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How to turn an alcove cupboard into a fitted dressing table

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Today I’m sharing my DIY project to turn an alcove cupboard into a fitted dressing table, read on to find out the inspiration behind this makeover and to see how I got on…

When I first moved into my home, I was delighted with the amount of built-in cupboard space. Each room had at least one cupboard built into alcoves. The cupboards are fitted with those typically 50s doors and had a couple of shelves cobbled together inside from offcuts of wood.

Even though the storage space is really handy, the cupboards themselves were rather gross. I mean cobweb-filled-stinky-stained-poorly-papered spaces that I just didn’t want to use. In fact, we still haven’t used the kitchen pantry cupboard or under-stairs cupboard for anything – they are just too disgusting. Here are some before photos of the bedroom with the cupboard in the corner:When I started decorating my bedroom, I kept that cupboard door firmly shut. I didn’t even want to look in there, let alone strip off the wood-pattern vinyl wallpaper. I thought I’d just close it up and never use the space. But what a waste of space that would be, eh?So, when I was feel particularly motivated one day, I took a hammer to the shelves and started the process of bashing them out. I say ‘bashing’ because there was no delicate way to unscrew the fixings that were inside the cupboard. They’d been nailed in with 6-inch floor nails! A whole lot of smashing ensued, and eventually the rotten wood crumbled away and I was left with an empty alcove.

I like this illuminated alcove dressing table but would like to be able to close the space away when not in use 

I knew I wanted to create a useful storage space but I already had all the wardrobe storage I needed, so what’s a girl to do with a spare alcove cupboard? Why, turn it into a fitted dressing table, of course! There wasn’t really room for a free-standing dressing table in the bedroom, so it made sense to fit it into the cupboard. Plus, I loved the idea of be able to close away all the mess of hairdryers and make-up inside.

This is a very glamorous version of an alcove dressing table – if I had such pretty bits ‘n’ pieces I’d probably want them to be on display too!

I did my Pinterest research, and found these inspirational ways to use small cupboard spaces. Although I didn’t find exactly what I wanted to create, there were elements of each cupboard that I wanted to incorporate into my storage space. I wanted an illuminated space, plenty of storage, pretty accessories and a way to close the door when I’m not using the dressing table.

This cupboard has a mini-home office inside it – another great idea for using fitted cupboard space.

Such a sweet dressing table – I like the drawer but I would need more shelves and bigger mirror!

When we were flooring the bedroom, I made sure that the white laminate planks continued inside the cupboard and I even fitted skirting board around the edges to finish it off. And I drilled a hole through the frame to bring a power socket into the cupboard so that I could plug in my hairdryer. The whole alcove was painted white and I set about adding shelving, using leftover pieces from my wardrobe construction. Shelving for storage boxes was essential, and I knew that I wanted to get some low-cost white boxes from IKEA, so I measured the space for my shelves to fit the measurements of those boxes. I also needed a mirror space and worktop to sit at while getting ready. And I thought it would be handy to have space below to store laundry baskets.As my dressing table was essentially going to be inside a cupboard, I soon realised that it would be difficult to get enough natural light into the space. So, I concluded that I needed an illuminated mirror.  Yes, I HAD to get a super-glam Hollywood-style light-up mirror. It was an essential. 😉So, after umming and ahhing over the variety of illuminated mirrors available I decided to go for this Cooke and Lewis one from First Choice Lighting. I’d worried that the light from a battery powered mirror would be too weak to light up the cupboard, but this one was amazing. It IS battery powered, so it can be positioned anywhere with ease, but the LED lights are super-bright, without being SO bright that they make you squint. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the lights are just right.This mirror is actually designed to be hung in a bathroom so fine to be in a moist environment and now that I’ve seen how great the lights are, I’m actually considering getting a second mirror for my bathroom too. It can be hung portrait or landscape, so I installed it in a landscape orientation, which fits inside the alcove perfectly.Is there anything more satisfying than pulling the protective film off a mirror? Oooooh, I enjoyed it. So, all the fixtures and fittings are in place. My disgusting old cupboard is now a fresh white space, and I’m ready to fill it with storage, accessories and laundry baskets. With just a few finishing touches my fitted dressing table cupboard will be complete, so come back soon to see the finished space!

Author: Cassiefairy

Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: How to DIY an alcove dressing table - the finished project

  2. Thanks so much! I’ll be sharing some more pics of the finished project soon 🙂

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