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Turning a Cabinet into an Open Bookshelf

Here’s the process for how to repurpose an upper cabinet and turn it into an open bookshelf! We did this for our kitchen remodel project!

Seriously, one of my favorite things to do is find ways to use old materials to make new things.

When we had our walls taken down, we lost two upper cabinets. We asked the contractor to save them for us and they have been sitting in our garage for four months.

We had initial thoughts that we would put them up in the laundry room, but we found two better uses for them in the end.

The first is that we turned one of the cabinets into an open bookshelf to go on the end of our kitchen island!

Turning a Cabinet into an Open Bookshelf

How to turn a cabinet into a bookshelf

First thing I had to do was to make it the right size. The upper cabinets are taller than the lowers, so they needed to be cut down.

Turning a Cabinet into an Open Bookshelf - Charleston Crafted

Step one: cut cabinet to size

I used a combination of my circular saw and jig saw to cut the solid top part of the cabinet off to reattach later. Since it’s solid, we needed that to rest the counters on.

Turning a Cabinet into an Open Bookshelf - Charleston Crafted

Then, I went down 13 inches and cut off another section of cabinet to make it the appropriate size. The top was going to be reattached, but we needed to remove the appropriate amount to make the cabinet the right height.

Turning a Cabinet into an Open Bookshelf - Charleston Crafted

Step two: reattach top

The next step was to reattach the top piece that I cut off back to the main section of the cabinet. I used wood glue and caulk to make it look seamless.

Step three: build base

Now that the cabinet was the right size, I had to build the base. As you know, lower cabinets aren’t flush on the floor.

They have recessed bottoms, so I had to match that by building a new base. I used 1″x4″s to make a box frame on the back of the cabinet that would tie into the back of the existing island and added two stylish legs in the front to give it a modern look.

I had to add some extra pieces of 1×4 flat in order to compensate for the bottom lip of the cabinet, but this all worked out and created the base.

Turning a Cabinet into an Open Bookshelf - Charleston Crafted

Step three: attach to island

Finally, we screwed it into the island and patched over all the screws, then we painted it and our island a new color to get rid of that ’90s light oak color.

Here’s what we learned about painting cabinets!

I used a jig saw to cut out a hole for the island’s electrical outlet and that was it. We popped in shelves and all the sudden we had turned an old cabinet into open shelving on the end of our kitchen island.

Step four: add new countertop

Finally, we got the new countertops installed and it looks like a seamless island!

DIY Coastal Kitchen
DIY Kitchen makeover

This is an easy project and a great way to reuse an old cabinet. Click here to see how we turned the other cabinet into a tilt out trash can!

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