The second “bedroom” in my house is small (9 ½’ x 8 ½’) and needs to be a multi-functional room — guest bedroom, home office, party room, and storage area rolled into one. I already had a Murphy bed built into the wall (for the guest bedroom) and a desk (for the home office), but I was stuck trying to figure out how to fit in all of the storage that I needed as well as a serving area for my annual Christmas tea party.
I had a long list of things that I wanted to be able to keep in this room:
- Storage for binders
- Storage for office supplies
- Storage for sewing notions
- Storage for the guest bed linens when it is not in use
- Shelves for magazines and books
- A place to put my printer
- Camouflage for phone and power cords
- Buffet serving area
- Narrow enough to let the Murphy bed open
- A sleek contemporary feel
- A bit of reflecting bling
Then one day I had an “ah ha” moment when I was browsing in the IKEA “as is” section. I spied some Jutis frosted glass cupboard doors with aluminum trim and a steel shelf. I suddenly knew how I wanted to configure the den so that it would look great and accommodate all of the storage I needed. There is no wasted real estate in this room!
Click Next to see how to build a glam wall unit using IKEA kitchen cabinets.
The Finished Wall Unit
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This is a sneak peek of the finished storage unit. Since I needed the wall unit to be narrow, I used the IKEA upper kitchen cabinets for the closed storage on the bottom of the wall. They were a little too low on their own, so I added some stainless steel legs to raise them up. I also wanted the look of the stainless steel shelving I had seen but it didn’t come in the lengths I needed so decided to make my own…problem solved with some inexpensive wood covered by aluminum flashing! Adding some mirrors behind the shelving helped tie the whole thing together, and reflect light back into the room.
This is the finished storage unit being used as a buffet for my annual Christmas Tea Party.
Click Next to see the instructions for how to build a glam wall unit from IKEA kitchen cabinets.
What You Need To Build a Glam Wall Unit
- Aluminum flashing 20” wide*. It comes in 10′ rolls.
The Lower Cabinets
1. Assemble the Sektion wall cabinets according to the IKEA instructions. In my space, I had exactly enough room for 2 double cabinets and one single one. The plan was to install the double cabinets on either end of the wall with the single one in the middle.
2. Add 4 legs to the bottom of each of the double cabinets (2 in the front and 2 in the back of each cabinet). It’s amazing how the legs automatically make the cabinets look like they were always meant to be installed this way! Since the single cabinet is not very wide, adding legs to it would make the bottom of the cabinets look cluttered but it still needs to be supported. Read on to see how I solved this problem.
3. Position the double cabinets at each end of the wall with the single cabinet in the middle.
4. Use some books or pieces of wood under the middle cabinet to raise it to the same level as the double cabinets. Then screw the cabinets together through the side walls on both sides of the single cabinet. This provides the stability that is required so that the single cabinet doesn’t need to have any legs. Of course, you can remove the books/wood under the cabinet after is has been screwed together.
5. Once the unit is in place against the wall, level the legs to make sure the top is straight.
Note: Don’t put the doors on yet…the countertop needs to be installed first.
Add a “Countertop”
I wanted to add a countertop to my cabinets that had the look of stainless steel without the weight or cost of stainless steel. This is where the aluminum flashing comes in handy.
1. Cut a 14″-wide MDF shelving board to fit the top of the length of the cabinets.
2. Cover it with aluminum flashing to make it look like stainless steel.
3. Attach this board to the wall with angle irons, and to the top of the cupboards with screws on the inside (be sure the screws are short enough not to puncture the top).
4. Install and level the cupboard doors according to the IKEA instructions.
Now you have a storage cupboard with a steel-looking countertop for less than $25.
In my house, this gave me the sleek look I wanted as well a place to store supplies, binders, etc. The printer sits neatly on top and the cords drop down behind out of sight.
The Shelves Above the Cabinets
The stainless steel shelves that I had seen in IKEA were not long enough for my space, so I decided to make my own (and add some extra bling). Here’s how to do it:
1 Measure the width that you want the shelves to cover. In my case, I measured from the side wall to the window frame.
2 Cut 2” X 8” wood boards to the length that you measured.
3 Cover the boards with more of the aluminum flashing (using the same technique as the countertop). Click here to see the instructions for DIY Glitz and Glam Silver Shelves.
4. Remove the mirrors from the frames.
5. Have them cut to about 2″ shorter than the length of the shelves. I took them to a glass cutting shop to have this done.
5. Hang the mirrors horizontally on the wall above the cupboard with silicone mirror adhesive.
6. Install the shelves using the stainless steel shelf brackets so that each shelf hides one of the joins where the mirrors meet.
The brackets, the mirrors and the steel looking shelves all provide sleekness and bling. And there is lots of space to store magazines and books!
The Finishing Touch
For even more added glitter, I strung nickel plated bead chain into a grooved rod and hung it as a decorative window covering (there is a blind that pulls down to provide privacy when guests are staying).
Now my den successfully functions as a home office with storage, an occasional guest bedroom, a buffet for my Christmas tea party and meets my esthetic sensibilities. No-one ever suspects it started with some IKEA kitchen cabinets!
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This post was originally published on November 11, 2015 but was updated with new content on January 8, 2022.