How to Build a Recessed Shelf

What You'll Need
Stud finder
Power drill
Bench saw, or circular saw
1/8-inch drill bit, six 1/2--inch by 6-inch walnut or maple boards cut to desired shelf length
2" x 6" x 8' Studs
3-inch Wood screws
Sandpaper and sanding blocks, or belt sander
Plumb bob
Chalk line
Carpenter's level

Homeowners like to use a recessed shelf as a bookcase. Many homeowners also use these shelves to simply break up the monotony of a plain wall. There are many styles of these shelves you can choose from if you would like to build one of them in an interior wall. If you'd like to build a recessed shelf in one of your walls, here are 5 steps you can follow.

Step 1 – Determine your Desired Shelf Size

You will need to begin by deciding what the dimensions for your shelves will be. Estimate their length, width, and depth. You will need these dimensions not only to determine how big you will cut the opening in your wall, but also to know what material you should buy.

Step 2 – Cut an Opening in your Drywall

On your wall, use a stud finder to locate the stud closest to the left side of the opening you plan to make. Mark this position. Now, make a line from the ceiling down the surface of the wall, following the vertical stud behind it, and using your plumb bob to be sure the line is vertical. This line should be the same length as the height of your shelf opening.

Next, make a horizontal line and a second vertical line on the wall. These lines represent the bottom and right side of the opening you will make in your wall. Using a utility knife or saw, cut out this square, leaving the bare vertical wall studs on which the drywall was attached.

Step 3 -  Cut an Opening in the Studs

Cut out the wall stud closest to the left side of your new opening, making the first cut at the bottom of the opening in the drywall and the second cut at the ceiling. Then cut out the other wall studs inside this opening, using the same dimensions as on the first stud you cut.

Step 4 - Attach the Support Pieces for your Opening

Attach your top plate to the ceiling stud, and attach the bottom plate to the end surface of the bottom pieces of vertical studs that were left when you cut out the tops of these studs. Then, attach the two vertical end plates

Attach the two 1" vertical shelf boards and the two 1" horizontal shelf boards to the appropriate plates, using counter-sunk wood screws. Then attach vertical shelf brackets, and your recessed shelf is made. Now you have only to attach framing pieces to both side of the wall and shelf edges, paint or stain the shelves and framing, and your job is finished.

You can complete this project for any room because it is both functional and provides aesthetic values to any home. Be sure you are cautious whenever you use any tools, but especially the saws. Wear your safety goggles because some of the sawdust can get into your eyes.