Sometimes you have a room that needs a book shelf, but the problem is there really isn’t enough floor space.
How do you solve this problem?
Simple. Install it in the wall.
First check your wall. Is is a load bearing wall or not. Load bearing means that the wall supports the ceiling joists or in the event of a two story (or more) house the upstairs floor joists.
If it is a load bearing wall you can still do this you just have to make a couple of modifications to the plan.
Alright here’s how to do make a built in book case.
Figure out the location that you want the book case first, take into consideration any future home improvements you might decide to do. Because once it’s installed it is a pain to move.
Where a normal book case is built out of 1x10s or 1x12s with all of the case taking up floor space these book cases can be built the same way with only 4 to 8 inches sticking out into the floor. That number varies with the thickness of your wall (most walls are 4 to 5 inches thick).
To start with if the wall is a load bearing wall you want to build your bookcase narrow enough that it can fit in between the studs (easy way) or you want to remove a stud and build a header to go across the top of your bookcase. To build a header you just nail together a couple of 2x6s and install them on top of a couple of studs.
I have tried to illustrate this part.
Okay once you get that done you are ready to build your bookcase.
What I use to build mine is almost always spruce. Spruce is a soft almost white wood that is easy to work with and takes stain very well. You can make it look like any kind of wood you want it to with the right color of stain.
I prefer either a light redwood or mahogany stain. But it depends on what the rest of the room is as to what color I stain it.
Okay I’m getting ahead of myself.
Back to building the book case. First we need to know what depth we want, I usually go with 1x8s or 1x10s and very rarely use 1x12s on a built in bookcase.
What I do is measure the inside between the remaining studs. Then I cut two sections of the wood lets say the inside measurement is 44 inches. So I will cut a top and bottom board 44 inches long.
Then measure the height. I try to go as far up to the ceiling as I can so lets say we have an eight foot ceiling.
On a non load bearing wall (no header) I would cut two side pieces 94-1/2 inches long, that will make it 96 inches overall.
If it is a load bearing wall and I have a 2×6 header I deduct 5-1/2 inches from the length. (the reason for this is a 2×6 is actually 1-3/4 x 5-1/2 inches.)
After I have my frame pieces cut I will nail or screw them together. For the back of the bookshelf I use a 4 x8 sheet of 1/4″ luan. ( a thin plywood that actually looks pretty good for bookshelf backs).
Check the luan with a framing square and make sure that it is square then line the edges on two sides up with the frame of your bookcase. Attach the luan and if you did this right your bookcase will be almost perfectly square, now lets just hope your walls are. You can take a router with a flush bit and cut off the excess luan.If you don’t have a router you can use a circular saw. Don’t worry if you nick the sides a little because this area will not be seen.
Decide how many shelves you want to put in your bookshelf.
On a seven foot bookshelf I usually put in four shelves. Spacing the bottom ones further apart than the top ones. That way you can put bigger items on the bottom shelves.
Okay so we’re going to put four shelves in this thing.
We cut four boards 42-1/2 inches long. Then install them. I like to mark one side for my shelves, attach them on that side and use a speed square to line them up square.
After you have your shelves in place you are ready to install the bookshelf.
Simply place it in the opening in the wall and then screw it to the studs on the side, the header on the top and the floor on the bottom.
Then you are ready to trim it out If you had to install a header you will have to use something over six inches wide. A 1×8 will work wonders here and you can use 1x6s for the sides. I like to route the outside edges to give it a smooth shapely look.
If you didn’t have to use a header 1x4s will work for your trim.
That’s how simple it is to build a built in or space saving book shelf.