Easy Space-Saving Shelving
The new front room of the house is very tiny. The area only measures 7 feet deep by approximately 14 feet long. It sounds super-cramped but truly isn’t, and in order to keep it from being cramped yet feeling like a “real” living room, I added DIY wall shelving between the studs. It is perfect! It adds a homey-feel with room for our candleholders, incense burners, a clock, and Manny, our artist mannequin!
The drywall had already been removed from the wall opposite our bedroom so I added sheets of 1/2″ foam insulation between the studs in order to dampen any noise from the TV (that would eventually be mounted to the wall) and the turntable speakers. I measured the distance between the studs, as well as determined the height of the shelving so that it wouldn’t interfere with the electrical wiring that runs through the studs below.
Since this isn’t a load bearing wall, the distance between the studs is approximately 22″, and the studs are actually 2×3 rather than 2×4. I built two box frames using 1×3 lumber with a 1/4″ groove cut in the back to allow for 1/4″ plywood to slide in. I positioned the boxes between the studs, level with each other and with a 1/2″ profile to allow for the drywall. I secured the boxes to the studs using 1-1/2″ screws.
I installed the drywall on that wall (see my Drywall Installation Tips & Tricks!) and then built a frame to cover the edges of the boxes and the drywall. The frame was secured to the boxes using 2″ brad nails. I also cut a piece to fit between the boxes at the center of the shelving to cover the stud in between.
I used paintable caulk to fill in the gaps where the frame rested on the drywall as well as the gaps between the box frame and the 1/4″ plywood back. Then I primed and painted the boxes, frame and drywall the same shade of white (Silky White by Behr!).
I wanted the shelves to have a bit of a profile extending from the wall but not too far out, so I decided to use 1x6s (5-1/2″ deep) for the shelves. I created a template out of corrugated board and checked the fit before cutting the boards. I cut notches at the outside edges shelves for the frame as well as a notch at the center, then cut a 45° miter at the ends of the shelves.
I stained scrap pieces of 1x lumber that was 3/4″ wide to use as cleats to mount the shelves. I used a laser level to mark the position of the cleats, and secured them to the boxes using 1-1/2″ screws after pre-drilling the holes.
I stained the shelves using Golden Oak stain, then secured them to the cleats using 1-1/2″ screws. If properly sanded, Golden Oak looks amazing on pine!
This is a truly easy project that works well in any room. Here are a few tips before cutting into drywall to add DIY built in shelves of your own:
- Use a stud finder to mark the studs.
- Use caution when removing drywall for shelving because there may be electrical wiring behind it!
- Remember that drywall can always be replaced.
- If you are in doubt, consult a professional!
Have questions about building DIY wall shelving between the studs? Leave a comment below!