How to Build Recessed Wall Shelves for Audio & Video Equipment

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Floor entertainment units have shelves for the electronic equipment that goes with a television, such as cable boxes or DVRs, DVD players and audio receivers. Since flat-screen TVs have become standard, wall-mounting televisions is common. If you would like to create shelves that go along with a hanging TV, consider recessed wall shelves for audio and video equipment. Recessed shelves provide space-storing equipment without cutting into the room’s space.

Things You'll Need

  • Stud finder
  • Hammer
  • Drywall saw
  • Circular saw
  • 2-by-4-inch wood boards
  • Wood screws
  • Drill
  • Wide wood boards
  • Measure the length and depth of the audio and video equipment you will place on the wall shelves. These measurements determine the recessed wall shelves’ width. If all of the equipment measures shorter than 16 inches, choose a 16-inch width for the recessed shelves. If the equipment measures longer than 16 inches, choose a 32-inch width for the shelves.

  • Locate the wall studs in the wall section where you will build recessed walls with a stud finder. Mark two studs for a 16-inch shelf or three studs for a 32-inch shelf. Mark each stud as you find it, and then move up and down the wall with the stud finder, marking the studs every 3 to 4 inches until you have marked them along the entire height that you want the opening.

  • Turn off the power in the room. Once the power is gone, break through the drywall with a hammer in the center of two of the marked studs. Pry enough drywall away that creates a hole large enough to see in with a flashlight and look for wires.

  • Break more of the wall area with a hammer if you do find wires in that area of the wall until you can move the wires out of the way with your hand. If you can’t move the wires, move to another section of wall. If you don’t find wires in that wall section, cut into the drywall with a drywall saw and open the wall from stud to stud and cut the height you want for the shelves.

  • Cut the center stud where it lines up with the top and bottom of the opening that you made in the wall with a circular saw. Remove the stud from the wall.

  • Cut two 2-by-4-inch boards to the wall opening’s width. Place the first board across the opening’s bottom between the two studs, so that it rests on the top of the center stud if there is one. Attach the board to the center stud with two screws. Secure the board’s ends to the outer studs by screwing at an angle, so that the screws pass through both the ends of the boards and the studs.

  • Install the top board in the same manner as the first, and then measure between the two boards. Cut a third board to this measurements and screw it into place in the center of the top and bottom boards of the recessed area if you removed a stud to build the walls.

  • Measure the distance from the board at one side of the opening to the board at the other, or from each side of the opening to the center board. Cut wood boards that are roughly the same width as the depth of the wall down to this length to make shelves. If the space in the wall goes back 12 inches, use a 1-by-12-inch or 2-by-12–inch board for the shelves.

  • Install the shelves in the same manner that you installed the top and bottom boards. Hold them in place and drive screws in at an angle to pass through both the shelf and the studs.

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