I’m breaking down the process I used to build these home office built-ins so that you can easily replicate it in your home.

Part 3 – doors, drawers and paint

*This is a #sponsored post.  I was provided with product and payment in exchange for providing my use and experience with DAP® Canada products.  As always, all opinions are sincere and my own.

For the other tutorials, click any of the links below:

Part 1 – base cabinets

Part 2 – upper shelving

Part 3 – doors, drawers and paint (you are here)

These are the cupboard doors that came with the cabinets I purchased from Lowe’s; a plain white melamine on both sides, with inset hinges.

Normally I’d tell you not to bother with melamine furniture; refinishing it with a paint that will last is risky.  You really have to do a quality job of sanding, use a high-quality primer and then a high-quality furniture paint to get a finish that will last.

In this case, with the melamine being on cupboard doors, they won’t see a lot of traffic to wear down the finish, so I decided it was worth the extra effort to save a few dollars.

melamine cupboard doors

Ignore the cuts in the melamine cupboard door front – I got a little slap-happy with my saw and did a bit of damage. 😬  Not to worry, this part is going to be covered with extra trim to make the cupboards into the shaker style look.

(…continued from part 2)

Step 24

Decide on the width of the trim you’d like to add to your cupboard fronts.  I went with 1 ½” because I decided to rip down a 2″x4″ for my trim pieces.  

I used my table saw and ripped the 2×4 into ¼” widths.

Using my mitre saw, I measured and cut the side pieces for each cupboard door, and then the upper and lower pieces which will be inset between the sides.

Step 25

Using DAP® Construction Adhesive Max Strength, I ran a bead along each trim piece and then adhered them to the cupboard fronts.  Clamp tightly until dry.

applying shaker trim to melamine doors

DAP® Construction Adhesive Max Strength is a premium hybrid adhesive that delivers 5X faster bond strength than competitive polyurethane-based heavy duty adhesives for heavier applications where bond strength and speed are critical. This easy-to-gun, moisture-curing adhesive can be applied in a wide range of temperatures for heavier interior or exterior jobs. Offering exceptional adhesion to porous & non-porous building materials, DAP® Construction Adhesive Max Strength is a versatile high-performance adhesive ideal for application on wet surfaces, PVC, glass, marble, and metal.


applying shaker trim to cupboard doors

Step 26

Use DAP® Wood Pro All-purpose wood filler to fill in any gaps in the seams and let the cupboard doors dry.

Step 27

While the cupboard doors are drying, now is a good time to make the drawer boxes for your DIY home office built-ins.  

I have a terrible time with drawers and it’s mainly due to inaccuracy… drawer boxes have to be perfectly square and EXACTLY ½” narrower than the width of your frame.  (The ½” is for drawer glides, if you are using different sliding hardware, please see specs for drawer size before building).

I used some leftover maple boards I had from my bookcase makeover a few months back and built these GORGEOUS drawer boxes:

maple drawer box


You can see that I started with a full bottom and then added the sides and front and back on top.  The front and back boards are sandwiched between the side boards and are held in place with wood glue and 1 ¼” finishing nails.

Before installing the drawer glides and drawer boxes, I gave each one (4 total) a coating of butcher block oil to really bring out the grain.  I know, I know – no one will see this but me, but it’s my special treat to myself.  Why not enjoy something beautiful when you look in your drawers.  😂

maple drawer boxes

Step 28

Install the drawer boxes per the drawer glide instructions.  I won’t even offer any hints here because I’m TERRIBLE at drawers.

Step 29

Your cupboard doors should be dry by now – use DAP® Alex Flex® Premium Molding & Trim Acrylic Latex Siliconized Sealant to seal the narrow gap between your new shaker trim and the cupboard door front.


It’s small, but it’s noticeable when you apply paint.


Step 30

It’s time for sanding of your DIY home office built-ins.  Remember to close your vents and doors, open your windows and seal your cold air return before going to town with your random orbit sander and 150 grit sandpaper.

DIY home office built-ins

Sand it all baby!  Every nook, cranny, and seam.  Smooth out every bit of wood filler and level out any imperfections.  It’s tedious (cathartic for me), but so worth it in the end.

Once all of the sanding is done, wipe down all of the shelves and cupboards and vacuum (shop vac) up as much dust as you can because next comes…

Step 31


Priming wouldn’t normally be that exciting, but you’ve ordered your primer in a pre-tinted base right?  Which means that you’ll finally get an idea of the finished product!

I used a paint sprayer to speed up the painting process, but it did mean a lot of prep-work as far as taping off the rest of the room with plastic sheeting.

Priming Home office built-ins



And that’s just primer!

Step 32

Sorry guys, that joy will be short lived because now we are back to sanding again.  The primer will have raised the grain on your plywood, so your entire home office built-in will have to be re-sanded to a buttery smooth finish.  It won’t take long though – all you’ll need is a sanding sponge wrapped with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper and a light hand.  No random orbit sander here; just hand sanding or you’ll remove too much of your primer coat.

At this point I noticed several small areas where I’d missed filling in nail holes or where seams weren’t quite level – so I applied another coating of DAP® wood filler and let it dry.

Sand the excess wood filler off, wipe down all of the cupboards and shelves and get ready to PAINT!

Step 33

Again, using a paint sprayer and Benjamin Moore Hale Navy in their Command formula, I sprayed all of the home office built-ins.  The Command formula can be recoated in less than 2 hours so I was able to get three coats of paint on in one day!

Step 34

Hand paint – with a paintbrush – all of the little nooks and crannies missed by the paint sprayer.  In my case, these were the areas where I had taped off and used plastic sheeting.  I also added primer and 3 coats of paint to the cupboard door fronts and drawer fronts (using a foam roller) while the inside unit was drying.


Step 35

Install your now-dry drawer fronts and cupboard doors onto/into your DIY home office built-ins!

installing drawers and doors on built-ins

Playing cards make great spacers when attaching your drawer fronts to your drawer boxes.  I used 4 cards on either side and on the bottom and top of my fronts before attaching them with finishing nails. 

I scored these GORGEOUS handles at an auction, but the drawer pulls I found on Amazon.  (Amazon affiliate links to similar items below – please click images for details)


DIY home office built-ins, glass and gold handles

DIY home office built-ins, gold handles

With the exception of levelling out cupboard door fronts and touch-ups along the wall line – my DIY home office built-ins were DONE!!

Ready for the reveal?