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Two Birds One Stone

When we first completed our kitchen remodel we didn’t  have all the finishing touches figured out yet.  That might drive some people crazy, but we often like to live in the space to figure out what exactly it is we need.  With our ever revolving door of guests (we love it!) and a quickly growing toddler, we quickly realized we needed to solve two issues in the main hang out area: storage and seating. 

So we came up with a want list, design features, and started measuring.  The Ikea Besta cabinets offered all  the function we needed and also allowed us to customize and make the piece our own! 

Check out the details below on how to DIY our best IKEA Hack yet. We are only going to include the details on the bench and not the daybed for now.  If we get more interest on how to include that or if you have questions feel free to reach out!  Follow our Instagram account  @thismainehouse for our never ending list of projects! 

STEP 1: Get all your supplies! 

  1. Besta Cabinets: 

    1. First step here is figuring out how many you need. They come in a single, double or triple frame.  Each frame is 23-⅝” (So just think right around 2 feet for each one). We needed 9 frames for our bench. They were sold out of the triple frame at the time, so for our project, we purchased 4 double cabinets and one single cabinet (IKEA article numbers for the items purchased: 602.458.44 Besta double frame / 702.458.48 Besta single frame / 002.916.74 Besta door front / 803.515.17 Besta drawer frame / 403.487.15 soft closing hardware - note: we did not purchase the legs for this project because we built a 4" toe kick base).  We chose to purchase the Ikea doors and paint them ourselves, but you can also purchase drawer fronts from Semihandmade.

  2. Base Materials: 

    1. All you need here are some 2x4s and a box of 3” screws. To calculate the number of 2x4’s you need:  Calculate the overall length of all your Besta cabinets, add the depth, then multiply that by 2.25 ((length + depth) x 2.25.  This calculation will give you some extra 2x4s, but it’s better to have some extra than make another trip to the store.  Grab a pack of shims while you’re  at the store as these will help when leveling everything out. If you have an older home like us, nothing is ever level!

  3. Trim: 

    1. 1”x4” primed pine.  We used a standard 2x4 for our base, which made finding the right height trim board a breeze.  For here you just need the overall length of your Besta cabinets. You will need a finish nailer to attach your trim to the base.  Or if you don’t have one, trim screws or finish nails will work. 

  4. Top:

    1. Butcher block. This is completely dependent on what you want to use for the top and what kind of overhang you would like over the drawer fronts.  We wanted ours to be flush with the drawer fronts.  So our depth was the depth of the besta cabinet with the door (16.5”) plus the thickness of the baseboard trim (0.75”) for an overall depth of 17.25”. We chose not to cut the existing baseboard trim because we thought we might want to remove our bench down the road and we didn’t want to have to patch the trim.  

  5. Hardware:

    1. Semihandmade pulls.  We can’t find the exact product on their site anymore but here is a link to the closest hardware on there: Semihandmade Disc Knobs


Step 2: Build your base

  1. Measure your over length of your Besta cabinets and cut two 2x4s to those dimensions.  Then move on to cutting your end pieces.  (So I can give actual dimensions in an attempt to make it easier to understand, for all dimensions given, I will give examples as if we were using a double frame Besta cabinet.)

    1. Example for Triple frame Besta Cabinet

      1. Cut two 2x4s to 47-⅞”

      2. Cut two 2x4s to 12-¾”

        1. You maybe wondering why 12-¾” when depth is 15-¾” and that is because you need to subtract the 1-½” thickness of each 2x4 you cut for the front and back of your frame

      3. You may want to add additional cross sections every 2-3 feet for a more stable base depending on the overall number of units you are connecting. 

    2. Assemble your frame.  Screw the frame together using the 3” screws as seen in the picture. We forgot to take a picture of the frame we used for this project, but this should give you an idea of what your base will look like. 

  2. After your base is complete you will put in place and make sure it is level.  Our house is nearly 300 years old, so absolutely nothing is level.  You need a nice solid level base to install your Besta cabinets.

  3. Last step for the base is to secure it to the wall.  Find a stud in the wall to screw in to or if you place your screw low enough on the 2x4 you should hit the base of your wall for a nice solid foundation.  Some people will skip this step as they want to be able to move it in case something falls behind or you don’t want it to be permanent, but this step will make your bench secure and prevent it from tipping! 

Step 3: Build Besta Cabinets

  1. Not as bad they make it seem! Just follow the directions!  They say don’t use a drill but we use an impact driver with a light finger or turn my drill down to the lowest torque to prevent over tightening or stripping the screw hole.  If you have a lot of them to do, we’ve been known to cut the allen wrench provided by Ikea and use it as a bit for the drill.  

Step 4: Install Cabinets on Base

  1. Line up all your cabinets in a row

  2. Level the Besta cabinets and make sure all the fronts are aligned.  Once you have them where you want them it is time to attach them together, if using more than one frame or set.  Clamp them together before trying to screw them together.  If we remember correctly, IKEA includes screws to attach them.  If not, you will need 1-¼” to 1-½” screws to attach them to each other.

  3. Once all of your cabinets are attached, align the front of the edge of the cabinet frame (without the door/drawer) to the front of your base.  This step is very important if you want the doors and base trim to be flush with one another.  The door/drawer and the trim are both ¾” so they will be flush once both are installed. Now that you’ve got your cabinets all lined up, screw down through the bottom of the cabinet into your base.  The 3” screws should be more than enough here.  

  4. Get yourself a helper like little miss Elle to make sure everything is lined up juuuuust right!

  5. The hard steps are over! Everything should go pretty smoothly from here on out.

Step 5: Paint the Drawer Fronts and Trim

  • We did not get any pictures of painting the drawer fronts, but we can explain the process.  If painting the Ikea fronts we recommend not purchasing a glossy option from IKEA. Get a matte finish, the paint will stick so much better! Alternatively, you could purchase Semihandmade drawer fronts.  They offer a lot of custom looks and even a DIY option that comes ready to paint!

  • Sanding. Not fun. That is, however, what needs to be done to prep the drawer fronts for primer and paint! Get some fine sandpaper and lightly go over every inch of the drawer fronts.  It may seem weird sanding a brand new product, but this slightly roughs up the surface giving the primer a quality surface to stick to.  If you skip this step, you can count on the paint to chip over time! Nobody wants that!

  • Paint. The color of our bench is named Sherwin Williams Inkwell. We would highly recommend removing the drawer fronts from the drawers before painting. This will make the process way more efficient.  We like to paint out trim before installing so once it is installed there are usually just some minor touch ups. Start with 1 coat of primer and let that dry.  Follow that with 2-3 coats of the paint of your choice. I would highly recommend asking the associates at the paint counter what paint they recommend for cabinets.  We used a foam roller on each coat for a smoother finish.  We now have a paint sprayer and would probably use that if we were to do this project again.  We have also seen people use spray paint, which would work if they have the color you want.  No matter which way you choose, you can get a nice smooth finish if done correctly!

Step 6: Install drawers and install trim

  1. Install all the drawer fronts and drawers per the instructions provided. 

  2. Align all the drawer fronts with the adjustments on the side of the sliders. Directions on how to do this should be in the IKEA directions. This is important so you have nice even gaps in between all the drawers and the base trim piece.

  3. Fitting the base trim: Cut the board to length set in place.  Use shims if needed to help make the gap between the trim piece and the drawer fronts even along the whole piece.  You’ll notice variances in the gap if it is not even more than you will notice a small gap between the trim and the floor.   

  4. Fastening the trim to the base: We have a finish nail gun which is quick and easy, but we understand not everyone has one of those.  If you don’t you can use finish nails or trim screws.  

  5. Fill the nail holes

  6. Touch up paint where needed. 

Step 7: Selecting and Installing the top

  1. Selecting a top: This step will completely change for each of you depending on how long your bench is; the smaller the bench the more options you will have. Our bench was super long so we had few options that didn’t include either completely custom building something from scratch or having tons of seams; we didn’t have time for either of those!  We ended up purchasing a 3’x12’ John Boos butcher block countertop.  

  2. Cutting to size: We were able to save some money by cutting down this large piece to size.  We first cut lengthwise into 2 long skinny pieces that were the right depth.  We wanted that flush look with the front of the cabinet drawer front. So we measured from the wall to the edge of the drawer front.  If doing a longer stretch like us, measure several different spots and cut the depth to the widest spot.  Hopefully you won't have to do this, but this will allow you the ability to scribe (so you get a nice tight fit along the wall) the back edge to get a nice tight fit along the entire wall. 

  3. Cut to the correct length:  We wanted no overhang on the left side and waterfall effect on the right side.   We have a track-saw and were able to create a nice 90 degree mitered joint (see in picture), this is not something most people have laying around, but you can get essentially the same look with a much easier to execute, butt joint (which is where the top piece will sit on top of the side piece).

  4. Next step is securing your top to the cabinets.  Really all you need here is to tilt up your top and get a few squirts of silicone in the corners and if you can a nice long bead in the center and set back down.  Our top weighs so much we didn’t have to apply any pressure, but if you are using a smaller top it would be a good idea to place some evenly distributed weight along the top until the silicone dries.  Also, clean any excess silicone up immediately.  The task becomes much more of a pain once it has dried!


Step 8: The final step! Installing the hardware

  1. Have someone hold up the hardware in all the possible options and determine where you’d like it placed. 

  2. Once that is determined get the exact measurements and duplicate that on each door/drawer front.  We have 9 drawers, so I made a quick and easy jig for speed and consistency. You can usually whip together a simple jig with some scrap wood laying around or we’ve even used some cardboard from the besta cabinets.  Some of you are probably thinking why waste time making a jig? Accuracy and consistency is why.  An ⅛” off on one cabinet pull will be noticeable! If you are an avid DIYer chances are you’ll be changing/installing hardware enough that it might make sense to purchase a cabinet hardware jig.  There are a ton of variations, but we like this one from Rockler

  3. Now that you have all your holes marked, drill holes using the suggested drill size bit from the hardware manufacturer. Make sure the drill is straight and level when going in.  Always drill from the front to prevent any wood blow out on the front of your brand new cabinet fronts! 

  4. Install the pulls, clean up your mess and you are done and can enjoy your completed project from all angles! 

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