DIY Built In Cabinets and Window Seat

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

Whew! We survived! The most hardcore project of the Carney rec room makeover is finally over… at least we hope anyway.

2 weeks ago, the room looked like this:

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built-in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

This was by far the most challenging built-in project we’ve ever done, and there have been a couple over the years.

But this time, IKEA was completely out of stock of everything.

It’s all good though. You know what I remembered? Hardware stores exist and they have stock kitchen cabinets. Problem solved! I did once survive without IKEA as hard as that is to believe.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

After about a week, they are starting to look official! Just minus the cabinet doors and flooring and paint and all that.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

(Sorry for the flooring boxes in the middle of the room… that’s around the corner.)

I documented the process as much as possible while Robert and I knocked this out in a week.

DIY Built-In Cabinets

(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)

Supplies Used:

Tools Used:

Here was the obstacle though… on the wall where we planned to place the built-ins were baseboard wall vents. And there was definitely no easy or cheap way to reroute them somewhere else in the room.

The Base

1. We installed these toe ductors that allowed us to route the air vents underneath. We definitely wouldn’t want vents trapped under permanent cabinets.

2. Using a tape measure, we marked on the subfloor the depth we needed for the cabinets to sit against the wall.

3. Then, we marked the entire length of the wall at that depth using a chalk line.

4. We used that line to build the entire base using 2x4s, screwing the boards together and to the walls and floor with #8 deck screws.

5. We placed 2x4s on either side of the toe ductors so that they would vent through the front of the base.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

The Window Seat

6. Then, we started on the window seat, building support for behind the cabinets with 2x4s.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

We wanted that extra space behind these cabinets since they weren’t deep enough to create a comfortable seat and so they would end up being the same depth as the high cabinets, once they were installed later on either side.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

7. We set the backs of the cabinets with 1 #8 cabinet screw per cabinet into the 2x4s behind.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

We only used 1 screw per cabinet at this step so that we could still have wiggle room to line up the front of the cabinet frames.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

8. Using shims between the bottom of the cabinets and the base, we set each one level.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

9. Then, using clamps on the fronts of the cabinet frames, we adjusted them until they were flush with each other.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

10. To attach the sides of the cabinets together, we pre-drilled pilot holes and screwed them together with cabinet screws.

11. Once these four cabinets were set, we drilled two more screws into the backs so they wouldn’t budge.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

12. For the top of the window seat, we double checked one more time to make sure all of the cabinets were level.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

13. Then we cut a 1×10 and 1×12 pine board to the length we needed and screwed them into the top of the cabinets to make the window seat.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

The High Cabinets

14. Then we repeated steps 7-11 on both sides of the window seat for the high cabinets, screwing them straight to the back wall into the studs.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

15. Whenever we encountered wall outlets, we just cut out those places in the back of the cabinets with an oscillating multi-tool and used outlet spacers to bring the outlet forward to attach the face plate to be accessible inside of the cabinet.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

16. We repeated steps 7-11 again on the right side of the window seat for the 5 high cabinets.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

These were a little trickier to line up, but using a square and clamps helped to get them perfectly level with each other.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

Clamps are magic… see that gap?

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

Gap be gone!

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

Once they were lined up, we pre-drilled and screwed them together.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

Trimming Them Out

17. I’m the worst blogger ever and completely spaced on photographing this step for the gaps on the sides. So forgive this terrible photo…

We screwed 2x4s on the side of the cabinet and the wall then screwed a 1x12x8 poplar board in front to make the cabinets officially “built in” to the walls on the sides.

18. Then we attached 1×4 boards at the top of the cabinet frames, using the miter saw to cut the boards at 45 degree angles for the corners.

19. For the bottom of the built-ins, we attached 1×8 boards in front of the 2×4 base as the toe kick.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

19. Then we wood filled nail holes and caulked gaps like crazy.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

20. Once the wood filler was dry, we sanded it smooth.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

21. For the last little step, we attached the vent covers where we had left space for the Toe Ductors.

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

 

A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

The Finished Built-Ins!

Check! Done! My gosh this one kicked our butts.

But look how massive this room looks now! And all of that glorious storage. We’re leaving the cabinet doors off for now because all of it will be getting painted soon.

Before that happens though, new floors are going in next. A step-by-step tutorial to build DIY built in cabinets and a window seat using inexpensive stock kitchen cabinets.

This room will finally start to look pretty! We’ll be sharing the whole messy process over on our Instagram Stories in the meantime.

Similar Posts

20 Comments

  1. Wow! You deserve a rest now! What an improvement you guys did for this room! I can’t wait to see the completed room!

  2. I am searching fir the words to tell you just how outstanding this job looks. I can hardly wait to see the end results, because I know it will be breathtaking, drop dead gorgeous. I wish I could afford to have you and your husband to come to our home and decorate it. I love your work.

  3. What an undertaking! But so smart to use the cabinets. But just trying to get things level, outlets/heating and air vents in, and finishing work done so you can paint are major. One question…why do you put the floors in before you paint the cabinets?

    1. Thank you! It was definitely quite a job. We like to go ahead and put the floors in so we can then put in the baseboards / shoe molding and paint those along with the walls. So we will do the entire room, including cabinets, in a couple of days with a sprayer, which will make it go faster, and we’ll cover the floors to tackle all of it.

  4. You two are a great team! I love how you problem solve and always come up with a lovely finished product. This room is going to live large as your kiddos (and their friends) morph into big kids. Well done.

  5. That’s amazing! My husband and I bought an old house last year and still have not done any of the work, but have hope to work on it this year. Working in healthcare has proved challenging to work in our forever home. Thank goodness kids are resilient and don’t complain much.😀

  6. Wow it looks great and light details you addressed! A question, why did you not paint the cabinets before installing the new floors? Thanks and blessings Bj

  7. Wow! Looks fantastic. Thank-you for sharing the details on baseboard heating ducts/vents and how you did the outlets. Those are always questions I have, but never see how others work around those challenges.

  8. You guys rock!! Great job for much needed storage that also looks great. Love the window seat too. Looking forward to see it all painted and complete!

  9. Wow! You guys are amazing! That room is going to be spectacular and you’re right… when you become a parent, ‘storage’ really does become one of the most important words in your vocabulary, ha. Thanks so much for sharing such detailed posts. Love ’em and can’t wait to see more of this awesome room.

  10. DIY Built In Cabinets and Window Seat projects i personal think is super fantastic! You have the ability to choose what size cabinets to have. The window seat is a great size. I do agree how the room looks bigger. I dig it. …..alot👍

  11. Thanks. For showing us every step,complete with pics.No shortcuts (calk ,wood filler and sanding) make the difference between good enough and good. Great job

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.