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How To Build A Hallway Cabinet (with no complicated joinery!)

If you’re looking for a simple way to build a hallway cabinet for extra storage in your home, you’re going to love the detailed step by step tutorial. This hallway cabinet build is really a lot more simple than other cabinetry because it has NO complicated joinery, which makes it perfect for a beginner woodworker.

Thank you to Rockler for sponsoring this post! All opinions are entirely my own. This post also contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t recommend wholeheartedly. Read my full disclosure here.

One of the many things we need to fix while renovating our 2nd fixer upper was our storage issue. And what I mean by this is the LACK OF STORAGE. We have no linen cabinets, no coat closets, zero storage in our 2nd bathroom, limited storage in the kitchen.

We definitely have done some work this year with storage in the kitchen by getting our spice cabinet organized and adding this banquette bench with storage!

We’ve searched this house high and low for additional spaces that are underutilized where we can add creative storage that looks like it is meant to be there. A section of our hallway is way wider than it needed to be and, of course, wasn’t being used at all.

Empty space in the corner of hallway that is not getting used

See what I mean?

Bingo! Let’s build a hallway cabinet.

That’s really how this idea was born. Our original plan was build the cabinet all the way to the ceiling, which – yes, would have been more storage…But, when we were planning out the hallway cabinet, we both agreed that a floor to ceiling cabinet would really narrow the hallway and make it feel like a bit of a “tunnel”.

We settled on a base cabinet built to look like it is built in. We do plan on adding shelves above the cabinet later, but for now…I’m LOVING the way it turned out.

Are you ready to see how to build this hallway cabinet??

 


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Supplies for hallway cabinet:

Plan your hallway cabinet finish.

First you need to decide if you are going to paint or stain your hallway cabinet. Staining is usually more expensive and time consuming because you’ll need a nicer wood or wood veneer to stain. Although, staining is a little more complicated – you get the look of a real wood cabinet.

For our hallway cabinet, however, we decided to paint it. This was mostly time constraints with our other projects this year (like this farmhouse bathroom that we completely built out from scratch in just six weeks). I also love the pop of color that the paint adds to our cabinet!

We did choose to stain the top, which really brings the rich wood tones. I love the contrast!

Notepad sitting on DIY woodworking workbench with plan for hallway cabinet sketched out

Design your hallway cabinet.

For any woodworking build, it all starts with a good design and plan. You definitely want to measure the space that your cabinet will fit in a few times just so you don’t mess that part up!

This hallway cabinet build is really a lot more simple than other cabinetry that you’ll see because it has NO complicated joinery. Since we decided to paint the hallway cabinet, Logan elected to skip all of the normal dado and rabbet cuts you would normally do when building a cabinet. If you are staining however, you must do these cuts. Here’s a great tutorial about building a cabinet with the dado and rabbet cuts.

If your cabinet will be a “built-in” like ours, be sure to check your walls first to make sure they are square. If they aren’t, you’ll need to account for any adjustments needed in your cabinet design.

Be sure that the wood grain of the cabinet vertical pieces runs vertical and the horizontal pieces runs horizontal, if you decide to stain your cabinet rather than paint. We didn’t worry about this because the cabinet was getting painted. This allowed us to use up some scrap pieces of plywood.

Man cutting plywood on tablesaw with a large workbench, outfeed table and wood storage rack on garage wall.

Cut wood for hallway cabinet.

Now that design is done, you’ll start by getting all of your wood pieces for your cabinet cut on the table saw. If you are staining, don’t forget to do your dado and rabbet cuts here. Also don’t forget to cut in notches for your toe-kick unless you are setting your cabinet on a base like we did.

Ours was pretty simple because we essentially built a box for the cabinet and then set it on top of the base.

Give everything a light sand before assembling.

Don’t forget to cut the plywood pieces for the inside shelves too!

Man drilling holes for adjustable shelves using Rockler's pro shelf drilling jig

Drill shelf pin holes.

Rockler’s Pro Shelf Drilling Jig makes the drilling the shelf pin holes a complete breeze! You just attach it to the plywood piece and drill all of your pin holes at once using the Drilling Bit. Couldn’t be more simple! This definitely saved us time and eliminated the possibility of misaligned shelves, which would have been a major bummer.

If you are planning on adding shelves to your hallway cabinet, why not make them adjustable? This way your shelves will be perfect for whatever you need them for in the future. Definitely be sure to your drill the holes on the vertical pieces before you assemble the cabinet. 

You’ll see on the left side of our cabinet, we have our printer there now…but if we ever wanted to move it in the future, we could easily adjust the height of the shelves. We did build a third shelf that’s sitting at the bottom of the cabinet in case we want three on the left side in the future.

Rockler's clamp-it corner clamping jig for building cabinets
corner clamping jig to hold two pieces of wood together to get a square corner when building cabinets
man screwing base cabinet box together with jigs clamped on to keep the corner square while assembling

Assemble the hallway cabinet.

Start by assembling your pieces on a completely level surface. If you don’t use a level surface, you will have a heck of a time trying to square up your cabinet.

Armed with a level surface and Rockler’s Clamp-It Corner Clamping Jig, it really makes it easy to square up the corners of the cabinet base. These attach to the two pieces of wood to hold them together and create a square corner while you screw everything in place. Once the corner clamping jigs are on, you can screw the corners of the cabinet with an Impact Driver and Construction Screws.

For the back of the cabinet, we simply attached on a sheet of 1/4” plywood. We knew that we would be trimming things out where the cabinet touches the wall, which would cover the edge of the back – so we didn’t bother with a rabbet cut there.

Man attaching front face to cabinet with nail gun

Add cabinet front face.

Since we were painting the hallway cabinet, we were able to use extra plywood for the front face of the cabinet. If you’re not painting your cabinet, you would need use trim pieces here – which gets costly pretty quick!

Cut your pieces down to size and attach them to the cabinet with a thin bead of wood glue and a nail gun.

MDF sheets turned into cabinet doors with an X design with trim pieces

Build cabinet doors.

Before you start to stain or paint your cabinet, go ahead and start building your doors.

We were looking for a really budget friendly way to build cabinet doors and this certainly was cheap! We ended up creating a cabinet door that used 1/2″ MDF as trim pieces to create an interesting door front design and attached that to a piece of 1/4″ MDF. This was the simplest and cheapest way for us to build the doors with the scrap we had on hand.

Man adding construction adhesive to the top of cabinet before setting on wood countertop
Base cabinet with countertop glued on and large clamps holding counterotp in place while it dries with heavy things on top to secure

Make and attach counter top.

With your hallway cabinet assembled, it’s time to focus on that countertop. You’ll see that Logan made a counter top by adding some oak veneer plywood to a 1/2” MDF panel with construction adhesive and trimmed with 1″x2″ oak trim. The MDF panel was screwed to the cabinet first. Let the construction adhesive set and dry overnight with some heavy things on top of the countertop and some clamps added to the front.

This was a really easy and pretty cheap way to build the counter top of our hallway cabinet.

Attach toe kick base. 

For the toe kick, we made a separate box that was approximately 3.5″ tall and measured 1″ smaller than the cabinet. The toe kick was screwed in the cabinet from the bottom.

Man rolling blue green paint onto cabinet with small paint roller

Paint and seal hallway cabinet.

We had some leftover paint from this project and this one. I swear, this gallon of paint is the gift that just keeps giving. Good thing I am absolutely in LOVE with the color.
 
We simply rolled the paint on the base cabinet with a paint roller starting with the inside of the cabinet and moving on to the front and outside.

Rockler's little bench cookies make it really easy to paint flat pieces of wood, like the doors and shelves.
Rockler’s little bench cookies make it really easy to paint flat pieces of wood, like the doors and shelves.

After the paint has dried completely, finish by sealing the hallway cabinet with polyurethane.

Man staining wood countertop to cabinet with a dark wood stain called Jacobean

Add trim, stain and seal countertop.

Since we elected to paint the cabinet we waited to install the oak trim around the edges of the plywood countertop until after we painted, just so we didn’t have to tape anything off while we painted. After painting the hallway cabinet, Logan attached the oak trim to the edges of the top with a nail gun, sanded and filled any blemishes and nail holes with wood filler, then stained the entire top with this stain.
 
Man sanding in between coats of Polyurethane with steel wool
Applying polyurethane to the top of wood cabinet top

Lastly we sealed the countertop with the same polyurethane. Be sure rub the area with steel wool in between coats of polyurethane.

Wood countertop for cabinet made with plywood and oak trim pieces stained with dark wood stain

Secure cabinet in place.

With everything painted, stained, and a protective coat added, it’s time to secure your cabinet in place.

We secured our cabinet to the wall by using construction screws.

To finish it off, we attached a few trim pieces to the tops and sides to cover any gaps from texture and uneven walls. This helps create a great finished look.

Man installing metal soft close hinges on the inside of a cabinet door with a drill

Add hardware and hinges.

Last step is to add hinges for the cabinet doors and add hardware.

We used these hinges that required us to use a forstner bit to drill a hole 1/2″ deep in the door. Be sure you pick hinges with the right overlay for your cabinet.

Modern farmhouse cabinet door pulls on a blue green farmhouse style cabinet
The hardware we added to the door fronts matches the cabinet hardware in our kitchen and we love it!

Doors open on a hallway cabinet painted blue green with adjustable shelves
Empty cabinet with adjustable shelves built in hallway for extra storage
Outlet built in the back of a cabinet to store printer tucked away
Hallway storage cabinet with door open showing printer hidden in the cabinet
Not only does this hallway cabinet add lots of storage for towels, toilet paper and sheets like any other linen cabinet would provide…..but this cabinet ALSO stores our printer because we added an outlet to the back. Another pain point in this house was what to do with our printer, so this solves that problem too!

Black Brother printer sitting inside of a cabinet for storage
I even have a spot for a bunch of photo albums on the bottom shelf under the printer (in the black basket).

Open door for hallway cabinet showing extra toilet paper rolls, Q tips, towels, washcloths and sheets
Blue green paint hallway cabinet with farmhouse style, x barn door fronts, oil rubbed bronze hardware, stained wood top and decorated on the top with farmhouse decor
White distressed farmhouse corbel used as a bookend holding up three books
DIY hallway cabinet built in decorated with farmhouse style decor on the top
Framed print that says the mountains are calling and I must go leaned against the wall layered with a vintage window on a cabinet top staged with farmhouse style decor
Blue green painted cabinet built-in on the hallway for extra storage and decorated with frames, vintage window, books and a wooden dough bowl with faux greenery
Cabinet top s decorated using framed art prints, an old window, vintage glass bottles, candle with wood top and a wooden dough bowl full for farmhouse faux greenery
Green painted cabinet built into hallway with farmhouse decor on the top

Faux greenery in wooden bowl on cabinet top decorate with farmhouse style decor
I’m loving the extra storage we added by building this cabinet for our hallway! Finally I place to put our printer, extra toilet paper, towels and sheets.

We designed this cabinet build with a beginning woodworker in mind because it doesn’t have any of the complicated cuts for joinery. We were able to make a simple cabinet base without complicated joinery because we painted it, which really simplified things.

Even if you’ve never built a cabinet before, this is a great one to start on! Armed with Rockler’s awesome tools like the Clamp-It Corner Clamp and the Pro Shelf Drilling Jig, you’ll be able to built a cabinet like this.

What would you store in a hallway cabinet at your house??

Let me know in the comments below!

Painted cabinet built into hallway for extra storage decorated with farmhouse style decor with text overlay that says how to build a DIY cabinet

How To Build A Hallway Cabinet

How To Build A Hallway Cabinet

Active Time: 4 days
Total Time: 4 days
Difficulty: Intermediate
Estimated Cost: $300
If you’re looking for a simple way to build a hallway cabinet for extra storage in your home, you’re going to love the detailed step by step tutorial. This hallway cabinet build is really a lot more simple than other cabinetry because it has NO complicated joinery, which makes it perfect for a beginner woodworker.

Materials

Instructions

  1. Plan your hallway cabinet finish.
  2. Design your hallway cabinet.
  3. Cut wood.
  4. Drill shelf pin holes.
  5. Assemble hallway cabinet.
  6. Add cabinet front face.
  7. Build cabinet doors.
  8. Make and attach countertop.
  9. Paint and seal hallway cabinet.
  10. Add trim, stain and seal countertop.
  11. Secure cabinet in place.
  12. Add hardware and hinges.

12 thoughts on “How To Build A Hallway Cabinet (with no complicated joinery!)

  1. That looked way to complicated for me. Cutting and screwing, etc. Looked nice. Thought it was going to be something easy. Nope. Fooled again by what the heading said.

    1. Sorry Suzanne, I definitely didn’t mean to be misleading here 🙁 When we were building this cabinet, we tried to remove one of the more complicated aspects of cabinet building – which is joinery. But using a simple “butt joint” (there is no simpler way to join to pieces of wood) it really takes a lot of the hard work out of what would normally be a pretty complicated building process.

  2. Gorgeous cabinet and excited to attempt making it. Can you give me the dimensions please?
    Brent Nussbaumer
    Clarksville, TN

  3. I think I missed it, but where is the steps for the toe kick? The pictures go from a box, to the trim, and the picture of the top all of a sudden has a toe kick. How far in to you cut the toe kick?

    1. Hi there! Yes, I just realized the step for the toe kick wasn’t there, I’ve updated. The toe kick was a completely separately piece that we built (essentially a small box). It measured approximately 3.5″ tall and was 1″ smaller than the cabinet.

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