Uncover Extra Space: Make Recessed Shelves for Your Bathroom


Did you know that hidden inside your interior wall is a recessed shelf waiting to be created? But why would you do that? Good question.


A recessed shelf is an ideal solution to the annoying problem of not having enough storage space in the bathroom. So, if you’re in love with your pedestal sink, but need a place for that container of cotton balls, consider giving your interior wall a job! Pictured in this post is a recessed bathroom shelf framed with door trim. It’s simple, but it added a nice touch to a bathroom I used to own.


If you like your bathroom just as it is, consider adding a recessed shelf inside an interior wall in your office to add more interest to plain walls. It’s also more budget friendly than some art you can buy! Just think of all the things you can put on a recessed office shelf – that vacation photo that keeps getting knocked over on your desk, or your awesome highlighter collection in a nice glass jar.


Whether you add a recessed shelf to your bathroom or office, consider these tips to get you off to a smooth start.


Sketch a Plan.
Before you get started, decide on the dimensions for your recessed shelf. You’ll need to figure out your desired length, width, depth and number of shelves before buying materials or making cuts in your drywall.


Borrow When You Can.
This project involves several common tools you may or may not own. If you’re not a regular DIYer and want to keep expenses down, consider borrowing some supplies from family, friends and neighbors. Some items you may want to borrow include a level, stud finder, circular saw and drywall saw.


Match Your Paint.
Before buying paint, check your garage or closets for leftover paint that you used for trim. If you’re running low on paint, take your old bucket to the paint store for a fresh batch that will closely match your trim paint. Some of you may opt for a more exciting paint color, but I think that matching your recessed shelf color to your trim is a nice coordinating touch.


Keep Away from Wires.
The shelf unit will be placed between studs, and that’s where your trusty stud finder comes into play. However, before you break out the stud finder and start making cuts in the drywall, consider the location carefully. Reduce the risk of barging in on electrical wires by staying away from the areas close to light fixtures and switches.


No Regrets. Check First.
If you’re installing a recessed shelf at the same time as you’re installing new drywall, then you won’t have to wonder what’s behind that drywall. Yet, that’s often not the case. If you’ll be cutting into existing drywall, make a small inspection hole at the desired shelf location. Reach in and feel around the sides of the hole to make sure it’s free of plumbing materials or electrical wiring. If it’s a no-go, a small hole is much easier to repair than a large one! Home improvement whiz Ron Hazelton has more information on how to go about making these inspection holes, or “peep holes,” as he names them.


Get to Work.
DIY Network has a detailed, step-by-step tutorial and materials list to help you build your recessed shelf. In general, you’re going to locate wall studs, cut into drywall, build and paint your shelf, add braces, position shelf between studs and secure the shelving unit.

Now, just pick a fine Saturday to start this project, or better yet, take a DIY Friday off! Most of all, remember to have fun building your recessed shelving, and enjoy it for years to come.

Do you prefer the open look of recessed shelves in the bathroom instead of medicine cabinets? How have you added more space to your bathroom?

 Tim Eyre