Kitchen Storage Between the Studs: 5 Examples of Smart Recessed Cabinets

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Alysha Findley)

I have become intimately acquainted with the walls of my new house as over the last several weeks my husband and I and a pack of friends have stripped most of the rooms of wall coverings, plaster, and lathe, exposing the true bones and studs. One side effect of this (besides sore shoulders and scraped hands!) is that the naked structure of my house has given me a whole new perspective on storage. There’s so much room in there, between the studs! Here are some inspiring photos showing how you can use all that negative space inside your walls for positive storage solutions.

In case you’ve never done this (stripped a room down to the studs), it’s actually not a terribly difficult process, especially if you have drywall in your house, instead of plaster and lathe. It’s dusty and messy, but given a crowbar, anyone can do it.

Once you’re in there, you’ll see that there’s a lot of room between the studs of your walls. There has to be, to run plumbing and electrical wires. But these take up relatively little room, and if you’re so inclined, you may find opportunities to create shallow recessed cabinets and shelving between the studs.

Here are a few examples of how these shallow spaces can be used in a small kitchen. It’s even something you could do in a rental, provided you left a real improvement in place.

  1. Craftsman Bungalow Open Storage – At first glance, this looks like a boarded-up window, but I think it’s actually between-the-stud storage, cleverly outlined with trim that looks original. (No more info than this on this solution, unfortunately; it’s a photo I noticed in a real estate listing!)

  2. Double Recessed Pantry – Here it looks like space on either side of a stud was reclaimed for a double pantry. So useful!
  3. IKEA CD Rack Storage – IKEA CD racks were inserted in the spaces between the studs. Great solution for kitchen or dining room.
  4. Recessed Shelf over Countertop – This is another great use of this technique: Reclaiming space over the countertop, in the backsplash. These recessed shelves keep ingredients handy while keeping them away from heat and too much light.
  5. Squeezed-In Pantry – A great example of how otherwise unusable space can be used in this way. A shelf would never have fit in this teeny space between doors, but a recessed pantry is totally awesome here.

Instructions on Building a Spice Cabinet Between the Studs
Ready to try this yourself? Here are some good instructions from HGTV on installing a spice cabinet between the studs in your kitchen.

Built-In Spice Rack at HGTV

Do you have recessed cabinets or shelves between the studs in your kitchen? Want to share pictures or tips? We’d love to get more tips on making this happen!

Related: Small Space Saver: Fold-Down Shelf

(Images: listing; Aidan Design via Houzz; Allenaim Photography via Houzz; Leva & Bo; Spaces Into Places via Houzz)