How to Add Legs to a Cabinet

You can easily add wooden legs to your existing cabinet and take it from drab to fab with some paint and hardware. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to add legs to a cabinet, and you’ll be able to enjoy the satisfaction of creating a beautiful piece of black painted furniture.

Get ready to be amazed by the complete transformation your cabinet will go through. From getting rid of that old paint to adding leg braces and hardware, you won’t believe your eyes!. Read on for tips on how to add legs to a cabinet and see what it takes to get the job done right!

Old cabinet before getting a new paint job and new legs added to it.

If transforming furniture is your passion, or you’ve just picked up a beautiful cabinet that needs a little bit of pizzazz, we’ve got you covered. Giving a fresh, modern look to an old or simple cabinet is easier than you might think.

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With a dash of creativity, a little bit of elbow grease, and our helpful guide, you can add a new lease of life to your cabinet. So let’s dive right into it and help you embark on this exciting DIY journey of adding legs to a cabinet. Are you ready for some fun with furniture?

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Supplies for Adding Legs to a Cabinet

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To transform our cabinet, we used the following tools and supplies.

Preparing the Cabinet for Paint

Before we could add legs to this cabinet, it needed some work to get the cabinet ready for a new paint job. The original finish was pretty bad, and we didn’t trust that the original finish would hold up, so we removed it.

If your cabinet doesn’t have a bad paint job on it, you can definitely skip this step before adding legs and paint to your cabinet!

The first thing we did was remove the doors from the cabinet. This gave us the needed space to work freely inside and outside of the cabinet, as well as everywhere on each door.

For this process, we used Citristrip, plastic wrap to keep the stripper wet longer (so it would work better), a plastic scraper to scrape off the paint, and some mineral spirits and 0000 steel wool to scrub off paint in the details and stubborn places.

Using a scraper and stripper to remove paint from a cabinet

Here’s our list of the best tools for removing paint from wood to learn more about the different tools to remove paint and find out which one is best for your project.

Once we had scraped off as much paint as we could, we used mineral spirits and 0000 steel wool to clean off the remaining Citristrip and paint residue.

You can read in detail about how to remove paint from wooden furniture in our how to remove paint from furniture post.

Then we let the cabinet dry completely. This took a couple of days to get the saturated wood to dry out completely, but you can’t paint over wet wood, so it’s a pretty important step in the process.

Old wood cabinet with paint removed

Adding Support for Cabinet Legs

The next step in our process was to add support for the wooden legs. It’s actually pretty simple!

We attached 2×2 and 2×6″ pieces of wood under the cabinet to create a solid base for the legs. This helps distribute the weight evenly, making sure everything stays stable.

The bottom of a cabinet before adding new legs

To do this, we aligned the pieces of wood under the cabinet, making sure they were in the right position to support our new legs.

Once they were all set, we secured them using 2.5″ self-tapping wood screws, drilling them right into the underside of the cabinet.

Screwing in wood braces for legs on the bottom of a cabinet

We made sure the screws were long enough to go through the 2x wood and make it into the cabinet at least halfway to give these braces as much support as possible.

But if your furniture has old legs that will just unscrew, check out our post about how to add feet to a dresser for the process.

If you want to add height to a buffet, here’s how to add legs to a buffet.

How to Add Legs to a Cabinet

Next up, it’s time to add those fabulous legs! This can truly transform the look of your cabinet and give it an entirely new feel. Here’s our list of the best wood legs to add to furniture to help you choose the one that is best for your project.

To start, we added heavy-duty leg braces to each corner of the cabinet. These braces are specifically designed to hold wooden legs, and they’ll make sure that your new legs are sturdy and secure.

Leg plates screwed into wood braces on the bottom of a cabinet

We used the provided screws to screw the brace into the bottom of the cabinet.

Then, the legs are easy to screw into the leg brace, as long as they have a bolt to screw into the leg brace.

If your furniture legs don’t have bolts in them already, you can use a drill to make a hole in the middle of the leg, and then use a pair of pliers to twist hanger bolts into the leg.

Wood turned legs attached to the bottom of a cabinet

Our cabinet was pretty skinny, so the legs did make the cabinet a little more wobbly. If that happens to you, I would get an anti tip anchor to keep your cabinet from tipping if any little kids try to climb on it.

Painting the Cabinet

Alright, now it’s time for the real fun to begin – painting! After all that hard work of stripping, cleaning, and adding those snazzy legs, the cabinet is now ready for its ultimate makeover.

Wood cabinet with new legs attached

First things first, we needed to prime the cabinet! Using a paint roller, we applied the Aqua Lock primer in black all over the cabinet.

This primer is a dream. It’s a pro at sticking to surfaces, helping paint stick to the surface, and it’s tinted black, so it’s perfect for our next step. It also dries quickly and is water based so it’s easy to use. Here’s a list of the best water based primers.

Check out the best primers for painting furniture to help you pick the right primer for your next project.

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After letting our primer dry, it’s time to sand lightly to get that oh-so-smooth finish. We used 220 grit sandpaper to make the surface smoother. This might feel like an extra step, but trust me, it’s worth it for the silky finish.

Then I removed the dust with our shop vacuum that has a brush attachment on the hose, and then I wiped everything down with a tack cloth to pick up all the remaining dust. Any leftover dust that is left behind will make the finish look and feel bumpy.

And then it was time to paint! We chose General Finishes Enduro Poly in black because this paint is so easy to spray on, and doesn’t need a topcoat. It does have to be sprayed on though.

Using our Fuji Q4 paint sprayer, we gave the cabinet 3 thin and even coats of paint, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies, and letting it dry for an hour between coats.

I also lightly sanded between the 1st and 2nd coat with 400 grit sandpaper to make it feel extra smooth. Then I used our shop vacuum and tack cloth to remove the dust before painting the next coat.

Replacing Cabinet Hardware

Once the paint has fully dried, it’s time for the last stretch – the final touches! This is the part where your cabinet gets its personality.

We reattached the doors that we had removed in the beginning. Using the original hinges that we had cleaned all the paint off of. Putting the hinges back on the doors were a little tricky to make sure the doors were still level and would open and close, but we got it after a bit.

It’s best to label all the hinges so you know exactly where they go, and in what direction to make it easier to put the doors back on.

Close view of a black painted cabinet

Next, we focused on the hardware. We also just used the original hardware as well, so keep in line with its original look.

And there you have it – a stunning, updated cabinet! This process might seem lengthy, but the reward of seeing a tired, old cabinet transform into a stylish, unique piece makes it all worth it.

Just remember, the secret to a great finish is in the preparation and patience through each step.

black painted cabinet with new legs

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

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How to Add Legs to a Cabinet

black painted cabinet with new legs

Discover how to give a tired old cabinet a complete makeover in this guide on how to add legs to a cabinet.

Instructions

  1. Remove old paint from the cabinet using a paint stripper, scraper, mineral spirits, and 0000 steel wool. Let the cabinet dry completely after the paint removal process.
  2. Attach 2x2 and 2x6" pieces of wood under the cabinet to create a solid base. Secure the wood pieces using 2.5" self-tapping wood screws.
  3. Add heavy-duty leg braces to each corner of the cabinet. Screw the legs into the leg brace.
  4. Prime the cabinet using Aqua Lock primer. Sand lightly with 220 grit sandpaper and then clean the cabinet for a smooth finish.
  5. Paint the cabinet with 3 coats of General Finishes Enduro Poly in black.
  6. Replace the cabinet hardware.

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