Sep 15, 2012

{Turning IKEA into Custom Built-Ins!} PART I

We’ve hacked IKEA, and we are loving the results…so far.  This is part 1 of how we did it!


For this project, we used the Hemnes furniture line from IKEA, again.  This time we used two Hemnes glass door cabinets with four drawers.  Simple and plain…just my style.

HEMNES Glass-door cabinet with 4 drawers IKEA Solid wood; gives a natural feel.

We love working with this line of furniture because it is solid wood.  It’s not particle board foiled over with plastic and paints beautifully!  (We don’t prime this stuff, just usually give it one coat of our trim paint; Sherwin Williams Extra White in satin).

First things first.  In order for this to be a “built-in” we needed to remove some wall baseboards. 


We used a Dremel multi-max to cut the baseboard straight down.  Then we just pried it off in one section.  Cutting with a blade usually makes this a lot easier.

We replaced the backing (cheap fiber board) with painted bead board.  We had the hardware store cut the bead board to the size we needed and then we painted it Ancient Marble by Sherwin Williams.  It’s a very soft gray green.



Then we placed the two cabinets side by side on the wall where we wanted it.  Justin used carriage bolts to bolt and attach the two cabinets together.

Once they were attached, it was time to make them beautiful!

We added crown moulding to the top.  Lowes has an awesome produce called Flip Face Crown Moulding…you make your compound miter cut and just flip the boards to have perfect corners.  It was perfect for this application and take a look at those corners…perfection!


Then we picked out our bottom trip.  We chose a window moulding from Lowes that came pre-primed.  It wasn’t wide enough to cover up the entire bottom of the cabinet, but we had a solution for that (read on).

First, we coped the trim.  We traced our wall baseboard’s design onto the cabinet molding.  Then just used his Dremel and cut the shape out.  It was like making a puzzle piece.


In the next picture you can see how nicely the coped edge fits against the wall base, but that the cabinet moulding isn’t tall enough to cover the open bottom.  We have a solution for that!


To cover the gap between the wall in the cabinet and the gap above the cabinet trim, we simply added lattice.



Miter your cuts and you will have a great looking base for your cabinet.

This is where we are at this point with our built in!  We have some painting to do, some finishing touches with hardware, and a few drawer upgrades!  So stay tuned, and I will keep you updated!  I’m off to have a great weekend!

Before I go, I have one question…is it “molding” or “moulding”? 

Be Well,


  1. I'd love to see an after shot of all your hard work, thanks for a great tutorial!
    Jessie, xo

  2. In American-English, it should be "molding." In the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth, it would be "moulding."

    1. Well, then I would just read this like I'm speaking with a British accent. :) Thanks for the info! I will be using "molding" for now on!

  3. Love your projects!! Thinking of a similar place in our home for this. We borrowed your door casing idea too! Thank you for sharing.

  4. The non-builder in me is so confused lol! But I just bet it's going to look fabulous! And I call it moulding. :)

  5. I can hardly wait for the finished result. We are so doing this. Thanks for sharing your talents.

  6. Just out of curiousity, why didn't you use the same base moulding for the cabinet as the wall? I noticed there was a bit of a height difference between the two, and my thought is that having them be even would add more to the built-in look. Your cabinets looks great though!

    1. Good question. We had a couple of reasons...First, we are going to add this molding to the base of our island cabinets. Since we wanted the island and this built in to look like a pair, we wanted the molding to be consistent. Second, our baseboards were hung before they laid the hardwood floors. Therefore, they hang a little below the top of the wood floors, therefore it would have been impossible to match. Plus, I kind of like the idea that it is different. If you look at built-ins, they don't always have the same base moldings of the wall, which I feel makes it look separate, but also built in.

  7. I have a big window (big) in my dining room. I have been thinking of putting built-ins on either side, with a window bench under the window. Do you think this Hemnes strategy (with the TV bench) would word for that?


  8. Did you paint the whole cabinet with the white satin or just the molding you added?

  9. Can you post a finished pic?

  10. Where did you purchase the new hardware (the cabinet and drawer pulls)?

    Thank you!

  11. Amazing job, I love it! Such a smart idea :)


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