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.

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.)

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

    • Melanie Grubbs
      on Jan 4, 2020

      if your home has been built since 1950 there should be plans on file with your city’s permitting office. There should also be plans of anything done for a renovation. That is, if a previous homeowner got the correct permits and had everything up to code.

  • 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?

    • Linda
      on Nov 20, 2019

      Very good idea.. I am showing this to my son for their tiny 1/2 bath. Thank you for sharing with us.

Join the conversation

2 of 75 comments
  • Joy Sheffield
    on Jan 7, 2020

    love this , have always wanted to try this , building storage in a wall between the studs. My bath room is small and the wall storage would be so useful, and it’s so beautiful.

  • Ella Frierson Bond
    on Feb 2, 2020

    I have done this. Good idea. I would not build on an exterior wall. You lose your insulation.

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