how to build a cupboard

How to Build a Cupboard (Step-by-Step DIY Guide and Top Tips) – UK Edition

When I was shopping for a new cupboard, I couldn’t find anything in the shops that met my requirements.

I soon realised I could build a cupboard that would meet my storage requirements, fit my room’s decor and save money. A win-win-win!

In this easy-to-follow guide, I’ll share my experience and show you how to build a cupboard that fits your requirements.

Tools & Materials



  • 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? Will you attach it to the wall or fill a space like an alcove? Will it be freestanding?

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

You need to consider the frame. Think of this as 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 your many doors, you may need struts to hang the doors on or put catches on.

When you are confident in your design, purchase all the necessary materials. 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. For example, this could result in the doors not hanging properly or wonky shelves.

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

Pro Tip: Before securing your cupboard to a wall, 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 need to connect the frame and struts together.

Use glue and screws to secure the frame together. Ensure 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 it to the wall or move on to 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 see the cupboard taking its final form. There are a lot of options when it comes to the aesthetic of your cupboard. For example, you can use wallpaper that matches your room’s decor or paint it with a bold colour for some interior design fun.

6. Hang Doors and Attach Door Fixings

Attach your doors to the frame and add fixings. There are many options, from soft close hinges to many different doorknobs. These fixings are the perfect finishing touches.

How to Build a Cupboard – 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!

When building cupboards, a combi drill is your best friend. If you plan on buying a new one, check out our reviews of the best cordless combi drills in 2022.