How We Built the Dining Room Fauxdenza (and Why It’s Not Quite Done)

July 14, 2020

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Back in March, we built a fauxdenza in the dining room and it has been a wonderful, budget-friendly way to get a lot of storage for not a lot of money. It’s called a “fauxdenza” because although it looks like a credenza (or sideboard), it’s actually made with upper kitchen cabinets! It’s an easy DIY that we’ve done a few times over the past decade (catch our initial tutorial way back in 2012 here! we used a similar technique building the entertainment center in our last house here).

The reason we haven’t shared this one yet? It’s not completely done. We had to do a storage DIY for a commercial and had just a couple days notice so while it was easy to whip out on camera, we always meant to circle back and tweak some things. That being said, I’ve been getting so many questions about it, so I thought it would be best to share what we’ve done so far and what we’d still like to do.

(All dining room sources listed at the bottom of the post!!)

We turned to our beloved Fauxdenza once again because we really wanted a large sideboard in the dining room to store all of our entertaining dishes, but finding something larger that 10′ was impossible and/or $$$$$. This project provided over 12 feet of storage for around $500. Here’s how we did it!

DIY A Fauxdenza with Upper Cabinets

1. Assemble the Cabinets 
For this project we used IKEA SEKTION wall cabinets (upper kitchen cabinets). For the spacing we wanted it worked out best to do five 30x15x30in boxes, with the standard doors.

The cabinets go together super fast and assembling them is still the most time-consuming part of the whole project. By purchasing the upper cabinets from Ikea, they will come with mounting bars that attach to the studs in the wall for easy mounting.

2. Install the Mounting Bars 
The mounting bars essentially allow the cabinets to hang securely from the wall so you don’t have to screw in each cabinet to the wall–you just attach the mounting bar into studs and hang the cabinets from it. Installing the mounting bars are really straight forward. Once you measure for the height you want your credenza to be (we mounted ours right above our 8″ baseboards so they sit just above 38″ high), make a line along the wall where the top of the bar will hit (keeping in mind that the top of the bar sits lower than the top of the cabinet box. There’s a little over a 1in difference–measure!). Use a stud finder to mark the studs, and mount the bars directly to the studs.

(Little peak at the crew filming the process. No pressure, Chris!)

3. Hang the Cabinets and Secure Them Together

The cabinets slip right onto the mounting bar. Slide them into place so they fit tightly together. You’ll then use the included screws to attach the cabinets to one another so they don’t separate, and lock the hanging brackets in place with the included bracket clips (little gray plastic things that keep the cabinet from sliding along the mounting bar).

Attach the Cover Panels and Countertop
IKEA offers matching cover panels for each of their cabinet door finishes. We bought two, one for each end, and secured them with wood glue and 1in pin nails from the inside of the cabinet (so the nail holes weren’t visible). We were in a bit of a pinch on countertop, so we found a large, dark cover panel in the IKEA as-is section and cut it to size. Unfortunately it wasn’t long enough so we were left with a gap (and melamine doesn’t cut super well with a table saw, so it chipped like crazy). But this countertop is temporary, while we figure out what we want long-term. I’m thinking a stone countertop would be so pretty!

In the photo below, you can see where the very obvious seam is.

Besides the countertop, I’ve also considered using Semihandmade’s door fronts to amp up the whole look a little more and we still need hardware, too. But despite not being completely done aesthetically, it has been a WORK HORSE functionally. It stores all of our dishes, napkins, vases, candesticks, flatware, etc. we use for entertaining and it’s so nice when I do set the table to be able to pull right from here.

Whenever those things do happen, of course we’ll update you, but why does it feel like every project takes 6 months to a year now?!


Wall Color: Alabaster by Sherwin Williams
Trim Color: Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams
Doors: Pella
Floors (Dark: Neuro, Light: Magnifica Calacatta Oro)
Pendant Lights
Credenza (see above)
White Vase
Faux Stems
Buffet Lamps
Smoked Glass Vase
Fiddle Leaf
Wood Salad Bowl
Appetizer Plates

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What do you think?

  1. Danielle Carl says:

    Hi- What are the end pieces covering? The pictures on Ikea look like the cabinet has a finished side, but you note that you added cover panels. Thanks!

  2. Amanda says:

    Love this! How did you attach the countertop?

  3. I love this! Fabulous scale and such a great hack.

  4. Tina says:

    Those lamps and fabric panel are ????????????! Let me know if you would like me to send you some Battle Creek Hardware to finish it off. I would love to serve you in this way. We have contemporary finger pulls in black that might go with this esthetic perfectly.

  5. Ali says:

    Those lamps are awesome, well done! I have an off topic question about the fireplace as we have a similar situation (huge opening, no screen). What is your solution for staying safe when the fire is lit? We find that most of the removable screens are not large enough for the opening, or they are large enough but we don’t want them out all the time and they would be very large to store. Those horrible chain screen situations that slide along the top of the opening are just ugly. BUT, we can’t have a fire in a fireplace the size of a small person just open to the room for obvious reasons. Maybe a post in the future (fall/winter) with solutions to this problem?

  6. Sara says:

    Hi, was there a reason why you used this model instead of Besta from Ikea?

    • Julia says:

      The Sektion comes in a variety of heights and can be mounted floating to the wall so we don’t lose any of that floor and we have a nice, tall, but narrow buffet for food!

  7. debra myrick says:

    Julia –
    I’ve been waiting on this post. I can’t wait to do this for our dining room. Credenzas are so expensive and I’d rather spend the money elsewhere. This is a great option. I love the way it looks now and I look forward to seeing how it evolves. And—the lamps are gorgeous. Thanks again!

  8. Summer says:

    Well done! Even everything inside of it is beautiful!

    Question: is the table centred in the room, or centred between the fauxdenza and the doors? Is the arched door at the end of the room centred on that wall? It looks like it all lines up in this photo, and I’m wondering what the secret is. We have a similar situation in our (much smaller! ;) dining room (sideboard on one side) and I’m wondering how to make it work. Thank you!

    • Julia says:

      This was tricky!! We taped out a bunch of options and the credenza looked best centered in the room and not on the wall. So we took the entire room into account when placing it. The table is a little closer to the fireplace so that the arched doors can still open. It’s a big puzzle!

  9. Leigh says:

    I love this idea – do you think you could stack two (one in too if another)? I love the idea of it taking up minimal space, but don’t have space to do two side by side. Appreciate your thoughts!

  10. Megan says:

    We did this with the BESTA system from IKEA and love having it! We cut wood to size and stained it for the top piece and added no show cabinet pulls to the doors. I love the idea of a stone top – that would be so pretty!

  11. Carol says:

    Love the new lamps – they’re perfect for the space!

    Glad to hear you’re thinking about Semi-Handmade for the doors – while I know this was done in a pinch, I’ve always thought the result was way too utilitarian for your esthetic, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

  12. Bre says:

    I see in the last picture that you drilled a hole through the top to put your lamp cord through. How do you make it only a small hole, without the actual plug having to fit through it too? I’ve wondered this about putting cords through carpets as well.

    LOVE this idea too. Thank you for sharing :)

  13. Meredith says:

    Looks amazing! I’m curious to know which cover panels you chose?

  14. Olivia says:

    It looks beautiful! I did a similar built-in in my son’s nursery and I’ve been stumped for how to address the countertop. Do you think you’ll need to reinforce how it’s mounted when you add that weight? Thanks for putting this post together!

    • Julia says:

      We have used Ikea cabinets in the past with stone countertops with no problem. But we’ll definitely share if we do decide to reinforce it!

  15. Olivia says:

    LOVE the new table lights. My heart went pitter patter when I saw them-then I was like wait what did I miss a post, when did this happen LOL!! Looks amazing!

  16. Joanna says:

    I’m thinking of doing something like this for a sort of “media cabinet” in our living room. I love how simple and sleek it is.

  17. Vero says:

    Genius! I love this idea! Totally doing this!!

  18. Kathryn says:

    Love!! I checked out those glasses from Anthropology but they seem to be sold out. Do you recommend any others that are similar?

  19. Jordi Balan says:

    Oh my LAMPS!! ????????????

    Gosh I love your style. How did you hide the lamp cords? It looks so seamless ❤️

  20. Sophie says:

    It looks amazing! I’ve been trying to find a Long TV console that’ look just like this!

  21. Jill says:

    Hi Julia and Chris,
    I hv a burning question! I’m noticing there don’t seem to be electrical plugs in your cabinets, yet you have lamps on our credenza with no cords showing. How are the lamps plugged in!? I ask because I’m facing this problem myself.
    Your dining room is stunning!
    Thank you!

    • Julia says:

      There were plugs on the wall before we added the cabinets and we just marked where they were and cut out the back there! Once we drilled a hole through the countertop, we could easily plug them in sight unseen.

  22. JL says:

    Julia, welcome back. I think a black soapstone counter would be a lovely option (although, you can’t go wrong with marble or quartz). BTW, when I saw those sideboard lamps I think my heart actually skipped a beat. OMG!!!

    • Julia says:

      I LOVE the idea of soapstone!!

      • Lauren says:

        Y’all are the masters!!!
        I LOVE the soapstone idea and have been considering doing your fauxdenza as a media console, attempting to mimic the style of studio mcgee’s bathroom with semi handmade door fronts!
        My question is, since it is supposed to mimic a piece of furniture and not cabinets, would you cut the soapstone to be even with all edges or would you have an overhang as with kitchen counters?

      • Julia says:

        Hmmm. I’m kind of loving the flush look. I might do 1/2″

    • Emily says:

      Do you think you could paint the cabinets? Wanting to do this in our media room but I don’t think the white will be the exact look we are going for and current budget doesn’t allow for the doors from your line. Just didn’t know if you could add some other kind of finish to this type of cabinet. Thanks in advance!

  23. Mary says:

    This looks great and so functional! I have a question, though. In our living room, we have the cb2 desks and the storage/media center that y’all have in your offices, and we were considering adding something like this for toy storage along one of the walls. Does the white of these ikea cabinets match the white of the cb2 desks and media cabinet? Would it look odd to mix them in the space? Or would we be better off doing the semi handmade fronts with something like this…to avoid that close, obviously not the same look?

  24. Brittney says:

    It looks amazing!

  25. Miruska says:

    Love Ikea and how versatile their stuff is. Great use of standard kitchen cabinets. And those lamps are amazing. I know you were looking for something tall and these really hit the mark I think. Not heavy looking but bring the eye up.

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