Build a Simple Wall Niche

If walls could talk they might say, "Hey, look at all the wasted storage space inside of me. You should fill it up!" A wall niche does just that: It turns an empty stud cavity into a useful storage or display space.

I built a niche in an entryway for use as a message center and for storing small accessories. You can incorporate one into any interior wall to serve any purpose: as a bookshelf, a place to display art, a spice rack or a handy spot to stow cleaning supplies, etc.

How to build it
Once you select the area where you want your wall niche, cut a small exploratory hole. Use an inspection camera or a small mirror and a flashlight to make sure pipes, wires or ducts don't go through the area. If the space is clear, enlarge the opening horizontally from stud to stud and vertically to whatever height you choose. Measure the space between the studs (in most cases 14-1/2 in. wide x 4 in. deep, although it could be wider, narrower or deeper).

Glue and nail the 1x4 case together. Check the diagonal measurements to make sure the case is square; then attach 1/4-in. plywood to the back. Test the fit of the case in the wall cavity.

Next, build the case frame out of 1x4s (photo 1). Be creative: You can add shelves, drawers or even a door. (I lined my message-center niche with corkboard to hold thumbtacks.) Make sure the case is square; then "picture frame" it with casing (photo 2). Set the completed niche in the wall opening and secure it with finish nails, fastening through the frame and into the wall studs.

Cut and install trim, allowing for a 1/4-in. reveal around the case. You can apply molding that matches the style of your window and door trim or use a more elaborate art-framing material. Paint or stain the piece before installing it.

This project requires a reliable stud finder. Click here to watch a video about one of our favorite stud finders.