TikTok Turns Dead Closet Space Into A Beautiful DIY Bookshelf

No matter how well you organize your clothes to free up storage space in your closet, there always seems to be a spot toward the back that is basically useless. You can't seem to reach it because other items are in the way, and it just feels like wasted space. TikTok user @chaza_diylady has an answer for this situation, using a TikTok video to show you how to tear out the drywall and give you a space to create a recessed bookshelf or similar display on the outside of the closet that'll look like it's been there forever. With this TikTok hack, you can show off your creative chops for decorating the new bookshelf, rather than having lost space inside the closet.

Now, before you try to mimic this project, you should be aware of a few things. If the interior of the closet is finished, you could have wiring or conduit hiding inside the wall that you want to tear out. (If the closet interior is not finished, you should be able to see any wiring in the area.) You don't want to injure yourself by jamming the drywall saw into wiring. If you see an outlet in the area, this is an obvious sign of wiring behind the drywall. You also can use a voltage detector or a stud finder to find hidden wires inside the wall before starting the work.

How to remove the drywall inside the closet

Before trying this TikTok hack, make sure that the dead space inside your closet is positioned in a location where you want a DIY built-in bookshelf. If it opens into the middle of a hallway, for example, the recessed bookshelf may look completely out of place. Use a drywall saw ($10 on Home Depot) to puncture the drywall on the outside of the closet and make a rough cutout before trimming it up. Take precautions to try to remove the drywall without making a mess. Then return to the inside of the closet and cut out the drywall on that side. TikTok user @chaza_diylady had to remove the shelving that was inside the dead space first.

Next, make a frame out of 2-by-4s to fit the new opening for the recessed shelves. Attach it to the existing frame of the wall. To handle this step, the TikTok hack made use of a cordless drill and a chop saw, which you may already have on hand. The materials for the frame have a cost of around $25 for a few 2-by-4s and screws.

After attaching the frame, add a few more 2-by-4 pieces horizontally inside the frame to provide extra stability and to create a place to support the brackets for the shelves. Attach the supports securely with long screws, so they can support the weight of the books or other items you'll place on the recessed shelves.

How to create bookshelves to take advantage of dead closet space

TikTok's @chaza_diylady then appeared to use 1-by-4s to create the back of the recessed shelving area. She painted them a dark color before attaching them side by side to the horizontal 2-by-4s. The hack suggests saving some money by repurposing scrap wood to create the shelves. Just sand the old plywood to create a smooth surface before cutting it to create the exact size for the shelves. The video showed using a table saw for this step. This same wood became the frame for the interior of the space, hiding the exposed cavity inside the wall, while using a nail gun to attach everything.

In the video, the shelves and interior framing were painted white, allowing them to stand out from the dark background and gaining the most benefit when adding a light strip to the space, making everything bright and airy. In the video, @chaza_diylady mentions already having the lights on hand and repurposing them for this DIY project. The cords went inside the cavity of the wall, although it wasn't clear from the video where the electrical outlet was. 

After adding finishing wood to cover all of the edges and painting the wood around the outside of the recessed shelves the same dark color as the wood in the back, the space was ready for adding books and other display items. Overall, this is a great way to expand your DIY skills and add some more functional space to your home.