DIY Up-Cycling Week: Day 2 Used Cabinet Workspace

On Day 1 of DIY Up-Cycling week, I posted (here) about recycling a cabinet door into a shelf. That was just the beginning of our make-over of a cluttered corner of my husband, Marc’s, small home studio.


A visit to the Habitat Home Center unearthed some awesomely 70’s, two tone kitchen cabinets.

After some digging around the used cabinet section, we were able to create a set of 3 matching cabinets, both in design and size! Price: just $20 each! We brought them home and Marc cleaned them up a bit. We took the color scheme and ran with it, basing Day 1’s paint colors on blending in with our “new” cabinet purchase.


Habitat Home Center has a large and ever changing variety of used cabinets, in multiple size and colds, as well as from many eras! Be sure to bring a tape measure with you, and any measurements you have about the space you need to fill.

Our plan was to make a corner unit workspace, with lots of storage and the ability to function as a counter for guitar repair, as well as a laptop friendly desk for recording. Because Marc planned to sit while working in this area, we decided to search out upper kitchen cabinets because of their shorter height. Since the studio is small in size (just 11’x7.5′), the shallow depth of upper cabinets was an added bonus in not taking up too much precious floorspace.

Then we began assembling the organizational corner unit. We used one cabinet to anchor the right side of the narrow edge of the desk.

The cabinets measured 12″ deep; for the desktop we made use of a 12″ MDF shelf we had in the house already. A 10″ shelf bracket was mounted to the left of the cabinet to hold the other side. Be sure to use brackets or find a wall stud to mount it too. In staying with the 70’s faux wood theme of the cabinets, I used wood-grain contact paper to quickly cover the MDF desktop. We attached it by screwing the countertop onto the cabinet and bracket from underneath. Side one was done!


The opposite corner was to be deeper, to accommodate the width of a guitar as well as our vintage radio receiver/record player. We thought open shelving would be better, to allow quick access to supplies and records. Marc removed the doors from the remaining 2 cabinets, and set them aside to reuse later.


We used another piece of MDF for the counter top on the adjoining side, which was cut to 18″x60″ for us at Home Depot. It too was covered with faux wood contact paper. I set up the remaining 2 open faced cabinets with the front 18″ from the wall, with enough space in between the length of one of the cabinet doors (you’ll see why later). Marc and I sat the top onto the cabinets, and I held it in place while he attached it to the cabinets using screws from underneath. We painted a pre-existing bookshelf brown, and it fit perfectly between the two cabinets.


Our open shelving area was complete, but we still wanted another desktop option for using a laptop. Remember when I mentioned saving the doors? We repurposed one into a sliding laptop desk! Using sturdy drawer glides, we were able to attach the door to the top of the bookcase, allowing it to hide under the counter when not in use. If you don’t need the extra desktop, the remaining cabinet doors can be used as well shelves above your desktop, or mounted between the cabinets under the desk as additional shelving there.


We added bicycle hooks and an old towel rack to the wall to organize cables, and seperated parts into smaller containers for easy access.


Creating this recycled workspace was cost effective and maximized the space in the room! We were able to remove 2 bulky pieces of furniture, and the pre-existing bookshelf is now nestled and functional. A small plastic drawer unit was tucked between the cabinet and the wall, allowing for more hidden storage; guitar pedals can be seen and switched out easily thanks to the open cabinets, and guitars can easily be maintained and repaired. The sliding “cabinet door” desktop allows for additional space, but only when needed, and we gained additional desktop space on the narrow side of the desk by leaving an opening wide enough for a chair (which BTW was a great, vintage $5 thrift store find!).



I hope our adventures in recycling and repurposing has inspired you to look around your home for scrap pieces, visit Habitat Home Center, and create something new from something old! It’s easy to get organized using repurposed items, and if you are open minded you can take their unique styles (such as the vintage flair and colors of these cabinets) and use it as basis for a whole design! And if you’re curious about our striped floor, come back later this week to find out the how and why on it!


For more info on Habitat Home Center in San Antonio, Texas:

Facebook link:

Twitter link: (@311Homecenter)

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received supplies from Habitat San Antonio, but all ideas, projects, and opinions are my own.

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