I am so excited to show you our latest project. These easy DIY built-in cabinets with shelves around a window and tips for you to build them too.
Our dining room is not only a gathering place to share meals but also where we do half of our homeschooling. A few months ago we decided to take all of our homeschool stuff out of the basement and bring it all into the dining room and living room.
Although I am so glad we did, our homeschool stuff has not been as organized as I would like. So after a couple of months of brainstorming, we decided to tackle a DIY built-in cabinets and shelves project.
Here is what the space looked like before.
MATERIAL/ SUPPLIES USED
- Unfinished base cabinets
- Benjamin Moore paint in Black Beauty
- 24” project board
- 2x 12”x8’ pine boards
- 6x shelf brackets
- Minwax stain (early american + golden oak)
- Oscillating tool
- Paint sprayer
- Circular saw
- Hole saw
STEP ONE: PLANNING
We measured the wall along where the window is and the total measurement was 138”. After measuring the space, I determined that I would be able to fit four 30” wide cabinets with one 18” cabinet perfectly.
When doing research on how to build built-ins using stock cabinets, I noticed that most people used upper cabinets. I wanted more storage space so we went kitchen base cabinets. Using base cabinet also allowed us to not have to make a base like people needed to do when using upper cabinets.
We purchased our cabinets from Lowes. They are the Project Source brand and at the time on sale.
STEP TWO: PREPPING FOR THE BUILT-IN CABINETS AND SHELVES
First, we started by clearing out the space to make room for the cabinets. We had a sideboard along the right side that held some of our homeschool stuff along with some miscellaneous kitchen items. I was not able to comfortably organize all the things I needed in this which is why we decided to tackle these DIY built-in dining room cabinets. Our turtle, Ninja’s aquarium was in the corner that had to be emptied and cleaned out. Ninja is now staying in the boy’s room. While Brian worked on the turtle tank, I wiped all the walls down just so everything was nice and clean before adding the cabinets.
In order to fit the cabinets perfectly along the wall, we did had to cut into the baseboards. Brian used an oscillating tool to get the perfect cut in the baseboard.
STEP THREE: STAINING THE COUNTER AND SHELVES
Because it would have been too expensive for our budget to get real countertops, we are using two 24” x 6’ boards. I was willing to live with the middle seam versus trying to find a board long and wide enough. The shelves are basic pine wood shelves. We bought a couple 12” x 8’ boards and cut them down to sizes we needed. We’re still building our tool supply so we used a circular saw versus a table saw.
After cutting the countertop and shelf pieces, Brian sanded and applied pre-stain. While he was working on that, I mixed the stain. The goal was to have a very natural lighter color but now full raw wood. I decided to mix 2/3rds Golden Oak with about 1/3 Early American stain colors from Minwax. I did not use exact measurements and used a plastic cup to eyeball it.
For this staining project, I just used a stain sponge to apply to the stain while using a clean one to wipe as much excess stain as I could. We also gave all the boards another good sanding after they were dry. I applied 4 coats of Polycrilic to ensure it was sealed and I would be able to wipe them down easily.
STEP FOUR: PAINTING UNFINISHED BASE CABINETS
We experienced a couple of mishaps with painting the base cabinets. I made the mistake of not sanding or priming the cabinets first. Because I did not properly prep the cabinets, I noticed a lot of roughness with the wood after the first coat. Even after a light sanding in-between the two coats, it was still not as smooth as it should be.
I also made the mistake of painting them in the wrong sheen. I first painted them in Sherwin William’s paint in the color Black Magic, which I love. This was leftover paint that we had from a fireplace makeover project we did a couple of months ago. It wasn’t till after the second coat that I remembered the paint was in eggshell. Knowing my kids will very likely get them dirty, I need to be able to scrub and clean these cabinets. There would have been no way I would be able to give a good clean to these cabinets in the eggshell finish.
I tried to apply a coat of polycrylic coat to them in hopes it would help but for some reason weird little bumps formed all over the cabinets. In the end, we ended up having to sand all the cabinets again and repaint everything.
I ended up going with my favorite black paint which is Benjamin Moore’s Black Beauty. We went with Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select in a pearl/satin finish and I am so happy with the results.
I used a paint sprayer for the doors and a foam brush for bases and drawers. Using the foam brush gives it a similar finish as a paint sprayer.
STEP FIVE: ADDING HOLES FOR ELECTRICAL WIRES
Once everything was finally all painted, it was time to put all the cabinets in place. We added a big hole to the back of the middle cabinet to have access to the outlet. We also added holes to all the sides and backs of each cabinet using a hole saw. This allows us to be able to run any wires we may need.
STEP SIX: SECURING THE CABINETS TOGETHER
Since there was a gap in between the cabinets, for extra support, we used extra pieces of wood to attach the cabinets to each other.
STEP SEVEN: ATTACHING THE COUNTERTOP
Once all the cabinets were better secured, we added the countertop using screws.
Although we bought and prepared to add 1×2” strips of wood in the back, we ultimately decided to leave a small gap between the wall and the back of the counter to be able to feed any wires.
STEP EIGHT: INSTALLING THE SHELVES
Lastly, we installed the shelves. We decided to only put one shelf up on the right side. Because of the bulkhead on the right side, I felt it would have been to awkward to have two shelves so we went with one the one.
FINISHED DIY BUILT-IN CABINETS AND SHELVES
Here is the complete DIY built-in cabinet and shelves.
WATCH MY HOW TO DIY BUILT-IN CABINETS AND SHELVES AROUND A WINDOW VIDEO
I am so happy to have tackled this DIY built-in dining room cabinets and shelves project. It has opened so much more space while giving us an abundant amount of storage. I can now better organize our homeschool supplies and have a designated office area in our home.
RELATED POST: check out out our extreme dining room makeover.
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I hope you find this post helpful. Comment below if you would or have done DIY built-in cabinets and shelves.