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Multi-functional spaces and millwork

Today we have a great blog for you. This may inspire you to build your own multi-function custom millwork piece. Take the tools out and let’s go.


A family with three young kids asked us to redesign their playroom. They wanted a place that could be used for playing, reading, creating, and studying. The space was to be designed on a moderate budget and it was to accommodate the needs of a girl (aged 6) and two boys (aged 2 and 8).


To keep the room tidy and organized and yet provide storage for the many toys, we used IKEA upper wall cabinets, turned them sideways and covered them with an oak top. This became clean, inexpensive storage unit that also serves as a seating bench or a play table. This was an inexpensive solution which allowed us to use the rest of the budget on other items.



As we said, storage was an absolute necessity but due to the many windows in the room we did not have much wall space to use traditional vertical storage cabinets. This is when we decided to place the storage cabinets below the windows of the longer exterior wall. This gave an answer to many of the goals we were looking for; the area could be used for storage, reading, seating, resting, playing, etc. This also helped with keeping the open feeling of the room.


Being on a strict budget custom millwork was out of the question, so we decide to go for inexpensive IKEA kitchen wall cabinets.


First, we built the base, using 2x4 wood. We placed the kitchen cabinets on top, but we turned them sideways. Each cabinet unit was 15” x 14 ¾” x 30”. Four side-by-side cabinets fit nicely in the room.



We used eight 15” x 15” plain white doors for the cabinets which gave a clean look for the front face of the bench / storage unit. We installed filler panels on both ends to close the gaps and we painted them white to match the cabinet doors.



For the top of the bench / storage unit we used 8 x 1 oak boards. We attached them to each other, thus creating a deep enough top to cover the cabinets below. With the help of a sanding machine, we rounded the edges. We used the same oak boards for the backsplash. The natural oak finish created a nice contrast to the white cabinets and contributed to the warmth and lightness of the unit.

To keep the storage better organized we used bins, where the children could keep their toys, books, pencils, etc.


Who is ready to play?



Tip: Not everything has to be used the way it was intended by the manufacturer. One object can serve many functions, you just have to see them. Just look harder.


Following are links to the IKEA cabinets used in this project.




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