I know you have all see those cheap cabinets or other furniture that are made of particle board with the laminate covering…well if you stalk the free section on craig’s list they are EVERYWHERE. This type of furniture can be very useful, but let’s face it, they are not much to look at!
With a little TLC and some inexpensive wood we can fix that!
Last week I went to pick up some free wood (that I found in the free section of craig’s list) and was surprised to find they had a few other things for free too. Like the above cheap laminate cabinet, and a beat up folding table. I grabbed the wood and threw the other two items in as well…you never know right…
I hadn’t planned on using the cabinet anytime soon but a few days later while thinking of a spot in my living room that needed a bench I had an idea, I could turn the cabinet into a storage bench! (Oh, and that folding table? It is my new work surface, you can see the top is pretty scratched up, but I don’t care!)
I quickly set to work, using some of the scrap wood I had gotten and pieces from my own huge scrap pile. I used 2×4’s on the bottom and glued and nailed them all around the bottom edges. This serves two purposes, to beef up the base so I can add trim and have somewhere to nail it into, and to have a place to add feet or casters on the bottom.
Once the base was added I flipped the cabinet over and looked for scraps to add to the top. I wanted to use a thinner material so I could add 1×2’s for the trim later and I happened to find some fun scraps…Can you guess where they are from?
Ok, probably not…they are from one of my recent contributor posts here, my Kid’s Old Drawer Media Cabinet. When I repurposed the drawers to make it, I had to trim off the edges of each drawer and these were the left over scraps. They were the perfect thickness, so I glued and nailed them on! You will also see the weird shaped ones in the middle…I was out of the drawer scraps and wanted some middle support for the bench top, and these scraps were also the same thickness. They were left over from the Repurposed Crib Dog Crate that Sunny is still loving. Moral of the story…never throw away anything!! Actually throwing things away is good, but scraps can come in handy. 🙂
This is what it looked like after bulking up the top and the bottom. Next up? Trim!
I grabbed a piece of 1×3 from my stash and cut the ends it at a 45 degree angle to the length I needed to cover the front of my cabinet. Then I cut a smaller piece for each side. I like the look of the angled corners but you could do straight cuts instead like I did in my DIY Tray Stand. I eventually glued and nailed it on, but I did it after I had finished the top trim.
I had several 1×2 furring strip scraps left over from other projects and I used them to do my top trim. I cut first and made sure they fit. Then I added glue and nailed them on. I made sure to put glue on each corner as well. See how nicely the trim covers up the ugly edges and makes it clean and crisp.
Once I got the top and bottom trim attached, it was time to add the vertical trim. I could have just used 1×2’s here, and that was my original plan, but I found these random strips of wood that were a little thinner and so I used them instead. I measured each one to where it needed to go, then marked and cut it. I made sure to use shorter nails so they didn’t poke through on the inside when I nailed them on. On the front edges I doubled up the trim (top right photo). I filled all holes with spackle when I finished.
All that I had left to do was make the top. I had purchased some 1×4 furring strips for something, I can’t remember what, and they were still laying around unused…so I used them! I cut them to fit the top with a very small overlay on the sides and front (like 1/4 inch). Then I marked them for pocket holes and drilled away with my Kreg Jig.
Since it was getting dark and cold I came inside to finish. My good old standby, the kitchen. 🙂 To create the bench top I clamped two boards together and added the pocket hole screws . Then I added the third board, and then the fourth. Super easy!
This is where I had an internal conflict. What stain to use? I almost ALWAYS go for the dark stain, I LOVE it! But, I wanted to try something different, so I busted out my Rustoleum’s Weathered Gray. It is such a pretty stain and reminds me of blue (my favorite color). I used it for the first time on my Old Deck Wood Laundry Crate and have loved it ever since. I gave the top of the bench one coat.
Next morning I took the old cabinet, soon to be new bench, outside to paint. Here it is after one coat. I had a can of white spray paint so I used that, and used half of another.
After I was done painting I grabbed some casters that I had gotten for free at a city clean up, and pre-drilled and screwed them on.
I sealed the bench top with three coats of poly after staining, making sure to sand with 400 grit sand paper between coats 1 and 2, and it was ready to go on the new bench. I applied my favorite Gorilla Wood Glue and then nailed the bench top on. Sorry no picture. I did want to point out that I when I added my scraps to the top I had to avoid these random sticking up screws…I worked around them, and it was just fine. 🙂
All done! It really is such a simple fix. No one would ever know that this used to be a cheap old cabinet! Using furring strips from the Home Depot, it would be less than $20 for what I did.
Look at all that storage! I have plans for those cubbies, and if you know me well you could probably guess what I am going to build to put inside each of them… Regardless, that is a post for another day, and I will be sharing it here in a few weeks, so stay tuned!
I have to be honest, these pictures are just not getting the stain color, it is much prettier in person. 🙂
I made a pretty weak attempt to stage some books in the bench…
But, it gives you an idea of how useful this bench can be! If I had a spot for a mudroom this would be a great candidate for that job.
For now it is going under my window, and it is perfect there! I just need some cute pillows. Sunny kept photo bombing, so I just gave up and let her stay.
I know I have said it before, but I am always amazed at what you can do with free junk!
I hope you look at cheap laminate furniture in a new light. Maybe you have your own that you could revamp…Would you be willing to give it a go?
It never hurts to try, you have nothing to loose!
see more of Mindi’s posts on MRL below: