How to use stock cabinets in your living room | Part One

Living Room

Have you ever been so excited about a project that it keeps you up at night? Well, let’s just say that both Dan and I have had some real excitement over this project. Today, we’re showing you how to use stock cabinets in your living room!!

Fess up time. Remember when we showed you our living room back in November? Ya. Some people noticed that we were very strategic in only showing ONE side of the room. It was deliberate. You sly cats are 100% correct. We didn’t want to show the far wall. Why? Because right now, it looks like…..this:Living Room Before Fauxdenza

This room has been a challenge since the day we moved in. It just always demanded more than we were giving it. Less clutter, more function – more joy and personality. It was only when we went through the experience of KonMari that we finally came to a common vision for this space that we couldn’t shake.

We took down our Christmas tree and I just started piling stuff up against the wall. I knew we were going to do something with it, and I thought that creating an annoying mess would spur on inspiration.

Living Room Corner Before FauxdenzaWe decided to build a floating credenza from stock cabinets. It’s otherwise known as a fauxdenza and it’s an amazing storage solution for almost any room.

As with most large scale projects, we doubled checked EVERYTHING before buying. Sometimes picking out the right doors for cabinets can be confusing – so we weren’t shy to ask lots of questions before feeling confident that we had the right stuff. I actually think the Home Depot employees know us because we are there so often!  Anyway – they were quite helpful, and gave us some tips for levelling the cabinets (which you’ll see below).

Here are the main supplies we purchased

Other Supplies we used

This is part one of our fauxdenza journey. Today, we’ll explain how we designed it, sourced the right products to build it and assembled it. Then, in another post, we’ll work on the finishing touches and styling. Doing both together made this post like a novel… so we’ll just build the suspense instead!

First things first, we created a rendering of our living room that was to scale. We knew we wanted something large, but not too large; something high off the floor, but not too high. A 3D rendering is a great way to visually plan out your space.Living Room Rendering

We settled on a fauxdenza design that would be about 18″ high and approximately 7 feet long. SEVEN more feet of storage!! WOO HOO!! The dimensions were largely based on:

  • Wanting to be able to slide standard sized bins or baskets under the fauxdenza
  • The size of the smallest rug we’d ever put in the space. It’s a large room and right now the rug is 8×10 – we’ve decided we’d never put anything smaller in the space. The scale of the fauxdenza was therefore based on the size of the rug as well.

First thing, we cleared the living room and found all the studs along the long wall. Studs are typically 16″ apart. We marked them with painter’s tape and actually marked a much longer area than we knew we’d need – just to be safe.

How to hang a wall storage unit

Then it was assembly time. The cabinets are fairly straightforward to put together. In fact, (full disclosure!) I went out to grab us some coffee and breakfast and by the time I got home, Dan had already put together two of the three cabinets. This is where it’s handy to have a rubber mallet. Dan finished the last cabinet while I sipped my coffee and ate my bagel … 😉Use a rubber mallet to assemble cabinets for living room wall storage

Now the hard part – deciding how far from the corner and how high from the floor to hang the cabinets. We actually agonized over this aspect for longer than it took us to actually assemble the fauxdenza. We placed the cabinets on the floor in the general area and then moved all the furniture to every possible lay out to make sure everything made sense.How to hang a DIY wall storage unit with stock cabinets

We settled on 22″ from the left corner as our starting point, and 14″ from the floor. This makes the total height of the fauxdenza (including the wood top) 33″.

Each cabinet is to be affixed using at least four 2.5″ cabinet screws, drilled into at least two studs. With our starting point in mind, we measured out where the  cabinets would fall in relation to each stud and drilled pilot holes through the cabinet backs. Then we cut down a 2×4 to the exact difference between the floor and the bottom of the fauxdenza – which in our case was 14″.

Find level before hanging cabinets

How to hang a fauxdenza using kitchen cabinets

We used the 2x4s to prop up each cabinet so that we didn’t have to hold  them up as we hung them. We just drilled the first screw in, checked for level and plumb, and then drilled in the others.

With the first cabinet hung, we used clamps to make sure the second cabinet was flush with the first, checked for level, and then attached it to the first cabinet with 1″ screws, and into the studs with our cabinet screws. Create a DIY wall unit with stock cabinets

It was the same process for the third. It might sound like a lot to manage, but it actually went quickly! The only curveball is that walls are rarely straight, and ours are no different.  We had to place a couple shims behind the cabinets where the wall was bowed. The shims ensured that the cabinets were plumb, where the wall wasn’t!

This is where we ended up! Then a big snow storm hit, so we brewed some warm tea, and picked up the rest of the project in the AM.

Floating living room cabinets DIY wall unit

In the next post, we’ll talk about why we chose the doors we did and how we designed and affixed the wood top! Oh and we’ll show you how we plan to use all the new storage space too 🙂

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