Time for Recess: How to Create Shelf Space Between Studs

Time for Recess: How to Create Shelf Space Between Studs | Diary of a DIYer

In a perfect world, there’d be enough space to store all of our stuff. Most of us know that’s not realistic, so where do you turn when you absolutely need more storage?

The answer is in your walls.

Every room in your home could use some more shelf space. Take advantage of wasted space between your wall studs by installing recessed shelving.

Places to Add Recessed Shelving


Recessed kitchen shelving can be kept open to display plates, candles, seasonal décor – you name it. But for a more practical approach, use it for storage. Pantry shelf, anyone? Whether you have a dedicated space for a pantry or not, I’m sure installing recessed shelving and creating more space can’t hurt. Close it off with a door and voila – extra space for food and spices.


People have used recessed bathroom shelving for everything from storing shampoo to toilet paper. Create a stylish little nook in your bathroom with a Euro-style toilet paper holder and a shelf for storing extra rolls. Not only does it look great, but it also provides easy access for those times when you need to replace the roll.

Living Room

If you haven’t caught on by now, you can use recessed shelving for a variety of purposes, whether it’s décor or function. That said, combine both form and function with your recessed living room shelves. Use the space to stack books and display family pictures or floral arrangements.

How to Install Recessed Shelving

Besides the cleared-off counters and floors, the best part of building recessed shelving is the fact that it doesn’t take much time to install. Whether you’re an experienced DIYer or new to the game, I can’t imagine this project taking more than a day. Work at your own pace to make sure everything is done properly.

You can go the extra mile and build your own shelf (tacking on more time to the project), but buying a premade shelf makes the process a bit easier.

Tools & Materials

The tools you’ll need for this project are basic but differ based on what type of shelf you’re installing. Assuming you’re installing a premade shelving unit, here’s a guideline of what you’d need.

  • Stud finder
  • Drywall saw
  • Tape measure
  • Construction adhesive


First you’ll want to find the studs in the wall of your choosing. Cut a small hole in the drywall to make sure there aren’t any obstructions like electrical wiring. If it’s all clear, measure and cut the hole for your shelf. Next you’ll typically apply a construction adhesive (like Liquid Nails). Push the shelf into the wall and let the adhesive set based on directions.

For a full explanation of how to install recessed shelving between studs, check out the DIY Network’s in-depth guide.


Recessed shelving is a convenient way to add extra space to any room in your home. And if you install shelving between studs, you’re only taking advantage of otherwise wasted space. This project is simple enough for a DIYer to complete but with the many premade shelving options out there, it can look like a professional job.

Follow my recessed shelving Pinterest board for more ideas and inspiration!