A knee wall is a short wall, often less than 3 feet tall, that is commonly found in attics under the roof rafters. Behind these walls there is often a great deal of empty space that can easily be put to use for storage. To make better use of this empty space, build knee wall storage doors for easy access to the space behind the wall. This project is something that most homeowners could complete in just a few hours.

Man in empty attic
credit: David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images
Use empty space behind the knee walls in your attic for storage.

Step 1

Use a stud finder to locate the studs in the knee wall where you intend to install your storage doors. You will be cutting an opening in the wall between the studs and installing your doors over the opening. Mark the position of the studs on the wall in pencil.

Step 2

Select a pair of adjacent studs to use as guides for your wall opening. Draw a vertical line on the wall in pencil aligned with the inside edge of each stud. Use a measuring tape to draw the lines to the desired height of your storage doors and use a long level to make sure the lines are straight.

Step 3

Connect the two vertical lines at the top and bottom with a horizontal line. Trace along a level to draw your lines straight.

Step 4

Align the tip of a drywall saw with one of the horizontal lines. Starting near the center, gently tap the handle of the drywall saw to drive the blade into the drywall. Move the saw in and out of the drywall in a sawing motion, cutting along the horizontal line.

Step 5

Repeat this process to cut through all four lines drawn on the wall. When finished, gently remove the piece of drywall you cut out and set it aside. The result should be a square or rectangular wall opening positioned between two studs in the knee wall. If you are sure the wall is not load-bearing, you may wish to remove one stud to widen the opening for better access. If you aren't sure whether the wall is load-bearing, do not remove any studs.

Step 6

Measure the width of the space between the inside edges of the two wall studs.

Step 7

Use a circular saw to cut two pieces of 2-by-4-inch hardwood to match the width of the opening. Insert these boards horizontally between the studs along the top and bottom of the wall space. Drive 3-inch wood screws at an angle through the ends of the boards into the wall studs to secure them.

Step 8

Cut a sheet of 1/2-inch plywood to the length and height of your wall space, using the circular saw. This sheet of plywood will be the door for your knee wall storage space. You may choose to use one door or cut the plywood in half to form two smaller doors.

Step 9

Sand the edges and paint or stain the plywood to match the decor of your room. Allow the paint or stain to dry completely before you install the door.

Step 10

Install two metal hinges to the back of the plywood along one of the vertical sides. Position the hinges about two inches from the top and bottom corners.

Step 11

Hold the plywood door flat against the wall opening. Screw the other side of each hinge to the inside edge of the adjacent wall stud inside the opening. Open and close the door to test the hinges.