How to Build a Wall Alcove


Create a small space inside a wall cavity as a good place to display artwork or a way to carve out storage. Tiny alcoves only 4 inches deep in bathroom walls or bedroom walls provide attractive storage for wash cloths or a vase, for example. Wall areas next to staircases or under the eaves of an attic room are places to construct an alcove as well.

Create the Space Dimensions

  • Design the alcove and any surrounding wall trim to fit harmoniously with the room design. You can, for instance, design an alcove 18 inches high by 12 inches wide with a curved arch over the top. Fitting this nook into a 4-inch deep wall space with nice molding trim around the edges will look appealing. Envision a small statue, framed family photo or indoor plant inside the alcove.

Find Hollow Wall Space

  • It’s easier to use space between wall studs. Studs are typically built on 16-inch centers, so opening a wall vertically between two studs is not difficult. Be sure to frame the opening with 2-by-4-inch boards if you decide to build an alcove that will require cutting studs. The framing should support the overall wall weight any removed studs were holding up.

Build Niche Cabinet

  • A stud finder will help you locate all wall studs, so you draw the alcove on the wall in detail that you want to build. Use a drywall saw to cut drywall in the exact shape you desire. Construct the interior shape of the alcove by building a plywood cabinet that will form the interior shape of the recessed space. Push the plywood unit into the wall cavity and secure it with nails or screws to wall framing.

Finish Alcove Interior

  • You can cut drywall to fit over the plywood, as one choice, to finish the alcove interior. Wood veneer sheeting can work as well, especially if you want to bend the top of the cabinet in an arched shape. To make the interior space smooth, use drywall tape and joint compound to finish an alcove lined with drywall over the plywood. Paint the interior in an identical color with wall paint or any appropriate color.

Find Larger Space

  • Build a deeper cabinet for a larger alcove, if there is room behind the wall. For example, you can construct an alcove 12 inches deep that will protrude into a closet space or protrude into another room. Go over options to use wall cavity space in a manner that will not negatively affect adjacent space on the other side of the wall. Keep in mind that wall alcoves work best on interior walls with no need to address exterior wall insulation issues.

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