how to build a cupboard

How to Build a Cupboard in 6 Simple Steps (2021 UK Guide)

Regardless of how beautifully decorated your room is, if it’s filled with clutter, you can’t appreciate it. Cupboards complete rooms by giving you a place to hide away clutter or giving much-needed storage.

I needed a full height cupboard with plenty of shelving, but I just couldn’t find anything in shops that met my requirements. I soon realised I could build a cupboard that was going to not only save me money but was going to meet my requirements and look like it belonged in my room.

This is the beauty of designing and constructing your own cupboards. They are bespoke to fit any area or room, with design features and an aesthetic of your choice. You could choose to clad to complement your room, or even wallpaper out the sides to have it disappear into the existing decor.

I decided to attach my cupboard to the wall, but you could easily construct it as a freestanding design. I’ve included instructions for both. You might find it easier to design your cupboards around the doors you want. If you need a particular door design to fit your room, your design will need to take into account the door’s measurements.

The most difficult part for me was understanding the joints I needed, but other than that it’s a relatively easy job.

Don’t fancy doing this job yourself?

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Tools & Materials


  • Carpenters Square
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Drill


  • Timber for the frame
  • Doors
  • Cladding
  • Screws
  • Glue
  • Door hinges as required
  • Door catches as required

How to Build a Cupboard – Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Get Artistic

Before you get started you need to design your cupboard. You need to consider the size and dimensions you want. Do you need internal shelving? Are you going to attach it to the wall or fill a space such as an alcove? Will it be freestanding?

Once you have decided on the overall size, you can begin to consider how you will construct the cupboard.

You need to consider the frame. Think of this as like a skeleton giving the cupboard strength. The frame will form the basic shape of the cupboard. It may form a simple box, or you may wish to put struts in to support weight or if it’s a larger cupboard.

Then think about how your cupboard will look. Will you use plywood and paint it or even wallpaper it? Will you create a mesh or screen effect?  

Depending on how many doors you have you may need struts to hang the doors on or to put catches on.

When you are confident in your design you can purchase all the materials you need. Take a look at these furniture boards from B&Q to design your frame.

2. If You Are Attaching Directly To The Wall Check Your Room Is Square

This is important as if the room isn’t square where you plan to put the cupboard, it will affect the design. This could result in the doors not hanging properly or wonky shelves, for example.

Read this guide from Carpentry Tips and Tricks which shows you how to check if your room is square.

Pro Tip: If securing to the wall, ensure you check for pipes and cables before drilling.

3. Build The Frame

Start by constructing the frame. If you are attaching the cupboard to the wall you should still build the frame away from the wall. The Spruce explains which joints you will need to connect the frame and struts together.

Use glue and screws to secure the frame together. Make sure you sink the screws into the timber so that when you put the cladding on, it sits flush on the frame.

Once you have the frame, you can either attach to the wall or move onto step 4.

4. Fix The Shelves In Place

You may want to have shelves in your cupboard. This is easier to do when the sides aren’t on as you have full access to the interior. You can use side rails to support the shelves or fixings such as these plastic supports from B&Q.

5. Attach Cladding

This is my favourite step as you really see the cupboard taking its final form. There are a lot of options when it comes to the aesthetic of your cupboard. You may use wallpaper to have your cupboard entirely match your room. Or go with a pop of colour for some interior design fun. Now is the time to attach your cladding to the frame.

6. Hang Doors And Attach Door Fixings

For the final touch attach your doors to the frame and add fixings. There’s a huge number of options from soft close hinges to many different doorknobs. These are the perfect finishing touches.

Final Thoughts ​

I love my full height cupboard, the storage is endless and it perfectly matches my room. Making cupboards is easier and cheaper than you think, and you could even extend your plan to making a full kitchen if you’re feeling adventurous!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you found this guide useful and managed to put these steps into action. As always, please remember to share if you think your family and friends will find this guide useful.