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DIY Kitchen Cabinet - to - Shelf Makeover

This time of year, it seems everyone talks about 'Spring Cleaning'.
Well, we all KNOW that 'cleaning' leads to 'makeover' projects, right??

That happened in the kitchen of my former dream house...
Stuck in the early 90's, it was really ready for a makeover.
The oak cabinets were ugly and basically non-functional: 
narrow, hard to get access to the back of the corner cabs, 
and the doors were hung to open backward!
Not to mention they were made of orange-stained oak, 
and there was a weird paint job on the kitchen walls. 
One day, I started emptying them to clean and re-organize...
and I was frustrated beyond belief with how little they held.
[ Let's just say I was a bit VERBAL in my frustration, shall we?]

The husband heard my grumbling, walked in, surveyed the mess, and asked
"Ya' want me to just yank those things down and build you some shelves?"
In record time, those suckers were off the walls and out the door!
[ NOTE: I do not demolish things. 
No swinging hammers and flying wood like on HGTV and TLC shows.
Those scenes REALLY make me mad, to tell the truth. ]
We removed the cabinets from the wall, hauled them out to the workshop,
then removed the doors from them. 

Those doors became the new shelves for the kitchen, 
and the sides of one corner cabinet were ripped into strips
 to create the brackets to hold the shelves on the wall.
The rest of the cabs were hung on a wall in the shop for storage.

Painted white, the new shelves were ready to go up within a day - 
AFTER the walls were painted.
A fresh tan paint color on the entire kitchen (walls AND ceiling) 
 unified the spaces that had been split by the overhead beam and 'bay' area on the window side. 
Unseen in the photos, a new track light was installed on the backside of the beam. 
White paint on the window trim made it seem much larger and more open than the previous wood tone. 

[BTW, the rest of the plan was to paint the lower cabinets white, unifying the whole kitchen. 
I never got that far before we had to move.]
The new wood shelf brackets were screwed into the studs, 
the shelves screwed onto the brackets, and the project was done.
Then I noticed that the shelves weren't spaced quite the way I had wanted...
but I didn't say a word. 
This was a vast - and FAST - improvement, so I was just grateful to have it done!

 I filled up those shelves and the counter space below them with functional and beautiful elements - 
and those shelves held over TWICE the amount of kitchenware than the cabinets ever had!!
Best part? This project cost us nothing but time:
We had the paint (our whole house was painted that color), 
we had the screws and sand paper and tools, 
and we used the old cabinet wood for the new shelves. 

It turned out so well, we ended up doing exactly the same thing in the laundry room, too.
But of course, I don't have photos of that. :(

 Don't be deterred from making your rooms function and look better
just because you think it will cost money.... it might not cost a cent!
My next post will have a fun re-purposing idea for your bedroom decor

More Spring decor inspiration on Pinterest!

shared online:
Cupcakes & Crinoline | Project Inspire{d}


  1. I love this look, Deb! I was talking to one of my boys today about wanting a new house with everything open...especially the kitchen and this was the look I was talking about. I also noticed you have dishes stacked in a cake plate...genius use of space. Sorry you didn't get to finish the paint job before the move but I'm sure whatever space you are in you make lovely. Thanks for sharing at project inspire{d} ~ pinning! xoxo mb

    1. Well, hon, the truth is that I had SO MANY white plates and dishes and cups that I had to get really creative with the way I stored them - so I just put them on display! ;) Sadly, I lost almost all of them when the crash happened. :(

      And thank YOU for hosting Project Inspire{d} - it's wonderful!