With the clever use of ready-made bookshelves and kitchen base cabinets, you can get the look of a custom built-in bookcase at a fraction of the cost.Brian Patrick Flynn, Decor Demon
Use a measuring tape to determine what size built-in you need. Referring to these measurements, purchase ready-made kitchen base cabinets and bookcases. Place kitchen base cabinets in the proper location then measure to determine the dimensions needed for a plywood top (Image 1). Note: Kitchen base cabinets don't come with a top surface because the countertop is installed separately.
Referring to measurements, mark then cut plywood to size (Image 1). Tip: Use a level as a straight edge to create a perfectly straight line (Image 2). Place cut board on top of kitchen base cabinets to ensure a proper fit (Image 3).
Before painting plywood top, use a belt sander (or orbital sander) to smooth any rough surfaces (Image 1). Next, use a tack cloth to remove dust then apply several coats of semigloss paint, allowing the paint to fully dry between coats (Image 2).
After allowing at least one hour for paint to dry, attach plywood top to kitchen base cabinets with 2-inch wood screws installed through the bottom of the plywood top (Image 1).
Assemble ready-made bookcases following manufacturer's instructions then place them on top of the kitchen base cabinets. You can leave the bookcase back panel as-is or add a little designer flair by painting it a different color or covering the panel in wallpaper or fabric.
Based on dimensions of bookcases, measure, mark and cut trim molding to size, mitering the corners. Next, use a caulk gun to apply liquid bonding adhesive along bookcases' faces before attaching trim and securing it with a nail gun (Image 1). Patch any holes with wood filler and a putty knife. After approximately one hour, use a sanding block to smooth dried putty then paint trim to match bookcase (Image 2).