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  • Writer's pictureThe Rural Legend

DIY Built-In Cabinets

Using free (and ugly) gray bookcases we made the most beautiful custom built-ins for my parents' home office transformation! This affordable DIY project sustainably keeps old shelving out of the junk yard by making it look high end.

I started the design process for my parents' home office makeover by showing Mom and Dad a variety of office styles and told them each to choose 3. Collecting images of rooms that speak to you is a great way to get the ball rolling on a design project. Even if you only like one thing in the room, save that image and make note of what you're drawn to. Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration and it's almost always the first place I turn to!

built in cabinets, lick paint blue 06, home office

One thing my dad really found inspiring were images with large built in cabinet systems that included a floating desk. My parents' had 2 free (and rather clunky) bookshelves that my dad had the idea to use as the framework for a full wall built in feature. Being brutally honest, I was not convinced the bookshelves were going to look great or hold up to adding cabinet doors, but I was 100% wrong for ever doubting my dad's vision!

built in cabinets, lick paint blue 06, home office

We chose the most beautiful blue color from Lick called Blue 06. It's a deep slate blue and it coordinates so perfectly with the other wall color, Beige 03 also from Lick.

built in cabinets, lick paint blue 06, home office

Each bookcase got a coat of primer before getting several coats of paint. Once the paint was cured, Dad started by building a small base for the bookshelves to lift them high enough to run a 5 1/2 in baseboard around the bottom. Tim built a similar platform for our basement cabinet system. Once they were positioned and secured to the wall, he added one long shelf that ran the entire length of the built ins including the width of the desk.

built in cabinets, lick paint blue 06, home office

Above that shelf, boxes were built to take the cabinets to the ceiling. He also cut a one inch hole in the very center of the upper shelf to mount a hanging pendant light. I'll go into more detail on how they made this plus in lamp look hardwired in a separate post!

built in cabinets, lick paint blue 06, home office

With all of the main elements built and in place, Dad added trim to the very top of the entire built in and added decorative trim to hide the seam between the original bookshelves and the added piece for a seamless finish.

built in cabinets, lick paint blue 06, home office

To save a little money, my dad chose to use his original desk top as the floating desk in the built-ins. He cut the desk top to size and mounted it with angle irons to the wall and the sides of the bookshelves.

The finishing touch was adding cabinet doors for hidden storage on the bottom of each book case. They look so good!

Looking at this custom built in, you would NEVER know its humble beginnings! I'm so proud of what my dad built and honored my parents' let me design this space for them!

built in cabinets, lick paint blue 06, home office

With the built-in complete, it's time for my favorite part of the makeover - the styling! I'm so excited to hang all of the art I've been collecting along with styling their special treasures and antiques on the new shelves!

Make sure you're following along on Instagram for more updates and styling tips!

xoxo, L

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1 Comment

Jul 21, 2022

Wow - this turned out BEAUTIFUL! Can't wait to see it in person next time we visit! Way to go, team! :)

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