How To Build Shelves In A Recessed Wall

Building shelves in a recessed wall is a great way to add storage space to an existing room. It can be a time-intensive project, but it’s easy enough for anyone with some basic power tools and knowledge of home improvement. Follow these steps to create your own recessed shelves:

Assemble the tools.

To build shelves in a recessed wall, you’ll need:

  • A hammer, clamps, and saw
  • A tape measure or ruler
  • Wood glue. You can also use nails to attach the sides and bottoms of the framework together if you don’t have access to wood glue. If using nails, be sure to pre-drill holes so they don’t split your wood!

Measure the opening of the recessed wall.

  • Measure the opening of the recessed wall. You’ll need to measure from side to side, and from top to bottom. Also, measure the height of your shelves and mark this measurement on a piece of scrap wood so you can use it as a guide when inserting screws into your studs later on in this project.
  • Use a stud finder (or just eyeball it) to locate any beams that may be present in your wall, which is where you’ll be attaching fasteners for stability and strength when installing shelving units into a wall recess area like yours (more on that later).
  • Attach fasteners at each stud location using drywall anchors if possible—the kind with either one or two screw openings per anchor will work best here! If this isn’t possible because you don’t want holes left behind, then go ahead and use standard screws instead; they should still do their job just fine even though they might not look as pretty afterward.”

Transfer measurements to lumber and cut.

Transfer measurements to lumber and cut.

Use a tape measure to measure the opening of the recessed wall.

Use a tape measure to measure the distance between the floor and the bottom of the shelf.

Use a tape measure to measure the distance between the top of your board and ceiling (for example, if you want your first shelf at about 5 feet high).

Transfer these measurements onto each board piece with pencil marks, then cut them with a circular saw or jigsaw according to these dimensions. Be sure that each lumber piece is at least 1/2 inch bigger than its finished size in all directions so it will fit snugly into place once you’re done building your shelves.

Attach the top and bottom boards to side boards, then attach shelves.

  • Attach the top and bottom boards to side boards, then attach shelves.
  • Make sure they’re level, straight and square with wall (you may need to adjust clamps).
  • Add edging around front edge of each shelf (or just paint it if you want).
  • Add trim on both sides of each shelf so that it matches up with edging previously added above/below it (for example, attaching some kind of decorative moulding). This will help keep items from falling out between gaps in any future cases where there might be slight misalignment between constructions such as these made by hand instead of machine-made factory parts; especially important when storing heavy objects like books.

Attach edging around the shelf.

  • Install the edging. Once you have your shelves in place, round over the edges of each one with a router. If you don’t have a router—or don’t want to use it—you can just measure and cut each shelf to fit snugly in its spot. But if you do use a router, this will ensure they are all flush against each other and give them some rounded corners that look nice when installed.
  • Add a decorative edge around the shelf opening. Using either a jigsaw or reciprocating saw (handheld power tool), cut out an L-shaped piece of ¾-inch plywood that fits into the opening around each shelf and along both sides at least halfway up (so there is room for metal brackets). This will create an attractive detail in your shelving without being too much work for such small areas!
  • Install track hardware so that it runs parallel with existing studs in walls or ceilings where possible—this allows for easy installation later on since there won’t be any large gaps where drywall can fall off during movement because they’re held together by screws instead). You’ll need two tracks per side: One should be located above where glass doors slide open while another sits below so it doesn’t interfere with sliding doors when used together as well as individually (for example: door knob holes drilled through upper track may prevent access needed inside cabinet space). Use pliers or vice grips firmly hold onto wood before drilling pilot hole through center point; hammer drill bit gently into place until secure then remove vice grips before drilling deeper using same method above until hole reaches desired depth.”

Add trim for finished look.

Trim is a finishing touch that can really add visual interest to your shelves. Trim is available in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, so you can make it stand out in your room by choosing one that will contrast with your other elements. For example, a bold red-painted shelf with matching trim would look great against white walls while keeping things minimalist. On the other hand, if you have an eclectic decor style with lots of different textures and colors going on throughout your living space, then adding some dark walnut trim might be just what’s needed to tie everything together.

If you’re looking for something a bit more subtle than bright red paint but still want to add some visual appeal without going overboard on detail work (like carving intricate designs into wood), then stained trim is probably best suited for this project.. Since we’ll be using premade pine boards for this project instead of cutting our own lumber pieces from scratch (which would require several hours’ worth of work), using stain as opposed to painting should save us lots of time too..

Build Recessed Shelves in 9 steps

First, you’ll need to determine the size of your recessed wall. If you’re building a bookshelf, measure the width and length of your desired shelf unit. Then measure the depth of the wall where you want to install them—this is going to be referred to as “the span.” For example, if one side of your bookcase will be 7 feet long with a depth of 2 feet (7×2), then your span would be 5 feet (5=7-2). This step is important because it will help ensure that your shelves fit snugly into the space they’ll occupy while also providing an accurate blueprint for cutting lumber.

Next comes measuring up and down from this line so that we have a clear idea of how deep our shelf should go into its hole:

  • ) Measure out along one end about 1/4″ beyond where we want our top board (1) and across about 1/4″ over from there at its widest point (2), making sure both ends are perfectly level with one another; this will give us our exact measurement for cutting later on since there may be slight variations from piece to piece when using reclaimed wood pieces such as these ones were built with here today
  • ) Now take those measurements along with whatever other information we’ve gathered about how far apart each individual unit needs space between them due mainly based on their dimensions


You can now enjoy your new recessed wall shelves. They add a beautiful look to any room that is not only functional but unique. Recessed shelving will help you get the most out of your space.

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