Couple Save Hundreds By Building Their Own Stylish Alcove Cupboard
- Jessica and Eric, from the West Midlands, made the £40 cupboard from scratch with MDF off-cuts
- Decorative moulding, a lick of paint and antique gold handles gave their design a modern traditional look
- Say they've “saved hundreds” compared to calling in a professional carpenter
A savvy couple turned a wasted space into a stylish cupboard on a £40 budget by building a bespoke solution with cheap MDF off-cuts.
Jessica Lloyd-Bate, 26, a full-time artist, and her partner Eric, 34, an industrial roofer, spent just five hours on the project and say they’ve “saved hundreds” compared to commissioning a professional carpenter.
Inspiration for the DIY project struck one morning when Jessica decided something had to be done to hide the mess that dominated the alcove in the living room.
“There were a lot of wires, plugs and TV boxes in that area that couldn’t just be hidden behind furniture safely, so Eric and I decided that a cupboard was the best option – practically and visually – for a living room,” Jessica told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.
The couple, who are mid-way through a complete renovation of their detached 1940s house in the West Midlands (see @midlandsrenovation on Instagram), didn't waste any time in getting started.
“I’m a very spontaneous person,” says Jessica. “I just decided one morning that I wanted to go ahead and make the cupboard. Within a few hours, we were building it.”
The motivation to do it themselves was driven purely by budget.
“We needed to prioritise certain elements of the renovation works and our budget,” explains Jessica. “The alcove cupboard wasn’t high up on the list so the only way we were going to get it done if we found a way to do it for a minimal cost.
“There wasn’t really any planning behind it,” she admits. “I just did a quick search on Google for the appropriate materials to use and we were off.”
Jessica, who often turns to social media for inspiration, already had an idea of how she wanted it to look: modern with traditional touches, just like the rest of the house. The first step was getting the wood.
“There’s a cut-offs section at our local B&Q where you can get wood trimmed down to size,” she says. “We were very lucky that, on that particular morning, there were some large cut-offs of MDF that were ideal for the fronts and tops of the cupboard. It cost just £2.50 in total.
“We also had to buy the wood for the frame, the hinges, handles and magnetic strips to keep the doors shut when closed,” she adds.
The couple started by creating a frame for the cupboard, measuring up and marking the walls where each piece needed to go.
“We used a spirit level to make sure everything was straight,” she says. “Next, we used a circular saw to cut each piece of MDF for the front of the cupboard, including the doors, as well as the top piece.
“We also used a multitool to cut into the skirting board to allow the cupboard to sit flush against the wall. Once all the pieces for the cupboard were cut to size, we used wood glue, tack nails and screws to fix everything in place.”
After the cupboard doors were fitted, Jessica and Eric added some decorative moulding for a dash of detail that would tie-in with the traditional look of the house. A lick of paint and some antique gold handles completed the build.
The final stage was styling the area. The artwork is Jessica’s own while the lamp is from The Range and the vase and pampas grass from a small business in Shropshire called Willow Box Interiors.
“The ornament is from The Range and the plant and pot is from Homesense, which is my absolute favourite shop,” adds Jessica.
“We’re really happy with the outcome,” she says. “We saved hundreds of pounds compared to calling in a professional carpenter. Plus, the exact cupboard we had in mind has been brought to life.
“There are a lot of things in our home that we have turned to the pros for,” she explains. “You pay a day rate for most tradesmen, regardless of how long it would take, so based on other works we have had carried out by professionals, I expect this would have cost us around £400-£500.
“I love a challenge and we both really enjoy doing as much DIY as we can,” she continues. “If you’re looking to do a similar project, picking up some cut offs, like we did, is a bonus, even if you need to buy the materials new, it's still cheap overall. It’s important to have the right tools, but if you don’t have a saw then B&Q can cut the wood for you.”
Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk comments: “Jessica and Eric have done a stellar job of building the cupboard.
“Bespoke carpentry can be costly so they've made a fantastic saving by doing it themselves.
“The styling, using accessories from affordable brands such as The Range and Homesense, give it a luxurious look.”
What to read next?
- Skip The Smartphone Upgrade And Save Over £2k
- How To Slash £700 Off Your Moving Expenses
- Most Searched For Deals By Brits In Lockdown Revealed