Your home is hiding hundreds of square feet of potential storage space. Utilizing this organizational bonanza is as simple as removing a modest-size rectangle of drywall to reveal the hollow space between wall studs, and adding a shelving niche.
Although the available space is shallow, a between-the-studs shelving niche 14 inches tall offers almost one-third cubic foot of storage—enough for decorative display items or more than 50 CDs. A between-the-studs shelving and storage niche also preserves valuable floor space, since it eliminates the need for freestanding storage.
Ideas for Between-the-Studs Shelving
Kitchen: Between-studs shelving is ideal as a kitchen pantry because the shallow shelves are perfect for canned goods. You also can use a niche for storing spices, hanging utensils, or storing and displaying your cooking pans.
Bathroom: Install a between-studs storage niche in the shower for holding shampoo bottles and soaps. A shallow niche beside the toilet holds magazines and toilet paper. Near the sink, create a recess for toiletries and personal items.
Bedroom: Use recessed storage for CDs, paperback books, magazines, belts, scarves, and jewelry. You can also create a wall niche for your flat screen television as long as a header provides support where studs are removed.
Family room: Store pool cues, balls, and the triangle as well as CDs, wine or liquor, and barware.
How to Create Between-the-Studs Shelving
You'll need moderate DIY skills and a basic knowledge of framing to build your own recessed wall niche. Once you’ve located studs with a stud finder and made sure the wall cavity is void of wires, plumbing, or air ducts, frame the opening and finish it with drywall or other materials, such as beaded board, then add shelving. Cost: $17 to $35, for a 14x36-inch niche.
Various sizes of prebuilt recessed wall niches are available in wood as well as less expensive polyurethane units. These units are customized to perform a range of storage tasks, including serve as a medicine cabinet, a home bar and as a shower niche. Cost: $90 to $500.