How to Create a Nook Cubby in a Wall

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A nook cubby, also called a wall niche, is a shelf cut into a wall. Elegant wall niches were popular design features from the Victorian era until the home construction increase after World War II, when architects favored simpler design. Pre-assembled nook cubbies will fit into holes you create in a home wall, but you could also construct your own nook cubby. Homeowners creating their own nook cubbies must avoid cutting into load-bearing walls because doing so may compromise your home's structural stability. Pipes and wiring behind the wall are also important hazards to avoid.

Things You'll Need

  • Marker
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Drywall and plaster saw
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Circular saw
  • 1x6x8 board
  • Table saw
  • Drill
  • Countersink
  • 1 5/8-inch drywall screws
  • Case molding
  • Hammer
  • Finish nails

Preparing the Wall

  • Compare the wall with the direction of your home's roof. If the wall runs in the same direction, you may installing the cubby in a load-bearing wall. Contact a contractor and request assistance to determine if the project is safe.

  • Trace the outline of an assembled cubby on the wall with a marker. Trace a rectangle 8 inches tall and 24 inches wide on the wall if you intend to build your own basic box cubby. Use a level to ensure that the outline is even with the floor. Create another outline that surrounds the first by tracing 3/4 of an inch outside of the first outline.

  • Shut off electricity in the house at the main circuit breaker. Cut the drywall along the second outline using a drywall or reciprocating saw. Avoid wiring and pipes behind the drywall by making a shallow cut into the wall. Remove the drywall and expose any wall studs. Cut the studs out of the opening with a reciprocating saw. Begin these cuts with a circular saw to keep them level with the opening.

  • Insert a pre-assembled nook cubby into the opening. Seal the edges. Begin assembling your own nook cubby if you haven't purchased one.

Building a Nook Cubby

  • Measure the wall cavity's depth, width and length. Subtract half an inch from the depth measurement. Cut the 1x6x8 boards into a backing board and framing boards that match the wall cavity measurements. Use a table saw or circular saw to cut the lumber.

  • Assemble the frame by drilling pilot holes with a countersink. Attach the top and bottom framing boards to the side boards with 1 5/8-inch drywall screws. Use drywall screws to fasten the backing board to the assembled frame.

  • Nail case molding onto the outside edges of the cubby box. Slip the cubby into the wall cavity and mark where the cubby aligns with the cut wall studs. Remove the cubby and drill guide holes in the wall studs. Insert the cubby again and hammer finish nails through the cubby into the guide holes to secure the cubby.

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  • Photo Credit Andy Sotiriou/Photodisc/Getty Images
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