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Last week I gave an introduction to how our DIY kitchen banquette that we built using Ikea kitchen cabinets.
After assembling the cabinets and making sure they fit properly in our space, we needed to build a frame for the cabinets to sit on. Unfortunately, you can’t just put the cabinets right on the floor for a few reasons.
1) If you’re building a banquette, you probably want to take advantage of the new storage space inside those cabinets. If the cabinets sit right on the floor, the cabinet doors will scrape the floor every time you open them.
2) Like it or not, the floors in your house are probably not level, so you need some sort of mechanism to level the banquette cabinets, otherwise they’ll wobble.
3) The cabinets alone, at 15 inches high, are a little low for the normal seating bench height of about 17–18 inches. So you need something to prop them up higher.
As I mentioned in the introductory post, we’re not uber DIY people. In fact, this project was the first time we had used tools like a circular saw and miter saw. Scary stuff. So, perhaps it was to our benefit that we wanted to make this frame as simple as humanly possible.
So, this is what the finished frame will look like.
We actually had the folks at Home Depot cut several pieces of this wood to the sizes we needed, minimizing our use of saws at home. Since we don’t have a garage or other dedicated workspace (including outdoors since we only have a very small yard), getting the wood cut right at Home Depot was helpful in cutting down on all the sawdust we had accumulating in our living room and finished basement!
You’ll want the overall size of your frame to be a little smaller than the base of your cabinets. If you’re using multiple cabinets side-by-side, you’ll just need one framed base. Since our banquette was an L-shape using four separate cabinets (two cabinets on each side of the L), we built two frames.
The shape of the frame was a basic rectangle with two small-ish “spacer” pieces of wood to keep the frame away from the wall.
So, we assembled the wood using just a drill, some screws, and a clamp that helped keep the wood together and steady while screwing it together. We had everything set up on two sawhorses that we covered with a largish piece of MDF that we purchased from Home Depot. (Pro Tip: order it online to the store to avoid having to search for it in the store).
Don’t mind the mess
Here are some photos of our very basic assembly process.
Screwing the pieces of the “rectangle” together (repeated for each side for each frame).
Then screwing the smaller “spacer” pieces on one end of the rectangle:
Now comes the all important part of the frame – the elements you’ll need to ensure that the frame is level when it is sitting on the floor. We went through a LOT of trial and error with this process. A LOT. Shims, little “feet” that are used for lower Ikea cabinets (even though ours are upper cabinets and not meant to have feet attached), and probably several other failed widgets that I’m blocking from my memory at the moment.
Trust me. What I’m about to described worked the best and was so simple and quick once we figured it out.
You’ll want several packages of T-nuts: (Amazon sells these too, but they were much cheaper at Home Depot).
And an equal amount of these Threaded Stem Glides … or as I liked to call them … “Feet.”
We used twelve stem guides on each frame (four on each of the longer sides and two on each of the shorter sides). How many you’ll need will depend on the size of your frame. There is no exact science to figuring it out, but we just wanted ours fairly evenly spaced apart, so we just took a guess and figured twelve would be best.
First, pre-drill some holes in the frame at the location you want the little feet.
Now, the Threaded Stem Glides (feet) can be screwed in easily by hand into the T-nuts.
Repeat this for all the holes that you made.
Once all of the feet have been screwed into the T-nuts, it’s time to take your frame to its intended location and tinker with the feet until the entire frame is level on the floor.
This will require screwing (or unscrewing) the Threaded Stem Glides (feet) to adjust their height.
And keep making adjustments until everything is level
Then go ahead and put the cabinets on top of the frame and make any additional adjustments as necessary, making sure the cabinets are now level.
And there you have it! You’ve just successfully built your frame for your Ikea Banquette!
In the next post well explain how we added supports to the cabinets to make them sturdier for sitting!