How to make simple and cheap kitchen cabinets

Written by shirl snyder
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How to make simple and cheap kitchen cabinets
Kitchens are the heart of a home. (Pretty young girl cooks dinner in the kitchen image by Andrejs Pidjass from

Money is no object when kitchen remodels are the project. However, you can allocate hardly any money for the cabinets and save the big bucks for the appliances and plumbing. Be willing to take bold chances with colour and with unconventional materials when building your own cabinets.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • China hutch
  • Dresser
  • Filing cabinet
  • Bookcase
  • Screws
  • L brackets
  • CD holders
  • Wire, chain, curtain rod
  • Wrought iron fence
  • Bi-fold closet doors

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    Inventory and Purge

  1. 1

    Assess what you really need kitchen cabinets to hold. Downsize your stuff and you may find that you need less space. Inventory the kitchen equipment and supplies that you actually use on a daily basis and dump the rest. That simple step will help to open the options for unconventional cabinetry.

    How to make simple and cheap kitchen cabinets
    How much stuff do you really use? (Antique, Vintage Kitchen utensils image by Scott Williams from
  2. 2

    Use china hutches or tall entertainment centres as the primary focal point of your kitchen remodel. Make a bold statement with a large piece and have the rest of the kitchen cabinets work into that design. Add shelving to the pieces, obscure the glass doors with tissue paper applied with white glue or paint in colours that show you know this is a unique solution.

    How to make simple and cheap kitchen cabinets
    Re-purpose a china hutch. (Welsh Dresser image by Hedgehog from
  3. 3

    Use dressers for the drawers in the new kitchen you design. Check to make sure the drawers are in good shape. Construct wooden frames under the dressers to raise the height to the standard 36-inch counter height. Paint the dressers bold colours, both inside and out. Add silverware, cooking tools, plastic lids, pot holders and whatever else fits in the drawers.

    How to make simple and cheap kitchen cabinets
    Dresser drawers make great kitchen cabinets. (Chest with drawers on a white background image by Dmitry Nikolaev from
  4. 4

    Repaint filing cabinets. Build a wooden frame under the cabinets to bring them up to 36 inches in height. Add a tile top, a laminate top or make a faux butcher block top with scrap lumber from wooden pallets. Tall file cabinets make great pantry storage.

    How to make simple and cheap kitchen cabinets
    Office storage systems work great in kitchens too. (red office #3 image by Val Thoermer from
  5. 5

    Secure open bookcases to the walls with L brackets for upper cabinets. Paint the insides and outsides of the bookcases an interesting colour. Apply wild wall paper or shelf paper to the backs and shelves and put away your glasses and dishes.

    How to make simple and cheap kitchen cabinets
    Ready-made open shelving for your kitchen. (Bookshelf 8 image by Tomasz Nowicki from
  6. 6

    Screw wooden or plastic CD cabinet to the wall to hold cups and glasses or spices. Hang these cabinets either horizontally or vertically. At about 6 inches in width and in depth, these make perfect cabinets to stack two or three on a wall. Add CD jewel cases as shelves or dividers between objects. Change it around to suit your mood or musical taste.

    How to make simple and cheap kitchen cabinets
    CD cabinets work for all that small stuff kitchens have. (cd shelf image by Michal Ciucias from
  7. 7

    String a series of high tension wires, chain or curtain rods on the walls. Make S hooks with 12-gauge or thicker copper wire. Hang pots and pans on the S hooks.

    How to make simple and cheap kitchen cabinets
    Heavy copper wire bent into S hooks to hang pots and pans. (spools with a wire image by Victor M. from
  8. 8

    Make an overhead pot rack with a section of wrought iron fence screwed to the ceiling using L brackets. Make S hooks for the rack with heavy-gauge wire and hang pots and pans from the rack.

    How to make simple and cheap kitchen cabinets
    Iron fencing on the ceiling (A wrought iron fence in perspective view image by david hutchinson from
  9. 9

    Make a tall pantry cabinet with old bifold closet doors. Leave all the hinges on the doors. Secure one panel onto the back wall of the kitchen and let the joined section form one wall at right angle to the back panel. Attach the second set of panels to the open side of the now secured back wall panel. Form a square with 3 sides secured and the last panel hinged as a door. Add shelving inside the new pantry. Paint both inside and out. Put away your cereal boxes.

    How to make simple and cheap kitchen cabinets
    Create a pantry with closet doors. (doors to be hung image by jimcox40 from

Tips and warnings

  • Use clear plastic shoe-pocket-over-the-door organisers to hold items you need daily or quickly.
  • Screw and bracket all upper and lower cabinets to the walls securely to avoid accidents.

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