How To Use Stock Cabinets for Built-In Storage
Create a custom built-in storage wall using stock cabinets
There’s more than one way to ride a bike… or something like that.
That metaphor might not be exactly right but you get the point 😉
There are multiple ways to create custom built-in storage and we have tried them all!
When I am planning out which way I want to tackle a built in storage wall there are a couple of factors that I consider:
- Do I need to get this done quick or can I take my time
- What does my budget look like
- Is this space funky or will standard measurements work
When the budget is super tight and I have time to work in a space I usually choose the “from scratch route” like when we built our closet built-Ins.
The Children’s Ministry room renovation is a mix of needing it done quickly but with a more flexible budget, so for this built in project we opted to use stock upper cabinets.
Using stock cabinets for built-ins is definitely easier than building the cabinets and doors from scratch, but they do cost slightly more.
I have zero regrets though and was able to complete this project so quickly!
DIY Built-In Storage Wall
-2×4 Boards for Base
Using Upper Cabinets as Base Built-Ins
Using upper cabinets as the base for built-ins can save you money and are also perfect if you need a narrower base (which we did).
I started by removing all the doors, it will be 100% easier to prime and paint them if they are detached from the cabinet base.
Prime each door using a brush for the crevices and a foam roller.
Each door got two coats of primer, past cabinet painting experience has taught me this is a must.
Primer fills imperfections and helps the paint adhere better.
After the primer layer dried I applied two coats total of paint (enamel based paint is definitely my preference for painting cabinets).
Finally use a topcoat to finish off the cabinets, you can never have too many layers of topcoat in my opinion!
Assembling the Built-Ins Frame
In order to make the upper base cabinets the right height you will need to build a base for them to sit on.
Use 2x4s to create a box base, assemble the boards together using 2-1/4″ wood screws.
Next mark the wall studs and use wood screws to attach the first base onto the wall.
I prefer the cabinets to sit a bit higher so we made a second base and attached it on top of the first base.
Adding Stock Cabinets for Built-In
After the second base was installed, we added the cabinets onto the frames.
Secure the cabinets to the wall using wood screws, you can use brackets or screw directly through the cabinet into a stud.
Make sure to use a long level on the cabinets as you go.
Attaching the Countertop
To save money on the countertop portion of this storage unit we used two paint grade boards.
They are already pretty smooth so I sanded them lightly with 220 grit sandpaper, then stained them with a white wash.
After the stain was dry I coated them with the same topcoat I used on the cabinets.
I used wood glue to attach the countertop to the cabinets and added weight to the top while it dried.
Trimming Out Built-In Cabinets
To hide the cabinet frames I used a 1×6 pine board across the bottom, painted to match the baseboards.
After that was installed I reattached the piece of baseboard that was on that wall.
For the 6″ gap that was left between the last cabinet and wall I used another 6″ pine board cut down to size.
Normally you would make the gap even on both sides of the built-in, but the right side of this will be mainly blocked off by the door so it made the most sense to put the entire gap on that side.
Built-In Storage Wall Reveal
Have you ever seen a more colorful built-in storage wall!
This children’s room renovation has been so fun and I am absolutely loving all the rainbow colors I have been getting to use.
We desperately needed this storage wall to help us get this space organized and I am so happy it was quick and easy to put together.
I can say with 100% certainty that building this entire unit from scratch would have taken at least two weeks longer.
This wall is not fully complete though, I still want to add hardware to the cabinets and also add some long open shelving above the unit.
Here is the cost breakdown for: How To Use Stock Cabinets for Built-In Storage
(5) Upper Cabinets: $820.00
(2) Paint Panel Boards: $54.00
Paint/Primer: Leftover from the rainbow wall/room
(10) 2×4 Boards: $35.80
Total Cost: $909.80
Obviously this is a very long wall (186″ to be exact) so your cost will vary depending on the size of your wall.
Honestly though I am super happy we were able to build this long storage unit for under $1,000!
Let me know what you think of our new built in storage unit and what finish hardware you would choose.