Home » How to Add Built-In Cabinets to your Room – One Room Challenge Week #3

This week we’re adding built-in cabinets to our multi-purpose dining/playroom, made from repurposed upper kitchen cabinets!

Add built-in cabinets

Hi, Friends and welcome back to week #3 of the latest round of the One Room Challenge hosted by Calling It Home!

In case you’re new here or missed last week, I’m working my hiney off, as well as my hubby’s, to turn my formal dining room, currently being used as a poorly designed playroom with dining room furniture, into an actual playroom with dining room potential – aka a multi-purpose room! This week I’m also looking for your opinion on a design choice – Maybe it’s because it’s week 3 – the halfway point – but I’m drawing a blank. Help!
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So, last we talked, our room was looking a bit like this:
I’d love to tell you we’ve turned a huge corner – we haven’t. We’re working hard, but much of what we’re working on ends up looking about the same, which is a little frustrating! We’ve mainly focused on getting our built-in’s completed, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today!

How to Add Built-In Cabinets to your Room

You might remember my mentioning we’d received the cabinets we used from a friend remodeling their kitchen for the best price ever – free. The fabulous thing about them is that they were free! The not so great things about them? Well, all three cabinets were different sizes, which means their doors were different sizes, with each door’s hardware placed differently. Their various materials also made making them appear to be one unit a teeny bit challenging!


I used Zinsser primer with shellac to cover the cabinets made from laminate. This primer helps to ensure paint stick to a slick laminate surface. After that, I followed up with Americana Chalky Finish paint in Everlasting and covered with cream wax to protect the finish.
Once we had the bases painted and installed,  we added the doors prior to completing the counter. We wanted to ensure the cabinet doors were where they should be, and we could close them. At that point, we realized that all of the hardware wasn’t going to fit the same way and that we’d not marked anything when we took them off. Doh!
After a few hours of some light cursing and maybe the throwing of at least one hidden hinge that appeared to be missing a screw, we finally mounted the doors!
The insides of the cabinets also received a bit of love in the form of all-over contact paper! It’s washable, it’s easy to apply, and it looks so lovely!
I’m still trying to figure out cabinet hardware for the doors in the way of pulls and was hoping you might be kind enough to share your opinion! I want to keep it simple. I like both of the ring-pulls below but like the simplicity of the bar and knob. What do you think? Cast your vote in the comments!
1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Next, came the counter-top. After a bit of research, we decided to create the counter-top using 8′ boards between 4-6″ wide, and to fasten it using our Kreg-jig that we’ve had for about 3+ years and have never used!

Once we figured out how to use it (thank you, April) and we found our groove, everything moved pretty quickly.

There was a lot of sanding to follow and a good staining using Rustoleum Gel Stain in Aged Oak. Lucky for us we’ve had perfect weather for staining and sanding and could do most of it outside.

Finally, we finished removing the crown molding from above the cabinets to make room for the shelving and added a bold splash of color, Glidden’s True Navy in Satin finish, that will show through the shelves. Below is the first coat.

Next, my husband built the bookcase and added it to the base. We added trim around the edges of the shelves to beef them up, followed by crown molding around the top of the bookcase.

And here they are, completed!


Built-in Cabinets

I LOVE them and the focal point they’ve created in the room.

In other news,  our storage benches are here!

Rug | Benches | “Smile” Pillow

Love them! My favorite feature is how multi-purpose they are! As you can see, when they are not on dining room duty, they’ll act as both a window seat bench and ample and roomy toy/other storage.

“Smile” Pillow

You may recognize the cute little smile pillow from this month’s Silhouette Challenge!

When duty calls, they can move into place using the attached casters, to become comfortable and durable table benches. Loving them, aren’t you? What I’m not loving? That dirty floor!


And we’ve got a handy electrician in to start working on our lighting – super excited to share that with you next week!

All in all, a reasonably productive week. I’m feeling good about our progress, but I’m also feeling the stress of all there is left to do. It’s crunch time!

So, here is where we are on our to-do list:


built-ins || these will be along the main wall and visible from all angles
table || build a restoration hardware table with a fold-out top
storage/dining benches || benches that will work for dining and toy storage
new dining chairs || side chairs useable as dining chairs 
artwork || something fun but appropriate for a dining room
mobile storage cart || this will work as the primary book storage for the playroom
paint || a neutral color that reflects natural light and a colorful feature wall
rug || pattern, texture, and color
lighting || less “chandelier” like overhead, table lamps and recessed lighting
window treatments || updated and cordless

I’m SO excited to have crossed a few off the list! I’m hoping to check off the rest remaining at warp speed! Yikes!

Be sure to take a peek at the all of the other participants as well! There are some AMAZING designs coming out of this challenge – you don’t want to miss it!

knockitoffkim.com projects


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  1. Stacey says:

    Oh my gosh. I get it now! The benches are an amazing idea…will you use those as seating for dinner time? I love the built in you are creating. The blue on the wall is really pretty.

    I hope you'll join us at Thoughts of Home on Thursday today. We'd love to have you.

  2. I'm loving how those built-ins are coming (and the storage benches look super comfy). I think I prefer the pulls #3 + #4 more than the rings, but only because I think they are more child-friendly (to me, the rings always snap back too hard and could ding your furniture – but maybe I've been using them wrong).

  3. Melissa Woods says:

    Love the style of the benches and the built ins are phenomenal, you do great work! I wish I had carpentry skills to build a cabinet like that. Way to go!

  4. Leslie says:

    You did a fabulous job making all those cabinets appear as though they belong together. I've also been loving the combination of navy and white these days. Keep up the great work!

  5. I would choose knob #4 for the cabinets because I think it would go with the simple classic style of the doors. The stainless steel knob is too modern and the pulls look kinda busy and complicated for kids. Looks great so far! The rug is still my fave part!!!

  6. Uncookie Cutter says:

    Ah, it's amazing Kim!!! Love how it's coming along! I remember the old dinging room and this is looking so much lighter and brighter already! Love the rug, too – don't think I've seen it yet. Keep trucking along, it's going to be fabulous!

  7. Kristin Thompson says:

    Love your new built-ins…and I love the little touch of doing the chevron contact paper, such a great idea! Looking great! Kristin @ Postbox Designs

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