We are currently decorating our spare room, which until now, has been a dumping ground. As we’ve worked around the house trying to make each space our own our ‘box room’ has been neglected and has become the room where we can shut away all the things we’re just not sure what to do with. I took heart the other day when on Instagram so many of you got in touch to tell me that you too have a room of shame but it is time to get this room sorted as our house is small and we desperately need more storage. In short, we need to make this room work as hard as possible: guest room, work room, storage space. We have a very small budget to transform this room and so for storage we are using two cabinets that I actually bought some time ago from IKEA for our last flat. They are very basic pine IVAR cabinets but I want this room to feel quite smart and sleek in the hope that that will deter us from dumping here in future. Therefore, with some help from Bosch Home & Garden power tools I have made the cupboards my own and given them a makeover that I hope you agree makes them much more special than the original £40 I paid for them. There’s no way that I had the budget for fancy panelled cabinets in this room that cost hundreds of pounds so a DIY project made perfect sense and it is always worth thinking about whether you can transform a piece of existing furniture in your home rather than buying new every time.
The makeover took about two hours and it’s actually relatively simple with no specific skill or expertise needed. I was apprehensive about using a jigsaw for this project as I always think it’s a major power tool that requires real skill and strength to control but the Bosch Home & Garden cordless jigsaw was brilliantly easy to use and required far less physical effort than I anticipated as it just glides through the wood. Both the jigsaw and the drill driver were much smaller and lighter than any I’ve used before but actually felt more powerful (Jules and I are both very VERY upset that they are only on loan for this project as we think that they are much better than the ones we own). The other good thing about these tools is that they use the same battery and charger so adding more tools to the collection is relatively cost-effective and it’s super quick and easy to transfer the battery from one tool to another.
I’ll be honest and say that I am happy to let Jules take over when it comes to power tools as I always think it seems complicated and physically difficult – I have horrible carpel tunnel and very prone to tendonitis so I’m not keen on putting my joints under strain. However, I can hand on heart say that I was keen to use these tools as it all felt really easy and intuitive and at no point did I need to use too much physical effort. By the way, the only reason you can see Jules in the photos is because he can’t use the camera properly – I took over to do the work after the photos, I promise!
So, back to the cupboard… here are the step by step instructions to guide you through this project and if you have any questions please do leave a comment and I will get back you.
– Protective gloves, goggles and ear protection
– Solid wood cabinets (mine are IVAR from IKEA)
– Paint – I used Shaded White from Farrow & Ball in Modern Eggshell.
– Cane webbing – I chose the Aerial or Radio cane weave panelling just because I prefer the way it looks compared to the six weave cane, which still looks a little old fashioned to me even though it’s very on trend. I ordered it from this site (you have to place your order by phone!) and it cost about £30 for one cabinet so not cheap but I think it’s worth it.
– Hockey stick wood trim – you can buy it in any hardware store and it comes in all sorts of decorative profiles or plain like mine. You just need to make sure you choose one that will fit the depth of your door. It cost £6 for one cabinet.
– Mitre box and hacksaw to cut trim
– Set square, ruler or tape measure
– Wood glue and a few racks and hammer to attach trim
– Handles – totally optional as the IVAR cabinets don’t actually need them. The ones I have used came out of my sister’s kitchen as she’s just sold her flat (I chose them for her) but I don’t think she’s going to let me keep them 😉 They are from Dowsing & Reynolds.
Remove doors from cupboard as well as the support strut on the back of the door using a drill driver. N.B. I had already constructed and painted my cupboard before I began this project. When using the drill driver make sure you don’t wear gloves but do use googles and ear protection.
Use a pencil to mark the inside panel that will be removed. I left a 5cm border on each door and used a set square for ease and accuracy but a ruler or tape measure will do.
Use a drill driver to create four holes – one in each corner of the door within the rectangle that you have marked out. I used a spade drill bit to make the hole quite big as this is where you begin with the jigsaw.
Clamp the door to a work bench in preparation for removing the central panel of each door with a jigsaw. Wear protective gloves and goggles whilst using the jigsaw and ear protection too. You can connect your vacuum cleaner hose to the back of the jigsaw so that the saw dust is sucked away, which is very useful so that you can sight your cutting line and so your house doesn’t get filled with dust. Start cutting at one of the holes that has been drilled out and line up the red line at the front of the jigsaw with your pencil mark and that will make it very easy to cut in a straight line. You will need to rotate the door and re-clamp it after you have cut each side.
Once you have removed the central panel from the door you will see that the cut is quite rough and therefore looks very unfinished. You can either sand it well or add trim, which is what I chose to do. I bought 2cm pine hockey trim – for both doors it cost £6 – and I think it was well worth the extra effort as it gives the doors a much more professional looking finish. Hockey trim sort of hooks over the unfinished edge so it sits proud of the door. I used a mitre box to cut the trim at a 45 degree angle and then used wood glue and a few tacks to keep it in place. I then painted it the same colour as the cupboards but a contrasting colour could look great.
Once the paint on the trim is dry, place the door on the back side of the cane and use a pencil to mark out the internal rectangle. You then need a border of at least 2cm of excess cane on the back of the door to staple down. Cut the cane to size once you have worked out how much you need. If you find that your cane is particularly difficult to handle because it’s been rolled for a long time, for example, you can soak it in warm water in the bath for ten minutes to make it easier to manage.
To fix the cane panels in place start tacking in the middle and work your way outwards to each corner, holding the cane as taught as possible. I used the Bosch Home & Garden Cordless Tacker to fix the cane in place and I have to say, compared to a traditional staple gun, it is brilliant. It is battery powered and can be charged very easily and it takes all the effort out of stapling, especially into a hard surface such as solid wood. I was able to completely concentrate on holding the cane taught rather than having to put loads of effort into the stapling. So quick and easy to use – I’m thinking it would be a brilliant thing to have for upholstery projects too.
You’re all done! Re-attach the doors and I also added some pretty handles. I really love the finished doors and they ended up costing so much less than a brand new cane panelled cabinet would have cost. I hope they make this room feel much more individual than it would have done otherwise and I’m actually quite amazed at was I was able to achieve by myself with the Bosch Home & Garden power tools (remember Jules just stood in for the photos!) and for a relatively small cost. Another benefit of these doors is that they break up the big block of pine so feel far less imposing, which is ideal for a small box room. What do you think?
If you fancy trying out a DIY project of your own for your home do take a look at Bosch Home & Garden’s online magazine, All About DIY, as it contains loads of great tutorials and projects. Happy DIYing!
P.S. I’ll show you the finished room soon!
*This post was a paid collaboration with Bosch Home & Garden
Such a stunning transformation! I am going to have to find a cupboard to make over so I can use some cane. A really beautiful touch.
A very clever transformation.
I love all of your posts!
We are refurbing a 30s house at the moment and I wanted to ask, are your internal doors originals, reclaimed or new ones? I can’t decide what to do, although I would love reclaimed (the ones in ours are a mismatch of awful 80s and 90s doors) I worry there will be a risk they don’t fit and it takes a lot to get it to work. Wondered what your experience has been?
Hi there! Yes, all of our doors are original. We had them all dipped and repainted or left bare wood. You can get some great new 1930s style doors if you’re worried about getting a set of matching reclaimed doors that will fit (try Direct Doors). However, I’ve seen lots of job lots of original doors and it would just take some planing/sanding to get them to fit, I’m sure x
Thanks so much. You are lucky to have the originals. I’ll try and hunt some down on eBay 😁
Can you also recommend anywhere for the door knobs?
I got mine cheap from VintageDoorknobs.co.uk but the quality isn’t great x
I love your hack and have been looking to do something similar, however my Ivar doors don’t meet in the middle like yours do. I’ve googled the life out of it and haven’t found a solution to date, could you please share if you had the same problem and worked out how to solve it?
Ah yes! The instructions tell you how to do it – you have to loosen one of the door hinge screws (the one furthest away) and tighten the other (the nearest one). Takes about a minute! x
Thank you Katy, we will attempt it again! x
Nice project. I am currently doing something very similar. I was wondering if your came webbing has become wavy or loose? I stapled mine as well and even added screen trim on top of the cane to help hold it in place and it still became wavy. I am wanting it to be very tight. Any ideas?
It’s definitely pretty tricky to get it as tight as you might want it. Mine isn’t wavy but it has loosened up a little but nothing major. One thing you can do is soak the cane in warm water before using it and that will help you to get it as tight as poss.
Do you I know of a compatible trim in the US? I have looked at all my hardware stores for the hockey stick wood trim. 🙁 I think it adds the perfect finishing touch!
I don’t know of the US equivalent – I’m so sorry. I hope you find something x
Thanks! One more question, what is the hockey stick trim used for? That might help me narrow it down. There are so many moulding and trim options! Is it used on cabinets or doors/windows etc? A general area might help me find something like it. Also, if there is any way you could post a picture of it from the side that would help a lot. I’m trying to guess what it could look like, profile wise and size wise. Even if it’s just a pic of what you used from an online website with specs. Thanks SO MUCH!
This is the description on the website:
“Covers are traditionally used to cover the edges of sheet material such as chipboard and blockboard. Ideal finishing trim, adding a smooth edge to shelves, worktops or cladding” What makes it unique is the lip that ‘hooks’ over whatever you are trying to cover: https://www.wickes.co.uk/Wickes-Pine-Wainscot-Hockey-Stick-Moulding—14mm-x-25mm-x-2-4m/p/121187
These cane masterpieces are major inspiration material. Thank you for sharing your creativity! Would you be able to give me a rough estimate for how many linear feet of cane webbing you used to cover to door fronts? Would an 18″ wide sheet cover from side to side?
Thanks so very much!
Hi Kate, great project!! Thanks for the instructions ! 🙂
Can you let me know where you got the cane from? Not sure why but I find it hard to find a seller! 🙂
Hi there. All the details of where I got the cane are in the blog post 🤗
The link in the blog post doesn’t work, unfortunately
It’s definitely working on my end. Here it is again: http://www.seatweavingsupplies.co.uk/cane%20materials%20price%20list.htm
You’ve inspired me to roll up my sleeves and take on this project!
How did you mount the ivar cabinets to the wall? The US version of them may be different. I just received them and it’s a flimsy piece of particle board of something that slips in the back and is definitely not suitable to hold it to the wall if you drilled through.
My second question is what depth of the Ivar cabinets did you use?
Thanks so much!
Hi there. The cabinet depth is 35cm and we just used the IKEA fixings supplied to attach to the wall and followed their instructions. Sorry I can’t be more helpful! xx
Hi there! Do you know if your cane is Superfine (7 strands per inch), Fine Fine (6 strands per inch), or Fine (5 strands per inch)?
Hi there. It’s the ‘Ariel or radio weave cane panelling’ – the link is in the blog post xx
I am going to attempt to recreate this and will be purchasing the cane from the cane store you recommened, can you remember exactly how much you ordered? Thanks x
Oh great! I really can’t remember other than I measured the two panels (plus an inch all the way round) and then I called the cane suppliers and asked him to work out how much I needed. I think it cost about £35ish. I hope it goes well! X
Wauw siger jeg bare det måjeg kaste mig ud i <3
Hi! I was wondering if you just hung the two Ivar cabinets next to each other or if there is a way to connect them to each other?
Yes, they’re just hung next to each other x
I’m not sure if this Etsy store is yours, but I came across the same photo of your caned cabinet on A Store. Also not sure if they asked your permission to use your photos..I’m a fan of yours, so that’s why I’m letting you know.
I don’t see a place to add a photo, so the store name is Canewebbing…one word.
OH! Thanks for flagging! x
Hi hello! I wanted to ask about the color. I color matched it with a very good paint that I have. they were able to do so but it does look a little yellowy and I am trying not to freak out yet. did shaded white go on a little creamier and yellow before it darkened into that more taupe gray?
I’m sorry to say defo no yellow in shaded white – much more grey 😬