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How to Install a Built-In Storage Cabinet & TV Console | Easy DIY

Chris and I really flexed our DIY muscles when we created this built-in TV console and storage cabinets in our basement! When we first toured this house, I was SO happy to have a finished basement. It got bonus points for having a gas fireplace. We were pumped to turn this basement into a TV/playroom for our family.

Once we had moved into our new home, I quickly realized that the basement was lacking toy storage. We wanted a spot for our son to put all of his toys at the end of the day. I had a vision of a large built-in unit at the back of the room with cabinets on the bottom and open shelving on top. I relayed this vision to my husband and he was thrilled to add another project to our weekend activities (sarcasm!).

Basement Before

Here is what the basement looked like when we first moved in.

The basement before we installed built in storage for toys & the TV | Building Bluebird

Basement After

And here is that same view after we installed the built-ins.


How to Install a Built-In Storage Cabinet

Step 1 | Lower Cabinet Installation

First, we measured the wall where the built-in unit would be going. Next, we went to Home Depot and picked up 4 white stock cabinets that filled as much of the wall as possible. Stock cabinets at local hardware stores don’t generally come with the door hardware, so we purchased knobs and handles while we were there. We spaced the cabinets evenly across the wall and attached them to the back wall, making sure each cabinet was level.

To create the look of a single furniture piece, we attached the toe kick across all of the cabinets. Where there were spaces between each cabinet, we used the toe kick product to connect the edges of the neighboring cabinets. These filler pieces were attached using a pin nailer.

Step 2 | Attach the Countertop

We wanted to give this built-in unit a more rustic look and decided on plywood for the countertop. This was a really budget-friendly option and it was easy to fit and install. To attach to the cabinets, we just screwed directly down from the top of the cabinet. If you are looking for a more finished look, I would definitely recommend attaching the countertop from below. I applied a dark stain to the plywood top and loved how it turned out!

How to install built-in storage cabinets in your basement or playroom and maximize function | Building Bluebird

Step 3 | Built-In Shelving

Chris built the open shelving on both sides of the television and I painted them white to match the cabinets below. To keep with the rustic look that I wanted, I went to a local used building materials shop in Denver called, Buds Warehouse, in search of reclaimed wood. I wasn’t able to find reclaimed wood, but the workers offered me free pallets to use instead. I was pretty pleased that I found a solution and it didn’t even cost me a dime! Unfortunately, I did not realize that palets are built extremely well and not very easy to pry apart! My husband was not very excited about extracting the wood that I wanted behind the shelves. He ended up using a hand saw to cut each board to size and attaching it to the wall.

How to install built-in storage cabinets in your basement or playroom and maximize function | Building Bluebird

Step 4 | Paint the Walls

 The new addition looked so pretty, I had to get a fresh coat of paint on the walls ASAP. Ideally, you want to paint the walls before installing the built-in cabinet, but with a new child and both of us working full-time, we worked on any project that we could in our spare time. For this project, the paint ended up last on the list! I chose a pale blue wall color that felt really soothing and welcoming.

DIY built-in storage unit and shelving in our basement | Building Bluebird

Basement Built-in TV Unit & Storage Cabinets Reveal

This built-in storage cabinet came out even better than I had imagined!  There was more than enough storage in the four large base cabinets to hide all of our son’s toys. This area definitely became the main hangout space and playroom for our family. I applied chalkboard paint to the small closet door and added a craft table from IKEA in the corner. 

How to install built-in storage cabinets in your basement or playroom and maximize function | Building Bluebird

On the other side of the room, I created a small office/desk area for Chris and me to utilize. When the basement wasn’t being used as a playroom, the couch was pulled out into a bed and was used for guests. We were able to make cosmetic improvements to this basement as well as functional improvements with all of the additional storage and shelving.

How to install built-in storage cabinets in your basement or playroom and maximize function | Building Bluebird

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How to install built-in storage cabinets in your basement or playroom and maximize function | Building Bluebird