DIY Project: Upgraded Ikea Kitchenette

When it comes to my studio, my goal has always been to make it feel cozy, like home. I thoroughly enjoy whipping up eggs for lunch in my fully stocked home kitchen, but when my husband and I looked into creating a similar space in my studio, we quickly learned that moving pipes and electrical weren’t an option. Much like my DIY entryway peg wall project, I envisioned something grand but needed to modify that vision to fit my budget. So, we created this kitchenette: a finished wall space that we built out to house a small refrigerator, toaster oven, display dishware, store flatware and linens, hide trash and contain snacks. It would act as the gathering place that connects the entryway to work space.

My office space is industrial, bright and airy, so a mix of found and custom-made—wood topped white cabinetry seemed like the perfect way to tie it all together. We used Ikea base cabinets and counter top and crafted an open shelving cabinet to store dishware and kitchen accessories. We worked with our friends, Colleen and Kevin Kmetz, to draft and finalize the plan and fabricate the open-shelving unit. Lucky for me, they have a knack for creating custom cabinetry. To see how we pulled it all together (and how you can, too) click through to the rest of the post! –Christine Wisnieski

Click through for the full how-to after the jump!

*All Text Below is Christine’s*



(1) 15″ AKURUM Base Cabinet with 4 Drawers, Abstrakt High Gloss White

(1) 15″ AKURUM Base Cabinet with Pull-out Storage, Abstrakt High Gloss White

(5) 15″ BLANKETT Handles

(2) 4″ PERFEKT Plinth Toe-kick, White

(1) NUMERÄR Counter Top, Trimmed to 88″ Long, Sanded & Stained Dark Walnut


(1) 21.5″ x 21.5″ x 33.5″ by Frigidaire


(2) 3/4″ x 4′ x 8′ Oak Veneered Plywood

(2) 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 144″ Oak Trim

(2) QT Wood Stain in Dark Walnut

(1) QT Polycrylic Protective Finish Semi-Gloss

220-grit Sandpaper

Natural Bristle Brush

Soft Rags

Wood Glue

Finishing Nails

Wood Filler

Bar Clamps or Ratchet Straps

Tape Measure

Table Saw

Wood Screws

Wood Shims




With the instructions provided by manufacturer, assemble base cabinetry and set aside for installation.


1. Cut Wood

Cut base cabinet pieces from 3/4″ oak veneered plywood:

(2) Side Panels: 35″ x 24″ with 5″ x 3 1/2″ notch cut from bottom corner. Tip: Mark inside face of each side panel for dado groove for next step.

(4) Shelves: 33 1/4″ x 24″

(2) Shelf Dividers: 8 1/4″ x 24″

Make (12) 3/4″ dado grooves with table saw in oak plywood pieces above:

(2) Side Panels: Cut 3/8″ x 24″ dado groove in 4 locations. See drawing A.


(4) Shelves: Cut 3/8″ x 24″ dado groove down center of board.

Cut front trim from the 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 144″ oak:

(2) Top & Bottom: 34″

(2) Shelves: 31″

(2) Sides: 27″

(2) Shelf Dividers: 6 3/4″

2. Assemble & Glue

Once boards have been cut and dado grooves, it’s time to assemble. Start assembly by laying all panels flat on the ground with dado grooves up. Apply glue to grooves. Next, insert bottom and (2) middle shelves into side panel dado. Once in position, add other side panel. Gently flip the cabinet upright, add top panel and slide shelf dividers in place. Clamp unit together for drying with ratchet straps or bar clamps. See drawing B.


Once dry, dress front unfinished plywood edges with oak trim using finishing nails. Attach exterior pieces flush to outside frame. Shelves flush to top edges. Cover nails with wood filler.

4. Stain

First, lightly sand with 220-grit sandpaper. Once complete, wipe with damp cloth. Using soft rag, apply two coats of wood stain along direction of the grain. Once dry, apply three coats of clear protective finish with brush for extra shine and water protection.


1. Once all components are assembled, place cabinets in desired location. If running power to refrigerator, place unit in close proximity to outlet. If flooring is uneven, adjust with level and shims. Tip: Cabinets can be arranged in any order. Our kitchenette is arranged from left to right; Ikea pull-out storage base cabinet, refrigerator, custom shelf unit and Ikea 4 drawers base cabinet.

2. Using instructions provided by Ikea, secure cabinets into position. Apply counter-top. Secure in place with wood screws.

3. Once cabinets are secured, install toe-kick using instructions provided by Ikea. Tip: We left extra length on toe-kick to cover base of open shelving unit in addition to other base cabinets.

Custom dark walnut open-shelving unit feels polished but not perfect and offers easy-to-grab dishware for staff and guests.

Ikea’s flatware organizer helped turn a traditionally messy drawer into a place of efficiency (and fun).

Wood topped counter doubles as a buffet at studio gatherings.

We kept the look simple and sleek in effort to maximize our city skyline view.

  1. Lauren says:

    Love this! Also wondering the brand of that coffee maker…

  2. Francesca says:

    Beautiful and very functional. Will be absolutely wonderful as a buffet space as you suggest! May I ask if the lamps are DIY too? I seem to recall a similar project on D*S but cannot find it anymore…and I urgently need to make something similar for my bathroom!

  3. Thank you, ladies! Lauren, the coffee maker is a Delonghi KMIX. It’s a 5 cup, which is perfect for a few people. They make them in about every color—I picked this one up via Ebay. ;) -Christine

  4. Lizabeth says:

    Can we see a photo of the rest of the studio, please, pretty please?

  5. Andrea Manning says:

    Looks like One Forty Three lights to me.

  6. Guro says:

    Oh… the lamps, couldn’t find them at One Forty Three, where can I??

  7. Andrea is correct! The lights are One Forty Three’s swing lamp in mint green. We went with the 16″. You can find them here:


  8. Debbie says:

    This is gorgeous!

  9. Cuero&Mør says:

    Aww looks so cool!! Really helpful tutorial and well looking!! Great job!! :)
    We are working in something similar too, and hope we have it ready soon to show everybody how we did it and help to do your own!!

  10. Marc Hood says:

    Am I missing the $, $$, $$$, or project difficulty? This looks beautiful. Great job!

  11. Thanks for such an inspiring and helpful post!

  12. This is fabulous! I never thought to stain the countertop- what a simple upgrade.

  13. Lizabeth,

    To see more of the studio space, stop by my Instagram feed. It’s a work in progress, but I’d love to have you say hello! ;)


  14. Absolutely adorable! Can we get more of your space as it progresses on Design Sponge, please?

  15. Francesca says:

    Thanks Grace and Christine! I am definitely better equipped now to solve the “bathroom sconce issue” I’ve been postponing for ages! I tend to dislike most officially defined bathroom sconces, except for a few very expensive ones. These ones are cute and inexpensive…I might even try to make one myself!

  16. Monnaie says:

    Nice interior furnishing and interior designing!


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