Using Stock Upper Cabinets for Built Ins

2 Materials
2 Days

I have been wanting to create built-ins in our downstairs family room forever now, but didn’t really know how I wanted to go about it. So while we were at the Cottage a few weeks ago I figured I would create built ins on this wall as my practice project.

This wall was basically a blank slate. It looked cluttered with items shoved on top the little table as well as overflowing storage in the box below. We desperately needed storage.

Instead of starting shelves and cabinets from scratch, we purchased basic stock, unfinished cabinets from Lowes. 

For our space, we purchased two 30×30 upper cabinets as well as two 36×30 cabinets. Once we got them into the space they needed to be leveled. Since our Cottage is old it’s very uneven. With the help of shims we got them perfectly leveled!

For the top of the cabinet, we used a 1×12 piece of pine and played it across. Since the upper cabinets are 12′ deep we also put a 1×3 in the back so the 1×12 would create a small overhang on the cabinets to give it a finished look.

For the shelves on top of the cabinets, we used 2×10 boards. We created a frame attached to the wall, ceiling and down the side. 

We then screwed in our shelves at the height we wanted.

I painted the cabinets and shelves using Benjamin Moore’s Advanced paint in Simply white. The same paint I used on my  kitchen cabinets.

What a huge difference this has made in the room. So much needed storage, a non cluttered wall and I think it actually makes the room look bigger!

Resources for this project:

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Tara Boettger

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Linda Carnes
    on Jul 24, 2020

    Why upper cabinets rather than lower?

  • Wanda cooper
    on Jul 29, 2020

    Love it, I'm stealing your idea!!! Thanks so much!! Gah!!! Why didn't I think of this???

  • Martha
    on Aug 2, 2020

    It looks like you added a toekick. How did you do it?

    • Martha
      on Aug 2, 2020

      Thanks. Yeah, that is what it looks like. They have to be high enough for the doors to swing out but not too high.

Join the conversation

2 of 54 comments
  • Genevieve Mehan
    on Sep 13, 2020

    We are adding on to our home, so my husband will have a billiards room (& I can have my garage back lol) and I was planning a wall of closets/cabinets and this beautiful project just did some of the planning work for me. Thank you!

  • Marjorie Underwood
    on Sep 17, 2020

    Looks terrific. Beautiful job!

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