• Tutorial Team
  • Broken Arrow, OK

In-the-wall Shelves for a Tiny Half Bath

4 Materials
1 Day

Our half bath is by far the most used bathroom in our house, mostly by our young children and anyone who comes to visit. When we moved in, it had a pedestal sink and one small cabinet above the toilet. Although the cabinet offered a little storage, it also made the room seem even smaller and kept the area around the toilet in shadow. So, it had to come down.

in the wall shelves for a tiny half bath

We switched out the pedestal sink for a small vanity, but I still wanted to add some shelves that would keep the room open and not block any light. (Please ignore the mess... I didn’t take a before photo, so I was already removing the popcorn ceiling when this photo was taken.)

in the wall shelves for a tiny half bath

I found this picture on Pinterest and loved the idea, but being our half bath, we didn’t need all the hooks or space for large towels. Instead, I came up with a smaller version to suit our needs.

in the wall shelves for a tiny half bath

First, I found the studs and decided the location and size, then cut out the drywall. Our stairs are on the other side of this wall, which is why there is a diagonal 2x4 there. I also found the electrical wire that runs to the light under the stairs, so be extra careful when cutting into your walls! You never know what you might find!

in the wall shelves for a tiny half bath

Here is the view from the hallway. I was also skim coating the walls to cover the knockdown texture, and adding beadboard to the bottom section.

in the wall shelves for a tiny half bath

Sorry, I don’t have photos of making the box and putting it together.

We made the frame for the box from 1x6 boards, and cut notches in the top and bottom boards to fit around the existing stud. *Make sure you test fit everything before you continue so the notches are tight, but you can still take the box out.*

Then we cut two pieces of left over beadboard to fit at the back on either side of the stud. So far all of our screws were to the outside of the box where they will not be seen. Test fit again, and measure for your shelves.

in the wall shelves for a tiny half bath

To make the middle shelves, we cut a 1x4 to fit between the frame and either side of the stud. (You could also use a 1x6 here if you have some left over from your frame. We were using left over boards from other projects.) We removed the box from the wall and attached screws from the side frame into the outside ends of the shelf, then put the box back in the wall and used pocket holes to attach the middle section to the stud. For the finishing touches, we put trim around the edges, filled and sanded the pocket holes, caulked around all seams, and painted with a glossy trim paint.

in the wall shelves for a tiny half bath

After the paint dries, you can enjoy a shelf that doesn’t take any space away from the room!

We already had most of the supplies, so I don’t know how much this would cost from scratch. Probably around $15-$20.

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Martha Garay
    on Jul 24, 2018

    How can u know what is behind that wall

    I live in an appt. building co op

    • Amanda
      on Jul 24, 2018

      I used a stud finder to locate the studs, and it also beeped to let me know there was an electrical cord on the one side. They aren’t always accurate though, so cut carefully!

  • Donna Gilliard
    on Jul 24, 2018

    Where if any does the mirror go

    • Amanda
      on Jul 25, 2018

      The mirror is on the other side of the room. This was a blank wall in our bathroom.

  • Annie de Vona
    on Dec 28, 2018

    What power tools were used in this project?

Join the conversation

2 of 48 comments
  • Dfm
    on Aug 2, 2018

    my place came with a laundry chute, the problem is the chute was no where near the laundry. yup, I've got a storage cubby now. only "closet" in the bath.

  • Lovesunique
    on Aug 3, 2018

    Love bead board. Even though the shelves are narrow they are functional and don't take up room being recessed. There's always little stuff that needs a spot to sit on!

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