What to do with dining room built-ins?

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Attached are pictures of the built-in cupboard in my dining room. Question: Should I take the doors off the top of the built-in? Part of my thought process is due to lack of counter space to store kids school paperwork and other misc. papers that we tend to collect I need some place with easy, within site access. For me, out of site means out of mind and taking the cupboard doors off will help with this. Do you think it's a good idea to do this for the sake of convenience or should I simply leave it alone and find another spot for my stuff? Should I use it as a display case or for convenient storage? PS I'm going to paint the inside an accent color (dark yellow) and I think if the doors are off it will accent it even more. Thoughts? PS This pic shows the progress we're made with this awfully out-dated room. :) Sorry I don't have a more close up picture.
q what to do with dining room built ins, closet, dining room ideas, home decor, paint colors, storage ideas, wall decor
q what to do with dining room built ins, closet, dining room ideas, home decor, paint colors, storage ideas, wall decor
  14 answers
  • Tina Franzen Tina Franzen on Apr 02, 2014
    PS, the top 1/2 of the wall will be a tan/camel color. the floors will be a Tavern Oak hardwood-look laminate.
  • Olga C Olga C on Apr 02, 2014
    you need both storage for your stuff and the kids papers, so take top doors off and use for decor and leave bottom half to hide papers for kids. Install shelves as needed and if you do need to prevent dust collection, install glass doors on the top half.
  • Shaun Ballard Shaun Ballard on Apr 02, 2014
    I would absolutely take the doors off top to bottom. You can create a lighted display space on top for pretty items and put lined baskets it the bottom areas for the kids things. All neat and organized AND attractive. Good luck with the project!
    • Tina Franzen Tina Franzen on Apr 04, 2014
      @Shaun Ballard thank you!!! You have read my mind. already have some baskets in mind that I will be painting and will be purchasing an under the counter light for the top shelf! :)
  • Lorene Murray Lorene Murray on Apr 02, 2014
    Take of the top doors. and leave the bottom. that way you can hide the things you don't want others to see in the bottom and you can put a display of some kind on the top.
  • What a neat feature-my thoughts are to make the built in for display and add some trim to the doors to jazz it up. I would find a buffet, dresser, or other piece to paint and double as storage and a place to store the kids stuff. You could even cut out the bottom doors and add glass to match the top and BOOM you have more display space. Add lights and paint the accent color you have chosen. good luck
  • Tina Franzen Tina Franzen on Apr 04, 2014
    I am currently looking for a buffet or dresser. :) thanks so much for your input!!!!!!!!
  • Pat Pat on Apr 04, 2014
    Tina, just for my curosity....what room is on the other side of that cupboard? How deep is it? Could it be taken out completely and be made a door? Or close it off in your dining room side and open it up into the other room. Otherwise.....others have had great ideas....doors off the top with decorative items and doors on the bottom for school papers and storage.
    • Tina Franzen Tina Franzen on Apr 05, 2014
      @Pat the other side is the bathroom where there is another built in. I'm not ready for that kind of remodel, but thank you! The bottom must remain closed b/c I need it for storage of entertaining items (serving dishes, etc). anything put in the bottom will be out of site - out of mind and therefore cannot be for school papers. thanks for your suggestions!!!!!!!!!
  • J K  Weigle J K Weigle on Apr 04, 2014
    Change color or paint, but doors keep dust out!
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Apr 04, 2014
    I would not take off the doors because secured out of sight storage is hard to find. And kid's stuff tends to get very messy. A buffet or some sort of open storage piece could be used to store pretty things you want to display.
    • Tina Franzen Tina Franzen on Apr 05, 2014
      @Jeanette S thank you for your input! I have a china cabinet already and this is essentially my display case.
  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Apr 11, 2014
    I'd leave the doors on, add bit of trim to the front of them and add new hardware....My mouth dropped when I saw this..I fave the SAME SOLARIAN SUNDIAL floor in orange (YUCK) and the same wanna be wainscotting, in the same color.... thought I was the only onestill dealing with those 2 horrible things.... I feel for you..
  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Apr 11, 2014
    also the exact same heat registers....my home is brick built in 1949....
  • Tina Franzen Tina Franzen on Apr 13, 2014
    LOL thanks for the tips. The floors are having purgo-type floor put over it this week YAY! I dont know how anyone lived with this floor for so long. I personally LOVE RETRO, MOD furnishings but this floor is just TOO MUCH! LOL Oh, and the registers have already been replaced. LOL
    • See 1 previous
    • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Apr 21, 2014
      @Colleen Knight I agree, I am SO SICK of my floor,,,,, my hubby is old school....IF IT AINT BROKE,,,,don't fix it..
  • Cindi Cindi on Feb 24, 2016
    Maybe chg. out the doors, so there is more glass. And then put everything inside in basket or box, or something colorful and decorative. Then paint the doors either white, or some bright color, depending on what colors you go with
  • Snapoutofit Snapoutofit on Oct 13, 2016
    I love the idea of painting the inside and leaving the doors on. But instead of painting the inside wall, how about using modpodge and some decorative wrapping paper, or fabric or kids artwork? OR paint the back and modge podge the shelves?
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