Adding Shelves To Your Wood Kitchen Cabinets

If your kitchen cabinets are made from wood, they most likely have recessed tops. When you place things on top of your cabinets, they will disappear from view. If you are interested in displaying some of your favorite small kitchen appliances or if you want to have a spot for kitchen-themed knickknacks to enjoy, consider placing wood shelving on top of your existing cabinets to lift your belongings where they will be seen. You should be able to carry out this project on your own with some simple tools within a few days.

Measuring The Shelves

Before you place the shelving, you will need to do some measuring to make sure the sizing is correct. When doing your measurements, use the following as a guideline. You will need:

  • (2) pieces of wood 3/4"W x 1-1/4"H cut 1-1/2" shorter than the existing length of your cabinets
  • (2) pieces of wood 3/4"W x 1-1/4"H cut to the same depth as your existing cabinets
  • (1) piece of 3/4" thick plywood cut 3" longer than your cabinet's existing length and 1-1/2" longer than your cabinet's existing depth

Take your measurements to your local lumberyard or hardware store and ask someone to cut the wood to the correct dimensions for you. If it is cost effective to buy larger pieces of wood, you can cut them at home using a miter saw.

Placing The Shelf

Use the 3/4"x1-1/4" pieces of wood to construct a frame around the top of your cabinets. Center the longer pieces along the front and back edge of the cabinet tops and nail into place. Leave 3/4" inch on each side. Place the side pieces in the same manner and nail them to the existing cabinet and to the front and back pieces. There may be a slight overhang on the sides. If you would rather, use wood glue to construct the frame and glue it into place on top of your existing cabinets. 

Nail your large piece of plywood to the top edges of the wood pieces you had just placed. It should be flush with the back edge of the lift you placed on the cabinet. This will give it a 1-1/2" overhang on each side and along the front of your cabinet. Use 2" nails to attach the plywood to the lifts. You can add some decorative trim or molding to the bottom front and side edges of the shelf, if desired. For more information, contact companies like Rynone Kitchen & Baths.


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