Our Moody DIY Basement Kitchenette REVEAL!

August 17, 2023

A reveal of our basement kitchenette transformation -- from an empty alcove with cement floors to a super functional space we love!

There are a few more projects to finish, but I'm calling this one DONE for now! I'm really, really proud of the work I did in this space. I tackled a few "firsts" and they turned out so well. 

We absolutely fell in love with this layout when we walked through our framed home all those years ago...but the basement is what completely sealed the deal for our family. 

There was a dedicated spot for a future kitchenette, and I thought we'd tackle this spot soon after moving in. 

Ha!! That did not happen. More than five years later I started working on building this kitchen and I worked my butt off on it before the holidays last year so we could use it during the winter months. 

This is how the room looked for years: 
ikea table turned farmhouse style

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Because I thought we were going to finish this space sooner, I didn't even have our builder install carpet here. It was a pain for those five years, but it was nice to not have to pull that up! 

When our son was younger this was a great spot for coloring and crafts. 

Over time we transitioned to a bigger table in the adjoining space, so this was just a storage spot for everything that would eventually go there. :) 
farmhouse IKEA table

1. The kitchen plan and layout.

I knew from the start I wanted this room to be moody and cozy like the rest of our basement. I also wanted to put this great space to good use. 

Last fall I shared my plans for this empty kitchenette and the cabinet layout I had decided on. I threw together some very basic graphics to show you the three sides of this room:
basement bar layout

The only appliances we had to consider were wine fridges we already had and a full sized fridge. We had a water line run for that when we built. 

The part I was most excited about was the sink! We had that plumbing roughed in when we built the house, so that placement was already set right in the middle of the back wall.

I think the builder of our home meant for the kitchenette to only be placed along the long back wall, but I knew we should take advantage of all that space!

2. The cabinet options and what we picked.

After months researching the best cabinet options for the money, I knew custom wasn't going to be a consideration. So I was looking into online and hardware store options. 

I shared the pros and cons of ALL of the cabinets available online and in store at the big box hardware stores. 

I decided on unassembled cabinets because they offered all the bells and whistles -- higher quality, soft close drawers, better materials -- but for less than similar options because I would have to assemble them myself. 

Putting them together was surprisingly easy! The instructions are simple to follow. I've used a lot of cabinets for projects over the years, and these were by far my favorite:
DIY fridge surround

I would 100 percent consider these for any future projects!

The cabinets were installed by contractors. I highly recommend having professionals do this for a large project!
Contractors who are familiar with cabinet installation will know how to add spacing between each cabinet, which is important when opening doors and drawers. 

3. Installing LVP flooring for the first time (and my thoughts).

For years I eyed a LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) flooring every time I walked through Home Depot. 

I was excited to finally get it down after all these years of cement floors! After living with it for a bit, I shared my thoughts on LVP flooring and some installation tips:
dusk cherry LVP floors

Once I got the hang of it, the install wasn't too bad at all. The working on the floor for hours part sucked, but the flooring itself was pretty easy to install.

Not saying I ever want to do it again, but it wasn't horrible. :) 

Our LVP flooring has held up beautifully! No scratches, dents or water damage so far. 

4. Installing the countertops, sink and faucet.

I've transformed many rooms from top to bottom over the years, but there were still a few DIY projects I hadn't tried. That's why I'm SO proud of what I accomplished in this space! 

Because I'm impatient, figured out how to install the butcher block counters, sink and faucet myself. I've installed smaller countertops before, but nothing quite this big. 

I cut the butcher block down, then treated and installed the counters. After that I cut out and inserted the sink, installed the faucet (and learned how to add plumbing to roughed in pipes) and the garbage disposal all on my own. 

It was starting to come together!:
westchester gray bar

I can't even TELL you how excited I was to have a working sink in that room and that I had done it myself! :) 

It's been months and not one leak! 

5. My backsplash pick and DIY "brass" gallery rail.

When I saw some crazy inexpensive black and gray ceramic tiles that looked like marble, I was hooked! They were exactly the look I had in my head for the backsplash. 

I installed them using the adhesive tile mats I love so much and then got to work on the long shelf (nine feet!) above the backsplash: 
open shelves in base cabinets

I've always loved the look of a brass gallery rail on a shallow shelf -- they are so classy looking and the shiny metal is a nice touch with the darker tones. 

The true brass options are crazy expensive though, so I came up with a much cheaper DIY tipping rail option using items from the craft store. I LOVE how this turned out!!

6. Adding counter-to-ceiling built ins.

This space is a great size! I could have gone with upper cabinets all the way around the room, but I knew it would be wasted space. 

You know how I love some smart storage, but we don't need quite that much! :) 

We only had uppers hung along the refrigerator wall, and left the other two walls open. My husband and son insisted on a TV, so that took up most of one wall. 

On the other one, I had a plan for a bit of decorative shelving that would be useful but also look great. One of my last projects in this space was building these simple counter-to-ceiling built ins:
counter-to-ceiling bookcases

I love that they add a bit of character, plus hold our wine glasses (find those gold wine glass brackets here) and some other bar-type items. 

7. Filling in that empty space above the cabinets. 

I've always disliked that awkward empty space between the top of upper cabinets and the ceiling, at least when it's such a an in between distance like this: 
filling in small space above cabinets

At our last house, I shared how I extended our existing cabinets up to the ceiling and made them look custom. 

This time I had to change up my method a little bit, because I wanted to hide that space, not use it. 

I made this one up as I went! 😂 Instead of making boxes for above the cabinets, I nailed some scrap wood into the ceiling so the front pieces of wood could nail into them:
filling in space above cabinets

You can barely see it here, but I also nailed a strip of wood into the top of the cabinet so the front panels could be nailed in at the top (ceiling) and the bottom. 

This was by far my least favorite project. All the angles suuuucked

But it's done!: 
wood counters black backsplash

Let's take another look at how this basement space looked before!: 
basement kitchenette before

empty kitchenette before

And how it looks now! 
wine fridges in basement bar

u-shaped basement kitchenette

DIY fridge built in
See how I built that shelf above the fridge here!

The whole build took about three months and we saved up and paid cash for this entire project. The only part I did not do was the cabinet installation. 
black backsplash gray cabinets

We have absolutely LOVED having a functional kitchen down there! 

Last winter we entertained down there quite a bit, and having a sink and fridge has been wonderful. I'm SO glad we went with a full size refrigerator. It's wonderful for snacks and frozen foods we make in the air fryer. :) 

There are a couple more small projects I'd like to do in this space. One is a fun accent wall treatment here: 
bookcases on countertops

And then I plan to build a bar/peninsula to the left of this wall of cabinets:
gray cabinets gray walls

It will hold the microwave and bar accessories, and will provide another spot to sit in the basement. I have it all figured out in my mind, and I plan to get that finished up before the end of the year. 

Here's a list of a few of the items in this project: 

So fun! I hope you enjoyed the DIY recap and the kitchenette tour! :) If you have any questions please let me know in the comments. 

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  1. The kitchenette is beautiful. Do you have a drop ceiling in your basement?

    1. Thank you! No, we have nine foot ceilings down there, it's great!

  2. Your basement kitchenette looks fabulous! You did a great job. Love the design, colors, and finishes.

  3. WOW!!! Amazing ~ it's beautiful.

  4. Beautiful! (As is all of your projects!) My OCD wants you to "crown" your DIY shelving to match what you did above your cabinets. But I'm anal like that. =)

    1. Thank you!! I'm planning on it! I have to finish the last smaller projects first. :)

  5. Oh my gosh that's amazing! You did such a great job on that. I love all of it!

  6. Lovely use for a basement; the kitchen is beautiful but about the one upstairs?

  7. So gorgeous!!!! Congratulations on creating such a beautiful and functional space! I imagine it'll make you smile every time you look at it! :)

  8. Great job, well done! Plus, you've obtained more skills.

  9. Does your husband help you with projects?

    1. No, he helps me carry things (like all of our cabinets down the stairs). But otherwise I do everything myself. :)

  10. Can we have a post dedicated to sinks and why you love this one? I saw the link routed to offset drain and my curiosity was peaked. - KNatGU

    1. Good idea! I love the black because it hides everything and I have loved the touch of black in our kitchens.

  11. Love it all. What color are your cabinets?

  12. Wow! Turned out beautiful! Another GREAT diy!


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!