Before and after: installing 'faux' upper cabinets created a lofty laundry room

DIYer Brooke Waite bridged the gap under her laundry room ceiling with a 'faux' cabinet install and crown molding. The result is a loftier laundry room space, all for about $100...

Laundry cabinets DIY
(Image credit: Brooke Waite)

This was the laundry room in our farmhouse before we started demolition. Before we officially moved in, we replaced the flooring and baseboards and that’s about it. 

We have been using the existing cabinets and making them work for the past few months. But even after some TLC with the best paint for kitchen cabinets, they weren’t really looking that great, and I knew that I could make them more functional and beautiful.

The laundry room space to start:

laundry room cabinets

(Image credit: Brooke Waite)

Skill Level: Intermediate

Cost: $111

Time Spent: A weekend

Supplies used:

  • ½”mdf 
  • Beadboard 
  • ⅝” trim 
  • Crown molding 
  • Square clamps 
  • Jigsaw 
  • Nail gun/brad nails 
  • Caulk 
  • Spackle 
  • Hammer 
  • Screwdriver/screws 
  • Paint sprayer/paint 
  • Tape 
  • Plastic tarp

We removed the existing cabinets from the wall as well as the 1x4 cleat below them. We then rehung the cabinets about 6 inches lower. This will make them more accessible when reaching over the washer and dryer. 

Laundry room cabinets after

(Image credit: Brooke Waite)

Adding the 'faux' upper cabinets

I originally thought that painting the now lower cabinets would be enough but after DIY painting kitchen cabinets I discovered something that I should have done from the beginning. The gap between the cabinet and ceiling was too jarring and just didn't look right. I wanted to extend the cabinets to the ceiling. To do this, I needed to add a “faux cabinet” above the existing cabinet.  

Cabinets being prepared for a makeover

(Image credit: Brooke Waite)

I bought a piece of 2x4 ½” mdf from Home Depot and ripped it in half with my table saw. I cut the pieces to size in order to create a box to place above the cabinet. Actually, it was just a front and side piece secured together using wood glue and a few brad nails.

MDF board being cut

(Image credit: Brooke Waite)

I also put a couple of pocket holes in the box where the studs in the ceiling joists would be.

Drilling into a wall in laundry room

(Image credit: Brooke Waite)

I placed the box on top of the existing cabinets and secured using screws into the pocket holes and a piece of wood I attached to the box beforehand in order to secure it to the cabinet frame.

Making a panel above laundry cabinets

(Image credit: Brooke Waite)

When the box was secure I got busy cutting beadboard to cover the box frame. I used brad nails to attach the beadboard. I used a ⅝” piece of trim on the cabinet to hide to gap between the new box and the existing cabinet. 

A finished laundry cabinet

(Image credit: Brooke Waite)

Installing the crown molding

This is the part where I got intimidated! I knew I wanted to attach crown molding to the top of the upper portion of the cabinet… The problem was, that I’ve never cut or installed crown molding. I actually watched quite a few YouTube videos and even bought a crown pro jig made by Kreg from Amazon to help me cut the molding. This was a lifesaver. It ensures that the molding is cut at the precise degree for the best possible fit. 

The most important part of all of this is filling nail holes and caulking all the edges and seams to make everything look clean and finished.

Laundry cabinet makeover in progress

(Image credit: Brooke Waite)

Spray painting the upper cabinets

With all the trim attached and caulked and nail holes filled, I taped off the existing cabinets (that I’d already painted) as well as the ceiling in order to spray the upper portion of cabinets. I used the Emerald urethane trim enamel from Sherwin Williams for the cabinets and this paint sprayer. I would definitely recommend not skimping on this step. Good paint will make all the difference and will be sure to last for a long time!

Laundry cabinets makeover in progress

(Image credit: Brooke Waite)

Adding finer decorative and functional detail

Another thing I’ll note is that I added small brass cabinet knobs and soft-close cabinet hinges to the cabinet doors.

Putting hinges on cabinet doors

(Image credit: Brooke Waite)

I absolutely love these updated cabinets!! Adding the upper cabinet was definitely the right call and I’m glad I spent the extra time to do it. Not only are these more beautiful but I now have fully functional cabinets in this laundry room. 

The finished laundry room:

Completed laundry room cabinets

(Image credit: Brooke Waite)

Project Cost Breakdown:

  • MDF $20
  • Trim/Molding $24
  • Beadboard $22
  • Paint $33
  • Tape/plastic $12 (other misc.)

Total: $111

Brooke Waite

I'm a mom of three with a passion for interior design and DIY! I am currently renovating a farmhouse along with my husband and running an Airbnb in our hometown. I would define my style as loving clean lines with a good mixture of old and new. I love a modern cottage look and have been very interested in vintage pieces as of late. When I’m not spending time with my family or dreaming up another home project, I love to read, eat good food, and binge-watch crime shows on Netflix!