How to Replace a Medicine Cabinet With Recessed Shelves

Steven Symes

Medicine cabinets sit in a recessed portion of the wall, with wood blocking around the perimeter of the recess. After you remove the medicine cabinet, you can use the wall recess to install open shelves instead of anchoring a new medicine cabinet in place. Shelves in a wall recess helps so people do not run into the shelves and damage the items on them, especially inside a small bathroom or in a tight bathroom passageway.

Step 1

Open the medicine cabinet door and remove anything left inside. Back out the mounting screws on the inside of the medicine cabinet by turning them counterclockwise with a Phillips screwdriver.

Step 2

Slide the medicine cabinet carefully out of the wall and place it aside. Mark on the inside of the wall cavity where you wish to position the shelves, marking the shelf positions with a pencil.

Step 3

Draw straight and level lines where you marked the position of each shelf using a carpenter’s square, making the marks on all three sides of the wall recess. Measure the length and depth of the wall recess. Cut two wood blocks the same dimensions for each shelf you wish to install. Cut one wood block that measures the width of the recess minus the thickness of two of the wood blocks.

Step 4

Nail the shorter wood blocks on the sides of the recess, lining up the top of the wood blocks with the lines you drew. Nail the longer wood blocks onto the back of the recess, lining up the top of the wood blocks with the line you drew.

Step 5

Trim wood shelves that measure the same width and depth as the wall recess. Insert the shelves into the recess, resting the shelves on the wood blocks for support. Tap the shelves into place, if necessary, by using a rubber mallet.