· · ·

DIY Built In Desk Makeover with Crown Molding Tutorial

Hey there!! Hope everyone in Texas stayed safe in the hurricane, and now I hope all my readers are safe in the wildfires, and soon to be Irma landfall!! Ugh!! Can we just stop with all this nonsense already? I just want to build and paint and decorate…is that too much to ask weather?! Lol!! Weather is just a big bully I tell ya!! ????

Okay, so do you remember back in March when I posted my new Home Right paint sprayer on Instagram? What?! You don’t follow me on Insta?? Get over there and hit follow!! ???? Oh you’re back now, okay I’ll go on! Anyway, I said then that I was going to start painting my cabinets…I didn’t specify which cabinets because I planned on painting all of the cabinets around my built in desk area and the kitchen! But on the first day, I figured I would not overwhelm myself and just start with the built in desk cabinets because I knew I would not get them all done very quickly! Little did I know just what life had in store when I took those cabinets down! Lol!! I took me until now to finally get them finished!! But here they are!

DIY Built in Desk Makeover

DIY Built In Desk Makeover

I couldn’t be happier with how they look now vs then!! Not that this area is exactly how I want it by any means, if it was my home, I would have gutted the area and made a closet on half with a sliding barn door, but since it’s a family home on family property….it’s not mine! ???? So working with what I had, I think it still looks great, even though it could ultimately look better!! Lol!!

I will share a few more shots and then the ‘sort of’ before shots…but first I must explain, and you will not believe this shizzle!!???? I lost my memory card that had three or four unfinished projects on it…the before shots to this project included, which is one of those things that gets you thinking, how does that even happen when no one normally touches my memory cards…but this one seemed to have slid through everyone’s hands and no one knows the where abouts of it!! ???? Anyway, as if that isn’t crazy enough on it’s own, I started taking pictures with my phone as well because I had planned on sharing progress shots in Instagram…well I never ended up sharing them, and I KID YOU NOT, as I was about to start typing my post yesterday evening my phone mysteriously fell off the couch, and that was the last straw for my friend the phone!! May she rest in pieces!! ???? She rang once but you couldn’t make out anything on the screen and because they couldn’t use the screen they couldn’t rescue any pics for me!!???? But oh well, I will make do and this post just won’t have the before and after wow factor that it may or may not have had if I had the pics!! ????

DIY Built In Desk Makeover

DIY Built In Desk Makeover

Now for the before…dun dun dun duuunnnn!!

DIY Built in Desk Makeover

That is the best ‘before’ photo I have now!! ???? Notice the cabinet pulls…my aunt only drilled one hole and so they always swung different directions…I am thinking she put them up and planned on changing them but never got around to it!! Lol!! Seems that is how I roll too!! Anyhoo, I did find one pic that I apparently imported at some point off my phone so it’s not a total before but it is better than nothing!! ????

DIY Built in Desk Makeover

I really like all the shi stuff on the desk while I was working…I am sure I needed all it!! ????????

Here I started priming them!

DIY Built in Desk Makeover

How embarrassing! All my junk I stuff into my cabinets!! ???????? And, um, who left ALL their water bottles here????? So we literally lived cabinet door-less for six months!! Ugh!! It was so annoying!! Seeing the after makes me want to tackle the kitchen sooooo bad…but seeing the in between photos makes me say, “HOLD UP GIRL, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!” ????

As you may have noticed, I built the cabinets up and added crown molding! Down below I will share the how to and show tips on making this renter friendly! I have to mention that all in all for this little makeover I only spent a total of $230.00, that was including the paint sprayer that I can now use on all my projects, wood, cabinet pulls, paint, primer and paint brushes!! And the guy at Sherwin Williams made a really great point…the size of my built in desk area is about the size of a small kitchen based on the amount of cabinets! I mean my last kitchen didn’t have but I think six cabinets in it!! ????

Let’s start digging into the how to on adding the crown! I also added quarter round molding to the base of the cabinets because our tile didn’t have grout all the way up to the cabinets! It drove me crazy, so this was a simple fix to make the base look finished! I didn’t include this in the materials list below! But it was just 1/2″ quarter round molding!


1 – 1x8x10

1 – 1x4x8 (or any size smaller than 1×8 scrap pieces of wood)

1 – 10′ stick of crown

1 – 1-‘ stick of molding

brad nailer

1 1/4″ brad nails





Cut List:

You’ll have to measure your own space, mine was 119″!

1 – 1×8 @ 119″

3 – 1×4 (or scrap wood) @ 11 1/4″

1 – stick of crown @ 119″

1 – piece of smaller molding 119″

Building the Crown Molding

Alright so I’ll explain the difference between the renter friendly version and the permanent version as I go! The renter version is basically putting the thing together and sliding it in place!

diy built in desk makeover with crown molding

For the permanent option use pocket holes drilled at 3/4″ and screw the small boards into the tops of the cabinets very first!

diy built in desk makeover with crown molding

Then brad nail the front onto the stationary small boards!

diy built in desk makeover with crown molding

Now on both variations you can add crown molding!

diy built in desk makeover with crown molding

And then add the base molding to cover where the board meets the top of the cabinets!

diy built in desk makeover with crown molding

Caulk all the areas where molding meets the board and Viola!! If you did the renter version, slide it into place! If you did the permanent version…it’s already in place! Yes!!! Prime it and paint it just like the rest of the cabinets!

Stripping the Cabinets

To give a little run down on how I did the cabinets I will explain here even though I don’t have pics of the steps…and I will update the post to include the pics if I find the memory card!

I started by of course taking all the doors off the hinges and stripping the old stain! I used citri-strip on mine, you can find it HERE (affiliate link)! It worked amazing even on their three coats of high gloss poly!! Took it off first go around, no problem!

Once I had them stripped down, I cleaned them well with mineral spirits!

Priming and Painting the Cabinets

Next, I started spraying the primer on the cabinet doors and hand painting the primer on the face frames! The sprayer I used was the Home Right Finish Max, I bought mine right before they came out with the new version that you don’t even have to dilute some paints!! ???? The one I bought is still cheaper though!! Lol!! Here is the one I have and you can grab it HERE! (affiliate link)

The new improved version is this one and can be found HERE! (affiliate link) But mine is cheaper and worked great!!

For primer I went with the Zinsser water based from Home Depot!

DIY Built In Desk makeover and crown molding

As for the paint I used Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Water Based paint…I want to say it is the most amazing paint I have ever used, and when they say it settles to not show brush strokes, they are not lying!! Lol!! I have tried a lot of paints that claim this, and they have all let me down! I have added floetrol to my paint to try and acheive this to no avail! This paint though, does it like no other and without any additives!! I did happen in on their 40% off sale which if you watch they have sales pretty often!! The bottom cabinets are Dorian Gray!

DIY Built in Desk Makeover with crown molding

Top cabinets are Alabaster!

DIY Built In Desk Makeover With Crown Molding


I am not sure if this had anything to do with how well it settled or not, but I hand painted the face frames and sprayed the doors, when you spray paint the paint, you have to dilute it with water to make it thin enough to spray, so I kept my paint brush wet while I painted the face frames and maybe it helped, maybe it was coincidence? ????

DIY Built In Desk Makeover with crown molding

Great setup I had going on in my dining area!! ???? I painted them inside because the paint had no real odor and I didn’t have a spray shelter, so I would have had all kinds of bugs in my paint!! ???? Once the cabinets were painted, I left them sitting for over 2 weeks, and then accidentally stacked them on the table in case our house flooded during Harvey, and some of them did stick a wee bit! ???? I just lightly touched the spots with a tiny paint brush and no one will ever know!! So don’t do what I did and stack them…ever….just to be safe!! ????

Cabinet Hardware

I used the Liberty Mandara Cabinet pulls and knobs from Home Depot! I was able to get them in packs in the store which saved quite a bit of money! I then painted them Pure Gold by Rustoleum! I reused the hinges that were on the cabinets as well and just spray painted them the same color!

DIY Built In Desk Makeover with Crown Molding

Counter Top Fix

One last thing that you normally wouldn’t have to do that I did, was painting the front strip of the counter top! They used black granite tiles to create the counter on the desk, not that it looks that bad, but it left them uncertain with how to finish the front of it and they ended up placing wood on the front and I wasn’t crazy about it!???? I was going to rip it out and pour a concrete counter here, but it was going to be full on demoing the tiles and then finding the screws under the grout because the plywood was screwed into the cabinets underneath the tiles! ???? So I risked messing the cabinets up in the process of trying to change the counters and didn’t want to take that risk for a home that we may only be in a few more months! So I just painted the front solid gloss black to match the granite tiles and look more like a solid counter! It works better than it did but not my favorite part of the desk!! LOL!!

I think that pretty much sums up the makeover!! I enjoyed it and love the look now!! It was worth the effort for sure in the end, even though I questioned myself so many times in the process!! So if you are wanting to take the plunge and repaint cabinets, DO IT!! It will be worth it!! ????

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, hopefully full of cabinet painting!! ????

Lots of Love,


DIY Built In Desk Makeover with Crown Molding




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *