Building a Recessed Shelving Unit

8 Materials
4 Hours

Our home is small and there wasn't really a designated area in the living room for the TV. The way the living room is laid out, you would think you'd need to put the TV area on one of the side walls. Well, to us that would have made the room even smaller, so we decided to hang the TV over the fireplace. Problem was, there wasn't anywhere for all the little black boxes to live.
Here's a blurry picture we snapped while touring our home before we bought it.  We knew right away that paneling had to go!  It was covering every wall in our tiny living area.
This is after we took all the ugly paneling down and my honey's Dad textured and painted the walls.  Ah, fresh and clean and no ugly paneling left now.  Also, still no storage for much at all either.
First we decided on the size that the shelving unit needed to be.  Our space allowed for 25 inches wide and 5' 7" tall.

This is a shot of the demo taking place to install the new unit.  FYI...cutting into dry wall with a power saw created LOTS of dust so wear a dust mask and be prepared to lots of cleaning up afterwards. 
Here you see the freshly built cabinet installed into the space which happens to butt up to a tiny little closet in my craft room. This little closet is what allowed us to add the shelving unit for some much needed organization.
Using brown paper and painter's tape, we taped it all off and used the same paint color as the walls to finish it out.  The paint color is called Thin Ice.  Its hard to tell in these pictures, but its a very light color of gray.  The completed cabinet is 5' 7" tall x 25" wide x 13" deep and is constructed from 3/4 inch plywood and screwed together with 1-1/2" wood screws.  The shelf cleats are 1 x 2s cut to fit and spaced about 10" apart except for the top one and its slightly smaller.
Then my honey added the 1 x 3 rough cedar trim which I stained to match the existing beams and trim already present.
Lastly, he added the trim on each shelf to hide the shelf cleats.  Perfect!  It helps us out tremendously and keeps all the little boxes neat and tidy!  He used his hole saw to drill holes in a few of the shelves and set it up to where all the electrical parts are accessible in the tiny closet in the other room.  The tiny closet also houses our internet network as well. Fancy huh?! :)
I can't tell you how proud I am to have my honey be able to create these awesome projects in our home, he's the best! :)

Here are two more projects we've done in this area:

Thanks for looking! :)
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

16 Ways to Maximize Storage And Organization In Your Home
20 Easy Concrete Projects You Absolutely CAN Do!
17 DIY Decor Ideas To Get The Party Started
15 Kitchen Updates Under $20
30 Unusual & Helpful Gardening Tips You'll Want To Know
16 Ways to Showcase Your Herb Garden
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
18 Adorable Container Garden Ideas To Copy This Spring
31 Amazing Furniture Flips You Have to See to Believe
17 DIY-Inspiring Kitchen Backsplashes
16 Creative Ways To Upcycle Pallets
15 Genius Curtain Ideas To Instantly Upgrade Your Space
16 Creative Ways To Upcycle Pallets
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home

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


Have a question about this project?

3 of 10 questions
  • Shannon Sargeant
    on Aug 24, 2019

    Great idea and great job. Congrates

  • Christine Sandow
    on Aug 24, 2019

    A truly beautiful addition to your room! I have a question about when cutting out the wall, is there a way to determine where the electrical wire is so your saw does not cut into it? I realize your plugin seems to be a no-brainer, but mine is positioned so that the wiring could be going any number of ways. Thank you for sharing your project and congrats on a job well done!

    • DeeDee
      on Aug 26, 2019

      Hi Christine! Like Julie said above, a stud finder with an electrical sensor would be good, but also if you're unsure of the wire location, you could use a long straight hand saw to cut the sheet rock instead of a power saw. Also, don't forget to turn off the electricity before starting! :)

  • Pampam
    on Aug 25, 2019

    I’m thinking that your shelving took away from the craft closet. What did you use for craft storage

    • DeeDee
      on Aug 26, 2019

      This closet is still used for storage and there is also another closet in the room as well. I also have a tall cabinet that I keep most of my stuff in. :)

Join the conversation

2 of 58 comments
  • Grandma D
    on Oct 13, 2019

    I really like this idea and your execution of it. Using the 1 x 2 on the sides to support the shelving seems to work quite well. I noticed you did not put 1 x 2 across the back and wonder how long of a shelf just the side supports will hold before noticeable warping. Thanks for sharing your beautiful idea with us.

  • DeeDee
    on Oct 14, 2019

    HI Grandma D! Thank you! Its been eight years since it was built and there are no signs of warping. The shelves are 3/4" plywood and we don't have anything heavy that sits on them, so maybe that's it. :)

Your comment...