How to Build a Fauxdenza

On Friday, I gave you guys a little sneak peek of our new fauxdenza in the guest room. Today, let’s go into the step-by-step for this DIY project.

When creating a gameplan for this space, I knew that we absolutely needed some sort of hidden storage. But because this space is small (11×11), the storage piece needed to “pack a punch” and fit the space perfectly. That’s when the “fauxdenza” came to mind. I’ve seen many floating credenzas in the blogosphere (like this one & this one), and I figured it just might be a good bet for our guest room space. Many of the ones I saw used Ikea kitchen cabinets, and I liked that option because not only is it economical, but there are also so many cabinet sizes to choose from.

how-to-diy-fauxdenza-30So it was decided…we would build a fauxdenza for the guest room! After a bit of research I made the following shopping & supply lists.

Ikea Shopping List


  • Minwax Stain (color: Jacobean)
  • Plywood (Cut to Size at Lowe’s; I got Birch wood)
  • Hack Saw (make sure it’s one that is good for cutting metal)
  • Rags
  • Saw Horses & Plywood Top (for a little work station in the garage)
  • Polycrylic Finish
  • Wood Conditioner
  • Screws
  • Wood Veneer Edging
  • Sanding Sponge
  • Paint Brush
  • Utility Knife
  • Wall Cabinet Screws
  • Gloves

We first made a trip to Ikea, which is the least fun thing to do on a Saturday morning. Seriously, legit chaos up in there. BUT….I will fill you in on my little secret to get in and out of Ikea in less than 30 minutes <— not an exaggeration.

Make an Ikea shopping list online first (they have a tool on their website), print it out, and bring it with you. Then head right to the kitchen area, find an Ikea employee, and hand them the list. They will order everything for you, you will pay right there (yes, right in the kitchen area! No long line for you), and they will send you to the checkout to pick up your items. It was seriously the easiest Ikea trip I’ve ever done, and Finn was so incredibly thankful that I planned out what we needed ahead of time. Of course I was a little sad that I couldn’t randomly throw other fun items in our cart, but we were in and out in no time at all.

Once we had all of our Ikea products, it was time to put the cabinets together. Luckily, I have a husband who actually doesn’t mind putting together Ikea furniture pieces. (I know…he’s a keeper!) So Finn put all of the cabinet bases together while watching sports one day, while I worked on other parts of the guest room.

cutting-ikea-rail-with-sawWith the cabinets done, we needed to cut the Ikea suspension rail to size. It comes at 84 inches…but because our cabinets were only 72 inches across, we needed to cut it down. All it took was a hand saw, and some elbow grease, to get it cut down to the correct size. Hanging the suspension rail was fairly simple too. We just followed the instructions that came with it and drilled directly into the studs using screws made specifically for wall cabinets.

Then, you just slide the cabinets right on top of the rail. The cabinet bases were up, but it left much to be desired. Since these are technically kitchen cabinets, they tops are not finished. So we knew we would have to cover the top and sides with a beautiful piece of wood.


Here’s the hard part. You can’t just go to the hardware store and pick up some gorgeous lumber, because most lumber isn’t wide enough to cover the depth of the cabinets. So you either need to find a specialty piece of wood ($$$), or get creative like we did.

plywood-saw-horsesWe ended up buying a piece of plywood from Lowe’s for our wood. We got the nicest plywood they had (Birch), and it ended up being about $50. I know what you’re thinking…plywood? But if you follow these next steps, you can make the wood look incredibly high-end.

plywood-boardsSTEP 1: Get your wood cut to size at the store. We made 3 cuts. One for the top, and 2 equal ones for the sides.

veneer-edging-woodSTEP 2: Add a wood veneer edging to the sides of the plywood. This will hide the layers and give the wood a “faux” finished edge. I had never used this stuff before, but oh my goodness it’s magical.

iron-veneer-suppliesSimply cut the edging to size, place it on the edge of the wood, and use an iron (yes, iron!) to adhere it to the wood. wood-veneer-edgingIt doesn’t take long for it to adhere and it instantly looks amazing. If yours is a little long or too wide, just shave it off using a utility knife.

utility-knifeSTEP 3: Sand down the wood. I used a medium grit sanding block to sand the wood and make it as smooth as possible. Be sure to do the edges as well. Once it’s nice and smooth, dust it off using a rag or tack cloth.

minwax-wood-conditionerSTEP 4: Condition your wood. This just entails brushing on some wood conditioner in the direction of the grain of the wood. The plywood happily soaked this up. Allow 2 hours before staining (and as always, check the directions on the back of your can).

minwax-jacobean-stainSTEP 5: Stain the wood. We went with the color “Jacobean” to match our wood floors. Just use a rag and spread it out evenly over the wood.

stained-plywoodThen take a clean rag and go over all of it to make sure there isn’t a buildup of too much stain on there anywhere.

polycrylic-finishSTEP 6: I let the stain dry overnight, and the next day I got to sealing it. I used a water-based polycrylic for this step. Be sure to use a nice brush, and simply dip it into the poly and apply to the wood. Don’t overbrush it. Once I applied the poly, the wood looked much more vibrant & polished. I was loving it.

You’ll want to do at least 3 coats of the polycrylic and you need to wait 2 hours in between, and also give it a light sanding too. So make sure you do it on a day when you’re home so you can keep tending to your wood. I went back and forth to the garage so many times when I was working on it, but it was well worth it.

STEP 7: Bring your wood to your cabinets and get ready to install it!


This is where things went all wrong for me. When calculating the measurements for the 3 pieces of wood, I failed to include the width of the doors. So the cabinets were actually 15.5 inches deep…not 14.75 inches like I originally calculated. FAIL.

wood-too-short-fauxdenzaMy beautiful wood that I slaved over for days was officially useless. I put it up there and tried to convince myself that it could still work and look a-okay. But with some gentle nudging from my husband, I decided to do it the right way. So I headed back to the hardware store for new wood to add veneer, condition, stain, and seal it all over again.

wood-top-fauxdenzaBut since I knew what I was doing, I was able to fly through the steps, and a couple of days later I had new wood. To be honest, it looked even better than my first attempt!

how-to-diy-fauxdenza-19I secured the wood to the cabinet using wood screws. All I did was make a pilot hole inside the cabinet, and then screw through to secure it. Each piece only needed a handful of screws to stay secure.

how-to-diy-fauxdenza-31Rookie Tip: Make sure your screws aren’t too long where they pop out the other side. Also, when drilling your pilot holes put a piece of tape on your bit so you know how deep to drill. This will prevent you from accidentally drilling all the way through! 


Finn attached the hinges and doors to the cabinets while I worked on the wood pieces. It wasn’t hard…just time-consuming, as most Ikea pieces tend to be. space-under-credenza

We ended up installing our cabinets about 6 inches off the ground, so the floating is subtle. But it sure is nice that I’ll be able to sweep under there and keep it clean.  how-to-build-fauxdenza

The wood turned out way better than expected. You would never guess that it is plywood. And the deep, rich wood tones fit the guest room vibe perfectly. And I love it paired next to the white & navy. ikea-cabinets-storagehow-to-diy-fauxdenza-33

I have yet to fill these bad boys up all the way. But wow, tons of storage! I’ll probably keep one of the cabinets for guest room essentials…fresh towels, wash cloths, and mini toiletries. wood-edgeIn order to avoid doing any angled cuts, we kept the corners simple with the side piece meeting the top piece. It makes for a very clean

The gold knobs (which we chatted about last week) were a great finishing touch to our new piece. how-to-diy-fauxdenza-26

I’m not gonna lie, this project was more intense than I anticipated. Maybe since I had to do a large portion of the project twice…but still, I’d probably put this in the intermediate DIY category.

But I definitely couldn’t have found a better storage piece to fit this space as nicely as this one does. It looks professional and customized, and wasn’t that expensive to create. how-to-diy-fauxdenza-32

Tomorrow, get ready for a true wide shot of this wall! I’ll show you all of the gorgeous art we hung over the fauxdenza to really bring some personality and style to the space!


  • Erin

    awesome! sorry you had to do it twice!! but you know, that’s how you learn and get better!!! I do like the look of it. but attaching something to the wall freaks me out!! and i totally understand how difficult it is to find something long and skinny!! veneer strips are fantastic!

    • Exactly..definitely learned from my mistakes. I agree…attaching to the wall is scary! But going into studs made me a lot less scared of this thing falling off the wall. Hopefully it’s up there to stay!

  • shawnna griffin

    Hey girl This is so cool! Great job!

  • This looks great! And thanks for the Ikea time saving tip..definitely going to try that out 🙂

    • I couldn’t even believe how fast of a trip it was. But this would probably only work if you’re ordering items from the Kitchen area. But certainly made our day a heck of a lot easier!

  • Lauren J

    This is gorgeous! Could you give an estimated cost for this project? I’d love to try something like this in our living room.

    • Of course! So not super duper cheap..but also less expensive than buying a new dresser or credenza. Plus, you gotta love the fact that you can customize the exact size.

      I think we spent about $275 at Ikea (cabinets, doors, hinges, suspension rail, shelves). Then the wood was $50 and maybe about $20 in DIY supplies (rags, paint brushes, stain, etc) Then hardware for the cabinets too (ours was $6 per….but again you can totally customize this part)

      Grand Total…less than $400.

    • Lauren J

      Thanks! That really is pretty reasonable for such a large piece.

    • I agree!

  • Trang

    Girl, you out-did yourself. This looks AMAZING! I love seeing DIY’s like this. Such inspiration. I feel the need to go to IKEA and do my own hack now.

    • Thanks so much Trang! You should totally do it. You could easily handle this DIY!

  • Brittany McBean

    I love this! I’ve been wanting to do this same thing with a recycled pair of upper cabinets from an old kitchen. Do you think it would still work the same as the IKEA cabinets?

    • Yes! It should absolutely work and you’re gonna save a ton of money. Love it!

  • This is beautiful! Great job! Trying to figure out if there is anywhere in our house we could make this work…

    • Aw, thanks Diana!! I hope you find a spot that works =) Bridget’s searching her house for the perfect space for a fauxdenza now too!

  • This looks amazing! I am going to have to read re read and re read slowly to follow these steps. What are the size of the cabinets? The steps of staining of the plywood seem a little high maintenance. Is it easier than it sounds? I would be afraid I would have a big brush stroke mistake that I couldn’t fix. Seriously don’t know how you did this. It just looks gorgeous!!

    • Hey Colleen!
      Each cabinet is 24x30x14.75…so altogether with 3 of them they’re about 6 feet long! The steps were a bit tedious….not hard…just tedious. And when it comes to DIY projects I’m so impatient. But, it did pay off. I don’t think the wood would look as high-end without all of the steps, so it was worth it!

      Thanks so much! 🙂

  • Jenalyn Stewart

    Thanks so much for this post – it was the only one I could find using the new Sektion line from Ikea! Quick question (because I’m lazy and not so good at math ;)) What were the measurements of the 3 pieces of plywood once cut?

    • The top piece is 74inches long and 15.25 inches deep. The side pieces are each 30inches long and 15.25 inches deep.

      Hope this helps! Good luck Jenalyn!