Adding Shelving On Top Of Your Kitchen Cabinets

Construction & Contractors Blog

If you have wood cabinets in your kitchen, and you are interested in making a spot where you can display items neatly, consider adding shelving on top of your cabinets. Most kitchen cabinets have tops that are recessed, making things disappear from sight when you set them on top. You can easily lift these items into view by adding shelving on top of your cabinetry. This is a relatively easy project that you should be able to complete in a few days. Here are some instructions on how to make your own kitchen cabinet shelving.

Getting Your Materials Ready

You will want to measure the cabinet where you are going to be setting shelving on top so you can buy the materials you will need to do the project. When figuring out the sizes of wood, use the following as a guideline. You will need:

  • (2) 3/4" x 1-1/4" pieces of wood cut 1-1/2" shorter than the length of the cabinet
  • (2) 3/4" x 1-1/4" pieces of wood cut to the same dimension as the depth of the cabinet
  • (1) 3/4" plywood cut to be 3" longer than the length of the cabinet and 1-1/2" longer than the depth of the cabinet
  • 1/4" x 3/4" pieces of molding, one cut to same size as the length of plywood and two cut to same depth as plywood
  • 2-1/4" crown molding cut to fit over the cabinet face and under the shelf

Go to your local hardware store to get plywood and molding pieces for your cabinets. You can use a miter saw to cut them at home or you can ask someone at the hardware store to do this for you to save time. 

Adding The Shelf

Nail the 3/4" x 1-1/4" pieces of wood to the top of your cabinet. The longer pieces will go directly on the top edges of your front and back part of the cabinet. Leave 3/4" on each side to leave room for the side pieces. Nail the smaller side pieces in the same manner. You will have a small overhang on the sides. These pieces are used to lift the shelf off of the top of the cabinet.

You will be nailing the large piece of plywood directly on top of the lifts. The plywood should be set flush with the back of the cabinet, giving it a 1-1/2" overhang on the front and each side. Use 2" nails to attach to the lift pieces.

Adding Decorative Trim

Paint your trim pieces ahead of time, allowing them to dry completely before placing on your cabinets. You can dress up the look of your cabinets by picking a contrasting color or by sticking to the color scheme of the rest of your kitchen.

Add the smaller pieces of molding over edges of the plywood by adhering with wood glue and then nailing into place. The crown molding will be attached in the same manner underneath the shelf itself. It should not obstruct the doors in any way, so make sure it sits flush against the bottom of the shelf when setting in place.

If you are worried about doing it yourself, you can hire a kitchen designer, like those at Kitchen Design by Ed Carlson, to build the storage solutions for your cabinets. 


26 January 2015

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