Modern Console Cabinet




About: I am a novice woodworker and DIYer. Love to create with simple materials and tools.

In this Instructable I'll show you how to make a modern console cabinet. It's a great project for starters who want to create a great looking piece of furniture.

The way this console cabinet is build allows for a lot of customization to the interior and exterior with little to no impact on the rest of the build. That is why I did not specify my exact dimensions. You can build your console cabinet as big or small as you want. If you go big, do make sure to add enough internal supports to prevent the top from sagging.

Happy building!

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Step 1: Gathering Tools and Materials

For this project we'll be using a basic set of tools and some common materials. For the cabinet itself I used 15mm plywood, for the doors 3,6mm plywood, for the legs some 47mm x 20mm hardwood and for the back 2,5mm MDF.


  • some clamps
  • a pocket hole jig
  • a drill
  • circular saw
  • japanese pull saw or regular saw


  • wood glue
  • small nails
  • wood plugs
  • 400 grid sandpaper
  • pocket hole screws
  • small L-brackets and screws
  • paint and varnish
  • 15mm plywood
  • 3,6mm plywood
  • 47mm x 20mm hardwood
  • 2,5mm MDF

Step 2: Prepping and Cutting the Door Grooves

I had the wood for my cabinet pre-cut in advance. When you purchase plywood sheets from your local DIY-shop they usually offer a service to cut some of your materials to size. I made sure to have my precise plans drawn before going to the store. I was able to give them the exact measurements and they then cut the plywood pieces to size. This saved me a whole lot of work, especially since I don't own a table saw. Because the store used their table saw to cut my materials to size, I was sure all the pieces would be the correct size and would be 100% square. Something I might not have been able to do using a regular circular saw. The only thing we had to do is cut a groove in the top and bottom piece for our doors.

I cut 2 grooves so that one door can slide behind the other one.

I also cut my groove in the top of my cabinet a bit deeper. This way I can still take out my doors after the cabinet is put together by lifting them out.

To cut the door groove I used a circular saw. I made sure to set the correct dept on my circular saw. Then I clamped a straight piece down on the workbench to use as a fence for my circular saw. This way I am sure to cut in a straight line.

Use a small piece of sandpaper to clean out the groove. This will make sure the doors slide smoother.

TIP: When starting your cut. Make sure to start 15mm(width of the side pieces) from the sides. If you cut a grove all the way from left to right you'll and up with 2 little holes in the side of your cabinet.

Step 3: Assembling the Cabinet

For the assembly we will be using pocket holes to screw the side together. First we drill the pocket holes in the sides, center support and the shelve.

For the proper settings of your drill bit and the pocket hole jig, check the instructions from your jig. We mark our pocket holes, clamp the pocket hole jig in place and use the drill to make the pocket hole. We repeat this process until all pocket holes are drilled.

Using the pocket holes screws and a bit of wood glue we screw the sides and center support to the top and bottom piece. Using a square we make sure all are corners are 90°.

Once all the pieces are connected we apply a little wood glue to the pocket holes and insert a wooden plug in the hole. Now let the wood glue dry overnight.

Once the wood glue has dried, you can cut off the remaining wood off the plugs with a saw or even better a Japanese pull saw.

Step 4: Cutting the Door Handles

For the doors we use a thin piece of plywood. For the door handles we will cut a hole in the piece. You can change this by using a store bought handle and screwing these to the doors.

I also had the doors cut to size in the store. This makes your life a lot easier.

To cut the doors I drilled a hole in the section that would have to be removed and used a jig saw to cut out the hole.

Step 5: Assembling the Legs

For the legs we use a piece of 47mm x 20mm hardwood.

We start by cutting all the pieces to size. Pay attention to make every cut at a precise 90° angle.

The legs are a simple design: 4 legs connected with stretchers, held together with pocket hole screws.

First we mark and drill all the pocket holes and then we can easily assemble the legs. Apply a bit of wood glue and screw the pieces together.

We don't have to cover up the pocket holes with wood plugs here because these holes will be on the inside of the legs. You wont be able to see them.

Step 6: Preparing for Finishing

I chose to paint the cabinet white and put a coat of varnish on the doors and legs.

First we need to prep our cabinet, doors and legs. We sand everything smooth using a 400 grid sandpaper.

Make sure not to sand the plywood to much. The top layer of the plywood is not that thick. When you sand to much you might expose the underlying layers.

Step 7: Finishing the Cabinet

Before we start painting and applying the varnish we need to make sure to get rid of all the dust left behind by the manufacturing process and the sanding.

For the cabinet I applied a base coat and 2 layers of paint. Between the base coat and the first coat of paint I again lightly sanded the cabinet with the 400 grid sandpaper. After the first coat of paint I checked for small imperfections again and sanded smooth where needed making sure not to sand down to much. Lightly sanding like this after each coat makes sure you can achieve a smooth finish.

For the doors and legs we use a varnish. In total I put 2 coats of varnish on the doors and legs. Make sure to lightly sand everything with a 400 grid sandpaper.

Step 8: Final Assembly

Good job! You are almost at the end and will have build your own modern console cabinet. Just 2 more things to do and your cabinet is finished.

First we need to add a back to our cabinet. This is where we use the 2,5mm sheet of MDF. We first cut it down to size an carefully nail it to the back of our cabinet.

Finally we need to attach the legs to the cabinet. I did this by using a few L-brackets and screwing them in the legs first and then in the cabinet. Make sure to set your legs center of the cabinet. Measure the distance from each side until the legs are absolutely dead center of your cabinet. Now screw them in.

Congratulations. You should now have an amazing console cabinet for your home.

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    10 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Careful with having someone at the store cutting your sheetgoods on their panel saw. I had someone in an orange apron rip a 4'x8' sheet of plywood into two 4'x4' sheets for me and while the cut started right at 4' mark, it wandered about 1/4" towards the other end. Fortunately that was OK for the project I was working on, but it was a lesson in checking the work of others. Especially when it's your money being spent.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Could not agree with you more. Always check the work of others. When I went to the store to get my panels cut, I made sure that I went on a slow day. Found somebody who had time and was willing to help me. Made sure this person had used the panel saw multiple times. And I made sure to have a detailed plan of how the panels should be cut. This in my opinion helped a lot to make sure that my panels were cut according to my specifications.

    But if you can avoid it then definitely cut them yourself. This way you are absolutely sure it's done right. If it's not done right you only have yourself to blame ;).


    1 year ago

    I am a Mid-century modern fan. I like your interpretation. Those doors are perfect. I am sitting on a pile of Teak veneer I picked up for 2 cents on the dollar at an auction. When I get some time, I might give it a try, as my white 1970s Ikea console should be replaced. I don't trust pocket screws structurally and tend to use them sparingly and use more wood joinery and glue, but they sure simplify the process. Thanks.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you. I am quite happy how the doors turned out. I'm sure you will get great results with the Teak veneer. Unfortunately veneer is not that easy to find where I'm from or I've been looking in the wrong places ;).

    I just started out using pocket screws and found that it really depends on how the grain of the wood lines up in the two pieces. In the case of the cabinet I've build they make for rock solid connections. I would however only use pocket holes in places where you will never see them. As I was going to paint the cabinet I would not be able to see the pocket holes on the inside of the cabinet as long as I sanded the wood plugs covering up the holes completely smooth. So in my case they worked beautifully and made for a solid connection.


    1 year ago

    Love it. Would go perfectly with the chair mentioned above in this email.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you. I also have some plans for a chair that would go well with this console cabinet. I just haven't found the time to build it. When I do I'll definitely make an Instructable for it. ;)


    1 year ago

    This turned out so nice. Great project, and great instructions too!

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you! Next time I'll include a Google sketch-up file, might make things even more clear.