Unfinished Storage Cabinet Makeovers

Freestanding cabinets go where you want to go and do what you want to do. Just customize these pieces for smart storage -- your way.


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Snack Center

    Keep the kids fed and entertained with a super snack cabinet that houses drinks, snacks, cookbooks, and even coloring books. Thomasville Cabinetry and a Wilsonart laminate countertop combine to form a freestanding cabinet that fits in the kitchen, pantry, or family room.

    www.thomasvillecabinetry.com
    www.wilsonart.com

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Extra Credit

    This custom-made snack center features a variety of shelves suited for each task. Frequently used items are ready at a moment's notice with open shelving. Cabinet doors conceal pullouts and compartments on the lower level. Having pullouts on the lower level keeps you from straining your back. Glass jars reduce space taken up by bulky packaging and allow you to see what's in stock.

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Breakfast of Champions

    Create a cereal station for the Saturday morning cartoon crowd. Airtight cereal dispensers are great for little hands. These containers from The Container Store feature a knob that dispenses portion-controlled servings without a mess. Place bowls and spoons in the same area for a one-stop breakfast spot.

    www.containerstore.com

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Secret Compartment

    Keep the kids entertained with a secret area just for them. The bonus drawer, disguised as a toe-kick, is the perfect place for an arts-and-crafts station. Kids can get in and out of the area without the threat of bumping their heads on cabinet doors.

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Green Team

    Teach your little ones to save the planet with a ready-made recycling center. The two-receptacle pullout lets you separate trash from recyclables.

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Baked Goods

    An antique armoire gets a facelift and a new life as a baking center. The shelves keep equipment, utensils, and ingredients all in one place. Pin recipes and coupons on the corkboard. Write out your shopping list on the magnetic chalkboard. Having all of these items in one place not only saves time and energy, it also frees space in other cabinets.

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One Tough Cookie

    A custom paint job and new hardware were just the beginning of this armoire's facelift. We rebuilt the doors, fixed the trim, refinished and painted the entire cabinet, installed a third shelf, added drawer pulls, and embellished the doors with a corkboard and magnetic chalkboard paint. Now this armoire adds antique flair to any kitchen.

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On a Roll

    The baking center features tons of storage options. Glass jars keep ingredients fresh and visible. Pegs hold pans on the back wall, leaving shelf space for mixers and cake stands. Painting the door with magnetic chalkboard paint turns the door into a multitasker. Compact magnetic containers store small ingredients such as sprinkles or spices, and the chalkboard provides a surface for writing a grocery list or a recipe.

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Within Reach

    Adding a fourth shelf provides a sturdy location to store frequently used items, such as a timer, measuring cups, and baking ingredients.

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Sweet Spot

    Cut down on baking pan clutter with a special drawer just for them. The bottom drawer is deep enough to hold a variety of cake and muffin pans. Two small bakeware organizers keep things in order.

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Drinks Bar

    Stemware, wine, and your favorite mixers all have a place in this stained and modified armoire. When it's time to create the concoctions, just pull out the wide shelf for a roomy mixing surface. This is helpful in a living or family room where other tabletops are occupied. Close at hand, a door is transformed into a convenient recipe center with the simple addition of chalkboard paint. Show off your cellar by removing the armoire's bottom doors. Buy a ready-made wine rack or create dividers such as these from veneered plywood.

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Slotted Rack

    Many armoires sold as media centers include a high shelf for a VCR or DVD player. Repurpose this space for storage of highball glasses and tumblers. Suspend martini glasses and other stemware from a slotted rack, available at home improvement stores. Screw the rack into the bottom of the built-in shelf or directly to the interior of the armoire's top. Finish the rack to match the cabinet interior.

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Shelf with Bar

    Another purchased item -- a kitchen shelf with towel bar -- helps out along the cabinet back, where it holds bar towels and displays drink garnishes and a jigger. To reinforce the thin particleboard back of most unfinished armoires, secure a 1-inch-thick nailing cleat to the outside of the cabinet with construction adhesive. Drive screws through the shelf and the back of the cabinet, and into the cleat.

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Wire Organizers

    Inside one door, hooks keep bar tools handy and suspended wire bins store mixers. Matching wire items organize napkins and coasters, and create sturdy tiered storage for liquor bottles and an ice bucket. Beneath this rack, a mirror amplifies built-in lights and adds glitz.

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Cheers to That

    Keep glasses, wine, and other entertaining supplies at hand with a beverage bureau. Nine modular units from Gothic Cabinet Craft ($911 unfinished and unassembled) come together to create a one-of-a-kind entertaining station.

    www.gothiccabinetcraft.com

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Bottom Up

    Stemware organizers are both beautiful and practical. The rack provides an instant display and frees space below for additional storage.

    www.containerstore.com

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X Marks the Spot

    Wine bottles create a unique storage dilemma. These X-shaped storage units are an ideal solution. Cut from 3/4-inch pressed board, each section holds up to three bottles.

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Behind Closed Doors

    Keep your beverages organized by creating designated zones for each type. The doors hide taller items, and the drawers store smaller items and stemless glasses.

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Craft Cubby

    Hobby and sewing projects have a new home! At bottom left, a slide-out printer tray and adjustable shelf find new use as fabric storage. Yard goods stay clean yet visible in clear plastic storage bins; small remnants, quilting squares, and needlework-in-progress stack on the shelf above. On the right are a wastebasket and drawers fitted with plastic dividers to organize small items. Magazines, pattern books, and other reference materials find a home tucked in stand-up organizers or lined up on top of the armoire.

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Paper Tray

    Where most people keep their keyboard, crafters delight in storing and protecting rolls of delicate art and wrapping papers. The shallow shelf glides out when you need to survey your stash, but its front lip contains the tubes until you're ready.

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Door Display

    Below the spool storage, frequently used items are displayed, some on hooks and others on small corkboard squares (available at hobby and office-supply stores). Hot-glue cork squares to the door panels, then insert cup hooks to keep scissors safe and rulers on the straight and narrow. On the other door, glue metal sheets and use magnetic clips to hold a calendar and cards.

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Ribbon Rod

    Designed to hold paper towels, bracket-mounted wooden dowels hang inside one door, skewering colorful spools of ribbon, string, jute, and cording you just unroll and snip to length.

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Garden Shed

    Plant this armoire anywhere inside to provide an organized potting place. Show off painted terra-cotta pots in upside-down stacks on a high shelf. Secure a paper-towel holder under the shelf for quick cleanup. Bottom drawers can hold anything from books and magazines to knee pads and hats. Remove one drawer and use the shelf to store fabric-lined baskets that hold bulbs and seeds.

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Shelf and Bins

    Galvanized metal is a practical and chic covering that makes any adjustable shelf durable enough for potting. Order sheet metal cut to size from a metal fabricator, home center, or heating contractor. A hole at the back of the shelf allows refuse to fall into one of three galvanized bins; the other bins hold potting soil and amendments.

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Pegboard Storage

    Perforated hardboard from a home center makes the ideal backdrop for functional tool storage. Loop-style hooks put forks, trowels, and weeders in their place (and store household tools, too). Cut a canvas shoe organizer in two and use half to organize plant markers, a planting journal, gloves, and other gardening essentials. Add ties to make an apron from the other half; it can travel from armoire to garden around your waist.

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Twine Holders

    Twine has many garden uses, from staking lanky stems to marking seeding rows and bundling yard waste. To keep twine tangle-free, nestle the spools inside lidded tins. Drill the bottom of each tin with a hole sized to slip over a dowel or peg. Drill a smaller hole through each lid and finish with a grommet. Thread twine through.

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Clothes-Care Cupboard

    Display pretty baskets, boxes, and jars on top; keep detergent, bleach, fabric softener, and other mundane supplies behind closed doors on the interior shelves. A spacious bottom section -- created by removing some shelves -- is ideal for tucking a folded drying rack and canvas hampers out of sight. When the ironing's done, hang the folded board on a hanger mounted on the armoire's exterior.

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Wire Racks

    Handy wire racks can be screwed to the armoire doors or stand on their own on an interior shelf. In either location, they put sprayers, glass containers, soaps, and ironing supplies in plain view and within easy reach.

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Supplies Basket

    A spacious basket helps take laundry supplies to the washing machine or corrals items too heavy or bulky for door storage. (It's also a place to toss those single socks you still have to match.)

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Hanging Space

    A former belt-and-tie organizer screws to the inside of a door to keep fragrant sachets at hand. A basket above holds dryer softener sheets. Laundry charts and a message board hang on the other door. You could also add a shelf to hold your iron here.

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Storage Caddy

    No longer just for billfolds and facial tissues, a handbag slung over the armoire door is just the thing for holding clothespins. The strap slips over your shoulder when it's time to haul the clothes basket outside to the line.

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