Build a Recessed Medicine Cabinet: A How to Guide

Bathrooms are always in need of more storage. This is especially true in smaller spaces. Many bathrooms do not have the room to accommodate a wall hung medicine cabinet. A recessed medicine cabinet is a solution for every bathroom. You can get them in many forms, pre-built, ready to assemble and build from scratch. We will be discussing the latter two in this article.

Before you start, you will need the following tools: a hammer, a drywall saw, electric drill, level, pencil, screwdriver, measuring tape, 2 x 4 for ledger boards, stud finder, and table saw (for build it yourself).

No matter if you are choosing a ready to assemble or if you are building the cabinet yourself, a recessed medicine cabinet will add much needed storage space to you bathroom. The first thing you need to do is to open up a space to set the cabinet into. If you are not replacing an existing recessed cabinet here is how to prep the space. Carefully mark out a space between the studs where you want to put your cabinet. You will need to be sure that there are no wires or plumbing behind this space. Use great care and take out the drywall or plaster in small sections. Assume you will find surprises behind the wall, especially if your home is older. Remove the plaster or drywall. Then you will need to make a ledger board to go across the bottom and top of the space. This is what will help support your medicine cabinet, be sure these boards are level.

Here are the instructions to follow for a ready to assemble medicine cabinet. Assemble the cabinet according to directions. You will need to be sure the corners are square and all sides are level. Check to see if it fits in the space. Install the cabinet by inserting it into the cavity. Check to see if it is level, shim where necessary and secure with screws. Then add the shelves and door. Finally add any hardware and trim. This can be done in a day. It is always best to have someone help you with the lifting and leveling of the cabinet.

If you are going to build a cabinet yourself here is a really easy way to do it. It is low cost and looks good. The great thing is that this is customized to your wall space. First, decide how big a cabinet you want. You will be building this in between the studs. The frame for this cabinet will be 2 x 4’s. You will need 6 of them. 2 Pieces are for the ledger boards that will support the cabinet. 2 pieces will fit in between the studs as a top and bottom for the cabinet. You will need decorative molding or casing to frame the cabinet. Use pre-made glass or Plexiglas shelving. Be sure to have shelf brackets as well if they do not come with the shelving. There is no door to this model. The measurement for these will be the distance between the studs. Next the sides will be measured. You can make this cabinet as tall or as short as you like. 36 inches will give you a tall but not oversized cabinet. The back of the cabinet can be either wood or mirror. The choice is yours. Assemble the cabinet as follows. Screw the corners together making sure that they are square and the sides are level. Measure the back of the cabinet and decide if you are going to use wood or a mirror. Stain, seal or paint the frame prior to adding the back. If you use wood, then cut a piece of backer board like luan and nail to the frame. If you decide on a mirror, glue this to the back. Carefully lift the cabinet and insert it into the prepared wall opening. Screw the cabinet into the studs, making sure that it is level. Use shims if necessary. Counter sink the screws and fill with wood putty.

Decide where you want the shelves. Drill and place the shelf brackets where desired. Next, add the shelves. Finish the cabinet off with decorative trim. It’s that simple and this can be done in a day!

Adding a medicine cabinet will add beauty and storage to your bathroom. A custom built in recessed cabinet will add that designer touch without the designer price.

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