Asked on May 14, 2019

How should I determine what material to use for my project?

TrishGardengrazNaomie Moore aka baileyanddaisey, Castaic CA


I have a small older home with very little storage/closet space. I wanted to add a closet/storage bench along a wall in my dining room. I drew up some rough plans and took them to local Amish builders for a quote. They came in at $2500. We had them do our kitchen cabinets and they did a fantastic job, however this being a smaller project and to save $$, I decided I would like to tackle this on my own. I like doing DIY projects and we have done some other home remodeling. I would like to know what material should I construct my unit out of .

4 answers
  • K. Rupp
    on May 14, 2019

    Hi Trish, my husband is currently starting to make our kitchen cabinets so I got some information from him to help you. Basically you will want to make the storage unit and bench body with a 'Cabinet grade plywood' that is finished on both sides. Since it is a dining room and is standalone (not inset like kitchen cabinets) you will be seeing the side of the body of the unit so you will want it to be finished. You will also want the inside of the cabinetry to be finished as well. This cabinet grade plywood comes in different qualities, 'A' being premium. I can't tell if you have drawers in your storage unit but my husband makes the body of all the drawers with poplar because it is a cheaper wood but much harder than pine. He doesn't use pine at all in his cabinetry projects. Then for any cabinet fronts or paneled areas, he uses the nice wood like Oak, maple or cherry for the fronts. I have included a guide for you that he gave me so you can check out.

    Good luck!!! This looks like such a great project! I would love to see a picture when you are done with it. Come back and show us!

  • Nice plans! K. Rupp provided an excellent suggestion. My vote is to purchase from a "real" lumberyard rather than the run of the mill home improvement center. May cost a little bit more, but it will be worth it in the end. Much better selection of cabinet grade materials at many price points. Also they typically have excellent help. If you take your plans with you, they can help you determine how much to purchase with the least amount of cuts and waste - hang on to those scraps for future DIY projects! This will be a lovely addition to your home! Hope you will post the project here on Hometalk!

  • Gardengraz
    on May 15, 2019

    Great idea. You may also want to check out local flea market or resale shop for something that will fit where you want it and refinish it.

  • Trish
    on May 15, 2019

    Thank you all for the great advice regarding the closet/bench storage unit. This project has been on the "shelf" for quite some time. I do a lot of smaller projects, but have never tackled one this big. I think once I get started on it, I'll be fine. K. Rupp, thanks for the link to the guide and good luck on your kitchen cabinets. Gardengraz suggested as alternate to completely building from scratch, to check resale shops and flea markets for something that might fit the area. We think alike, as I have been doing that as well. I also liked Naomie's advice about getting supplies from a lumberyard as opposed to a home improvement center. She's right, I think they will be able to offer a lot of good advice and have good quality materials to choose from. Who knows, I might actually get this thing done this year!

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