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.
building a recessed shelving unit
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.
building a recessed shelving unit
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.
building a recessed shelving unit
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. 
building a recessed shelving unit
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.
building a recessed shelving unit
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.
building a recessed shelving unit
Then my honey added the 1 x 3 rough cedar trim which I stained to match the existing beams and trim already present.
building a recessed shelving unit
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?! :)
building a recessed shelving unit
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! :)
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Lisas Rexstar
    on Aug 24, 2018

    It looked as though you had 2 A/C vents above the mantle. Did you do anything about that, or are they just sitting behind the TV? Will that harm your nice TV?

    • DeeDee
      on Aug 24, 2018

      Hi Lisas! Hi Liz! If you notice in the last picture, they are right at the bottom of the TV now. Those are vents for the fireplace. We don't ever use the fireplace to the extent that the heat from these vents would become an issue for the TV. My husband monitors it very close each time we use the fireplace and so far its not become a problem for us. Its been 7 years now and we've had no problems so far. :)

  • Why did you cover up the electric plug in the shelf unit?

    • DeeDee
      on Aug 24, 2018

      Hi Deborah! We didn't cover it up, my husband just moved it to the other side of the wall. Now all the wiring and cords are inside of the tiny closet and out of sight! :)

  • Ksi33424488
    7 days ago

    Why is your sofa positioned against the wall? Shouldn’t it be placed so that people sitting on it could enjoy a roaring fire and/or the TV?

    • DeeDee
      7 days ago

      Hi there! The room is very narrow. The sofa can only be along one of the side walls. If we put the sofa facing the TV/fireplace, we'd have to climb over it to get through the room. :)

Join the conversation

4 of 41 comments
  • Val
    on Aug 26, 2018

    You did a fantastic updating to this room, it looks so much better now. My biggest issue is all the darned cables and wires with all the gear that goes with the TV. You hid your so nicely!

    • DeeDee
      on Aug 27, 2018

      Thanks so much for that sweet comment Val! :)

  • Any time you remove a wall stud, a header should be placed across the top of the opening. This maintains the structural integrity of the wall. Hope you thought of this.

    • DeeDee
      on Aug 29, 2018

      Hi Gerilyn 'n' Doug Barton, Yes we did, thank you! :)

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