You can transform simple, store-bought cabinets to custom-built-ins. It’s so much easier to hack something already manufactured than it is to build something new. And, it can look custom at the end. Built-in storage can be very useful, especially in smaller homes. Things like the floor to ceiling closets in our bedroom and the desk and bookcase that we added in our son’s bedroom and the wall-towall media cabinet in the family room make a huge difference. The Ikea Bestas that flank our fireplace are a built-in we haven’t mentioned in a while.

It was a simple process that made them look more customized than they did on the Ikea showroom floor. Let’s now get to the details.


You can see the view from our bed in the photo above. It may be something you remember from inspirational photos such as the one below. These were taken shortly after we moved in, while still unpacking. It was literally THE THICK.

After we had unpacked everything, it was obvious that the area needed matching storage. A cabinetry could be used to flank the fireplace and under the matching windows. It would also provide hidden storage that wouldn’t take up too much space. We knew that what we had was not going to work for us long-term.

Ikea’s Besta system was a great choice. It sold a 47″ wide cabinet which fit perfectly in the 50″ space to the left. We also added filler pieces to give it a wall-towall look. The Besta’s height also fits perfectly under the windows when paired with basic legs. It was a simple decision to use those legs and add custom details to give them a more built-in look. They were actually purchased in fall 2020. You might have noticed them in the background of our holiday decor post in that year. This photo is from back then. It does not include the actual holiday decor.

They weren’t “built-in” at this point – they were simply sitting there. We were so thankful to have more hidden storage that we didn’t rush to complete the rest of our makeover. These photos are a great reminder of how upgraded basic cabinets can look if you do a little more work.

It is worth noting, that the right one does not terminate in a wall because we haven’t yet added a wall. But someday we plan to build a bathroom right at that end of that builtin so that it will terminate into the wall and look perfectly balanced from the bedroom.


For other built-in projects, we’ve already covered how to add filler trim to Ikea pieces and baseboard to Ikea pieces. For a step-by-step guide, see the nursery built-ins and the walk-in Ikea closet.

Remember that filler trim may be required for two layers. This is what I did in last closet. The bottom layer will be attached to the side of your cabinet box. The top layer will sit on top, flush with your door.

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