I confessed something major over on Instagram the other week. It was one of those, “Are you with me on this?” type situations. In the process of clearing out and making over our entire basement, I’ve stepped around (or covered my eyes and turned the other way around) our board game and puzzle storage. A VERY old, VERY thinly designed bookcase held up everything…stacked box upon broken box on top of one another.
Now mind you, I have three kids ranging from 7 years old to 3. They are not tall enough to reach to the top of this bookcase to get THEIR games. They are not strong enough (nor motivated enough) to take each box down to get to THEIR game on the bottom of the stack.
The system to hold THEIR games and puzzles was really only useful for an adult to always get it for them. If I want my kids to be able to play independently or with one another, then how exactly are they to actually get to their favorites…safely?
I shared my newest obsession to store their games and just HOW MUCH SPACE WAS SAVED by using these awesome zipper pouches (and this one with 8 different sizes!) to store them! It’s the old teacher in me that loves the ease and the organization of a zipper pouch. Everything neat and tidy in its own pouch, zippered up nice and safe, with no more broken down boxes, no more stacks of games. These slide straight into the baskets and can be adapted to the ages of your kids. Check out the Instagram Reel below that shares how I stored them and some of the great accommodations you can use in your home to make it work best!
To keep these at a kid-friendly level, I wanted to store these in cabinets around our fireplace. A built-in that would double as toy storage as well as form a great bench seat for extra seating in that area.
IKEA makes a great generic cabinet base to build off of. To fit the length of this space around my fireplace, I needed something larger than normal. I finally found that they have a 40″ kitchen cabinet in their SEKTION cabinet collection. BINGO!! If you lay these particular 40″ cabinets on their side, the height is 18″ and sits at 15″ deep. A perfect seated height and big enough to double as a bench!
I purchased 2 of their 40″ SEKTION Kitchen Cabinets and skipped the shelves to cut the costs. They didn’t have it in stock, but I was able to do a pick-up at their warehouse at a separate location. It took about a week to come in, I drove out and they brought it staight to my car for me at no additional costs! A little extra work on my part, but I was able to skip any delivery charges of shipping it to my house!
I wanted these cabinets to match the color of my fireplace so I primed and painted each piece first before assembling so I wasn’t kicking myself when I had to get into all the tight corners later. When painting IKEA furniture, you MUST prime them with a Shellac-Base primer that will adhere to their melamine coating that gives all their furniture that shine. Then I painted each piece with Home Depot’s Cabinet, Door, and Trim enamel paint in Limosine Leather (SW Tricorn Black’s equivalent in Behr paint). I typically like to go with Sherwin Williams Emerald Enamel paint for my doors and cabinets, but they didn’t have a sale going on at this time so I went with a more cost-efficient enamel and honestly, I could tell a difference. I may end up sanding these cabinets down a bit and painting with Sherwin Williams Emerald Enamel paint in Tricorn Black. The difference in the way the paint levels and the overall hardness of the coat is dramatic!
I built a 2×4 base that measured exactly where I wanted these cabinets to sit around the fireplace. This is a multi-faceted purpose. First, I want the cabinets to sit a little higher off the ground. Second, I want baseboards here to make this piece appear very custom and built-in. And third, because this is on my cement basement floor, I can attach my cabinets to the wood base easier than I could have attached it to my concrete floor. I simply marked my studs around the 2×4 frame and secured it all around the sides to those studs using 2.5″ wood screws.
Next was to build my cabinets and attach my cabinet to the studs and to the 2×4 base. I wanted the cabinet to have a really built-in look to it so I knew I wanted to use 1.5″ poplar trim boards around the sides of the cabinet frame. So I moved the cabinet box away from the fireplace that far and used scrap wood, attached to the cabinet from the inside, to move the box out and still secure it to the wall. I used 2″ cabinets screws to secure the cabinets on all sides so it wasn’t going anywhere!
My original rationale was to have these cabinets open vertically and you could get your games out from underneath. It wasn’t functional in the end so I had to change my thinking and I ended up finding these awesome KOMPLEMENT drawer slides from IKEA’s very popular PAX closet system. They make them 40″ long so it fits perfectly inside the cabinet! First, I had to attach the slides on each side of the cabinet. It was just a hair short on one side so I slid in a few small pieces of 1/4″ paneling and then secured it to the side of the cabinet.
Next I just prayed to God that my measurements were correct and the drawer would fit right on the slides and thankfully we had a winner winner!
To have this work with the drawer fronts, I needed to attach my door to the cabinet box. I used 1.5″ cabinet screws to attach the box. I drilled a pilot hole from the INSIDE to the outside. To have it line up well, I used a small piece to lift the door to the proper height to match where I wanted this attached. Watch my Instagram stories from my highlight bubble called “Fireplace Cabinet” to see what I used and how it worked!
At Lowe’s and Home Depot, they typically carry these trim pieces at smaller sizes (2′ to 4′ long) so you can just pick what you need without having to get a large amount of lumber. I attached these trim boards to the scrap wood I used to build out the cabinet box with my nail gun and 1.5″ nails.
To give a great finished look, I went through and filled all drawer holes, screw and nail holes with wood filler, sanded these and painted them to give it a clean look!
I made a last minute decision to add 1/4″ thick poplar boards to the front edges of the cabinet to give it a look of a shaker cabinet. I made two full pieces on the top and bottom of the cabinet and attached them with adhesive and trim nails from my nail gun, and then measured the two smaller pieces to fit perfectly on each vertical edge. I caulked the seams and used wood filler for all the nail holes, and then gave the whole cabinet front a new fresh coat of paint to make it all cohesive and finished.
For the top, I was looking to make it a smooth, crisp look with a black top. I used 3/4″ MDF and painted it with the same trip enamel paint and attached it to the cabinet from the underside of the cabinet to the top using 1.5″ screws. This size of MDF allows for increased weight on this cabinet. Since the MDF is so strong, now the amount of weight this bench can hold is dramatically increased. I’ve had all three of my kids, my husband, and myself sitting on these benches at the same time and there is no bowing, cracking, or issues seen/heard.
Finally, it was time to attach the gold pulls on the front of the cabinet. I tossed around several ideas and by the resounding vote on Instagram, it was obvious that the best choice was to center one gold pull at the top of the cabinet.
I now have a storage component to the basement that we can use as extra seating as well as storage that my kids can use, can reach, and can do so completely independently. Mission Accomplished!!