Last week we talked about our plans for the new built ins in the family room, and how I’ve been dreamily staring at this picture…

and trying to figure out how to turn it into this picture…

I eventually got here, with the help if the Ikea kitchen planner tool.

And first things first… where to get the cabinets. We decided that would would choose between Ikea, Lowe’s, and Home Depot stock cabinets.  These are built ins, so they’re not going to be used heavily everyday, and we’d like to do this on a budget.  I’d much rather splurge on quality kitchen cabinets than this area.

So first, let’s talk about the look.  From some of my Pinterest research, most built ins seem to be pretty narrow, about the width of the upper cabinets in most kitchens (~12″). For example:

Love the look of these, but we have the space in our family room for larger cabinets, AND I wanted them to look full and incorporated with the weird bump out that we’re dealing with.  If we went with narrow cabinets like these, then the bump out would definitely stand out.  Ha.

So, we decided to go for typical base cabinets which come in about 24″ depths.  The area we needed to fill was about 166″ long.  We got really stuck on doing the same sized cabinets all across, and the maximum we could do with not going to crazy on filler pieces was five 30″ cabinets across.  That would put us at about 16″ leftover to figure out with filler pieces.

Then, the more I played with the model, the more I realized that I was being stupid.  Not all of the cabinets had to be identical.  We could make the 2 cabinets on the end larger to fill up the extra space.  So we ended up with two 36″ cabinets for the ends, and three 30″ cabients for the middle.  This gives us about 4 inches to play with in the spacing.  PERFECT!

So, with Lowe’s and Home Depot stock cabinets, we had really only one option in the style:

This is a typical kitchen cabinet with working drawer (although there is an option to go for a false drawer for it to be a sink base cabinet).  But, hey, if we’re going to have space for the drawer, why not have it actually work?

From Lowe’s and Home Depot, we could have gotten cabinets that were stock, but already white, but from what we saw, they were marked up about 60% more in price.  Lowe’s also offered white in a shaker style cabinet, which I think is pretty, but I wanted to stick to a more traditional style for our colonial style home.  Plus, I want these cabinets to match the molding in the rest of the room, so what if they were slightly off white, and I had to paint them anyway? No thanks.

Now, Ikea offers a ton of different styles. Here is just a small snippet of the styles you can choose from, and many didn’t even fit on the page.

I was getting all excited about these possibilities until I realized how it would just start to add up.  The more drawer hardware you need, the pricier it will be.  I went back to some of my inspiration pictures, and realized that most built in cabinets don’t actually have drawers, they’re mainly just the two doors that swing open, like in some of the inspiration pictures I showed above.  So, that cut back all my crazy ideas and helped me make sure I wasn’t going with anything too over the top.

So I narrowed it down to the following:


  • 30″ Base Cabinet: $127
  • 36″ Base Cabinet: $148
  • Doors: Oak
  • Frame: Particle board

Home Depot:

  • 30″ Base Cabinet: $117
  • 36″ Base Cabinet: $137
  • Doors: Beech
  • Frame: Particle Board


  • 30″ Base Cabinet: $195
  • 36″ Base Cabinet: $226
  • Doors: Fiber board and acrylic paint
  • Frame: Particle board

Price-wise, Home Depot won. For our needs of two 36″ and three 30″ cabinets, the totals came to:

Lowe’s: $677

Home Depot: $625

Ikea: $1,037

Ikea was pretty much eliminated when I found out that I couldn’t quite get the style door I wanted in a pure white.  It said it was an “off-white” and no way was I going to try and paint them.  Plus, if I was going to end up painting them anyway, why not get cabinets that were made of real wood doors rather than fiber board?

Home Depot ALMOST got our business. However, their website wasn’t showing any reviews for these cabinets.  Also, Lowe’s happened to be having a 25% off sale that ended the next day. LOWE’S WINS!  The total came down to $507.75 for all 5 cabinets.

I headed to the store near us that showed the most in stock online, the next day with my little helper, and we got the associates to help us rummage through the cabinets.

The thing with these stock cabinets is that they’re not always in the best of shape, and the doors may not line up exactly even.  So I had some of the associates get the cabinets off of the top shelves that had been pretty much untouched by customers and inspected them myself.  They helped me pull which ones I wanted to the side and wrapped them up for me on some pallets. I wish I got more pictures of it all,  but it was a lot to deal with along with a toddler at my side.

The Lowe’s associates were SO amazingly helpful.  It was all probably because Connor was with me.  😉  I paid, and had my amazing husband and awesome truck owning friend, Dan (thanks again Dan!!) come by later to pick them up and take them to our house, because cabinets were not fitting in the back of our SUV with a car-seat in it. Plus, I would have had to take 5 trips. Ha. Nope.

The boys dropped them right into place, and we can’t wait to get started on them!  We (David) has some electrical work to do before we start installation and painting, as there are a few outlets currently sitting behind them.  So, we’re probably going to have to run new outlets higher up so they’re still accessible and we can work them into the book shelves.  I kind of wish we thought about that when we had the room torn apart earlier this year, but oh well, live and learn.  We (David) did run electrical for some lighting in the top though, so we did prepare in that respect!

So enjoy the sneak peak!  Don’t mind the mess of toys everywhere.  Or the fact that I now need to shift the couch to the left a little.

BUT. We are now one step closer to looking like this!

And then this!!