryan's Workshop
      on Jun 18, 2020

      Yes, but it's more difficult and a lot messier. You'll need to use a grinder to cut-out the area, be careful not to break the wall out, because cracks will radiate across the wall and up to the ceiling. You might have less room inside the wall depending on the other side. It's most likely plaster and lath too, so you'll need to be carful to not disturbed the plaster keys. You'll need to attach the back of the shelves to the studs. It's definitely more work and a lot messier, but it's doable.

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