I am sharing how we put built in office cabinets into a regular wall in our dining room! It felt like we added a whole new room with these cabinets! We got incredible storage, plus lost the dining room feel to the space. Now we have real home office built ins to keep us organized and productive!
How We Took A Dining Room To An Office… With Built In Office Cabinets
Our printer, scanner, paper, cords galore, and paperwork are kept inside these office cabinets here, out of site.
We went from this emptied out dining room:
to this back wall with built in office cabinets:
The shelves up top are just for pretty things. Cabinets alone would have looked too utilitarian for my taste. The built in office cabinets and the drawers underneath are really what we needed – they hold everything!
Cost of Built In Office Cabinets
The home office built ins didn’t cost as much as you might think! We finished the project right as the price of lumber began to sore (early 2021) so keep that in mind.
The cost of the cabinets and the materials needed for the base of built in office cabinets and drawers was approximately $800. The cost of the lumbar for the home office built in bookshelves attached above was also around $800. This brought the total cost of supplies to around $1600.
Your labor costs of course will just depend on who you use and where you are located. Painting was not included in this quote.
We did our homework and got a quote for custom office cabinets to compare! If you’ve been a long time reader here, my (slightly obnoxious?) style is usually to go with the “real thing” over the knock off. It’s just the way I am. Yes, my husband loves this quality about me. BUT! In this case, I couldn’t justify it, even to myself!
Would some of the details on a custom piece been a little more upscale? Perhaps. But we could modify the prefinished cabinets, and use high end hardware to make the finished product almost equally as good. I just didn’t see the value!
Building The Base: 3 Sets of Built In Office Cabinets + Drawers
Just a heads up, these directions are not overly technical, but will give you a good general idea of how you can accomplish this yourself.
I shared a lot of this on Instagram:
These preassembled cabinets came a few inches deeper than we wanted! Since the drawer and the drawer parts are not located to the backside of the cabinet, we cut off three to four inches on the back.
This made the cabinets a better fit for our office.
My handy man Ivan first attached all 3 cabinets together side by side, and then attached them all to the wall as if it was one long piece of built in cabinets, and added one large piece of real wood on top to form a countertop.
I wanted that countertop to be extra thick, so he also added a piece of wood around the sides of the countertop to add depth. This created a fat lip that sticks out farther than the cabinet beneath it.
Building The Top: 3 Rows of Bookshelves
I asked Ivan to use real wood for the shelves above.
He built a thin grid of 5 x 3 shelves, and attached one solid piece of plywood behind it all.
He put the entire piece of shelves on top of the base of built in cabinets and attached them to the wall.
He brought the floor molding along the front of the shelves so that it looked like part of the house and indeed, built in! This is an important step!
You can see in the photo above how Ivan added a thick vertical piece on the far left, and another along the top.
Because I wanted this looking custom and extra nice, I didn’t want the shelves looking flimsy and thin. Ivan added extra thick pieces of trim along the edges of all the shelves, so that they are thicker looking.
Adding The Trim
The last step before paint was adding trim to the sides of the entire piece of furniture. I wanted something chunky, with clean lines to match the room’s existing trim!
Painting The Home Office Built Ins
You could paint these yourself if you were up for the challenge! With 4 kids here homeschooling (this was in early 2021 when our schools were still closed), this step was just beyond me. So I hired my painter.
He closed the room off with plastic while he painted for two days.
Adding The Jewelry: The Unlaquered Brass Hardware
We went with Vespa Hardware for pulls and knobs. Hardware can either cheapen or upgrade your built in office cabinets, and after all this work I wanted that upgrade.
I picked out the Ronan line in the unlaquered brass. These pieces are so lovely and worth every penny. They are quite heavy and have a luxe look and feel.
I installed the hardware myself and regretted that! What a nightmare. This requires exact math and lots of brain power and took me several hours. I didn’t want to make a mistake on that fresh pretty paint.
If you take on the hardware installation MAKE SURE you use this template jig. There are 2000 reviews for a reason. I didn’t know this existed until it was too late (one of my sweet readers sent it to me!) This would have saved our marriage and sanity that night!
Sources: rug | desk no longer sold, similar here | desk chair | lights (size small) | blue orchid bowl | white bubble vase | Art is Gray Malin, similar here | bench | bench cushion
Built In Cabinet Accessories: boxwood | frame | matching blue and white pots | blue porcelain pot | faux topiary | brass knot object | olive leaf + marble object | marble bookends | moss balls in the white bowl | scalloped capiz
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