Before & After: These Thrifted Kitchen Cabinets Get an Unexpected New Life

updated Dec 15, 2020
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Before: Three separate white cabinets

For sparking DIY inspiration, it’s hard to beat second-hand stores. While some pieces might be totally ready to use, most need a little tweaking — and sometimes, that can lead to reimagining old things as something totally different.

Take it from Jennifer Mullinax, who was looking for more storage at her studio apartment when she spotted three sets of used kitchen cabinets for just $25 each at Habit for Humanity’s ReStore — and saw something greater in their future. “I’ve been trying to figure out a solution for years that would help me solve the lack of kitchen storage and help me feel more organized,” Jennifer says.

She’d decided to add a sideboard behind her couch to help add extra storage space. But finding the exact right thing proved tricky: “I spent a couple weeks searching thrift and resale stores for a cabinet dresser or buffet that I could refinish but had a hard time finding something that was just the right size,” she says.

Finally, she stumbled on these kitchen cabinets that were the exact right price, and decided she could build her own sideboard.

Jennifer designed and built her new sideboard over about three weeks. She purchased birch plywood for the top, staining it a walnut brown. She also bought white MDF to line the back, since it was visible above her couch.

For the front, Jennifer chose a simple design in show-stopping colors. Replacing the old hardware on the cabinets gave the fronts a clean, modern finish that blends in with the rest of her apartment.

Inside, Jennifer fitted the sideboard with three new shelves in each cabinet, which helps her pack a ton more storage inside. All told, the project cost just $175 — and Jennifer was able to do pretty much everything herself inside her small studio apartment. “It was a bit cramped in here for about a week!” she says.

The end result was worth the (temporarily) cramped quarters, though. “It’s the answer to my storage an organization dreams and adds a fun design concept and piece of art to my space,” Jennifer says. “Plus, I relish the fact that it’s a completely one-of-a-kind piece.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: These $75 Kitchen Cabinets Get an Unexpected New Life