How To Build Built In Shelves In Wall

Built-in shelves are a fantastic way to add more storage space to any room. You can buy them from retailers, or you can build them yourself. This is part of the DIY series of posts and videos on how to build it yourself that will save you time and money! Building your own built-in shelves can be a challenge but with some careful planning and good measurements, you’ll have beautiful built-ins for years to come. We’ll show you how to build these easy built in bookshelves with just a few tools and an afternoon’s worth of work

How to build built in shelves in wall

Building built in shelves in wall is a relatively easy DIY project that you can complete in a weekend. It requires measuring the space where you want to build the shelf, cutting boards to size and adding center shelves between top and bottom shelves. You also need to add vertical supports for each side of your shelf.

Measure the wall space.

Before you begin, measure the wall space. You will need to know the dimensions of the wall space in order to figure out how much lumber and plywood you will need for your built-in shelves.

Measure the width and depth of the wall.

Measure the height of your ceiling, then add two inches so that you can screw in your brackets that will hold up your shelves. Add another inch or so if you want extra space above each shelf where objects can be placed on top of them and still hang down below eye level when looking at them from below (this is optional). For example: if my ceiling height is 8 feet tall, I would measure 10 feet long by 9 feet tall with an additional 2 inches added onto my measurements so that I could screw in my hardware to hold up my bookshelf brackets.

Cut and paint the boards to size.

  • Cut and sand the boards to size.
  • Prime each board with a paintbrush or roller, then apply two coats of paint in your desired color, following the directions on the label.
  • Once they are dry, screw them into place as desired along your wall with a drill/driver and wall anchors appropriate for material thickness (for example, ⅜-inch hardwood plywood).

Add the center shelf between the top and bottom shelf.

Measure the shelf and cut it to size with a handsaw. Repeat this step for all of your shelves, including the center one.

Place your level against the wall where you wish to install your shelves, then place a box on top of each shelf bracket so that it’s centered on its respective bracket. Check that each shelf is straight by measuring from its left edge to an adjacent wall stud; if both measurements are equal, congratulations! You’ve just completed step 1 of building in-wall shelves

Next comes drilling holes into which you’ll insert screws or nails to secure those brackets (and therefore everything they’re holding) firmly in place. Start by marking the position at which each hole will be bored using a pencil; once you’ve confirmed that everything is aligned correctly, remove all items from their positions and use either a large drill bit or power screwdriver set at its highest speed setting (for me it was about 10).

Add the vertical supports for the shelf side walls.

Now that you have the two vertical supports and the shelf sides all cut, it’s time to assemble them.

First, drill holes into each end of each vertical support piece. You’ll want to make sure you have a hole at the bottom for attaching it to the wall and another large enough so that when your shelves are added later on, they can fit snugly inside without moving around too much.

Next, add some sort of spacing between them so that when you attach your shelves later on there will be room for their widths. It’s better if this space is small rather than large because then there won’t be too much empty space between them once they’re installed in place which makes things look messy! Just be careful not too go overboard with this one though because otherwise people won’t be able to see what’s behind them (which would defeat the purpose).

Next step: Attaching these pieces together using wood screws (or whatever other fastening materials might apply depending on what type/size) so that now we’ve got our first set done!

Place boxes on top of shelves for a finished look.

  • Place boxes on top of shelves for a finished look.
  • Boxes can be used to create a finished look and hide any gaps between the boards and wall. You can use larger wooden crates, or smaller cardboard boxes that fit inside each other. Obviously, you can also use any type of decorative box or container that you fancy – some ideas would be: old cigar boxes, vintage suitcases and trunks, even food tins! The key is to find something that will fit snugly between your shelves without interfering with their space (too much). If you want to paint these boxes to match your wall colors then do so before placing them over the boards; otherwise they might not match at all once everything is complete.
  • Decorate with scrapbook paper or fabric for an interesting effect! Think about covering one side of each shelf with scrapbook paper/fabric samples from your local craft store – this way when people look up from below they’ll get an unexpected surprise when they see how creative their friends were in making things look nice while still keeping it practical too!

These built-in shelves will be easy to make, but will look amazing when you’re done!

Built-in shelves are an excellent DIY project, and not one that you should be intimidated by. They look great, are easy to make and will last for years to come.

You can do this! With a little help from us, we’re confident that you’ll be able to tackle this project with ease. You’ll be able to find all the materials at your local home improvement store or online if they don’t have them in stock. We’ve broken the project down into 6 steps so it’s simple enough for even the beginner DIYer:

  • Choose Your Design & Layout
  • Build The Base Shelf Frame & Install It Into The Wall
  • Build Up To The Ceiling With Additional Shelves & Install Them Into Position
  • Attach A Back Panel To Complete The Built In Look Of Your Shelving System


So there you have it! Your new built-in shelves are ready and waiting for you to use. Hope this guide has helped you create the storage space of your dreams.

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