Our Craft Room Renovation: You Won’t Believe the Results

Final picture of craft table in craft room

We decided it was time to renovate my craft room. My craft room is in our loft. This space is perfect for my craft and sewing projects. In addition, I use this space as my office and to practice violin.

Throughout this blog post, several YouTube videos and additional blog post links are included in case you want to see a more in-depth description of a particular project.

To view a YouTube video about our total loft renovation click HERE.

Below is a picture of my craft room before we renovated it.

In this blog post, we will show you each step in our craft room renovation project: demolition, building shelves in knee wall, building a half wall (wainscoting on one side), updating the light fixture, painting walls and doors (and door hinges), replacing a Newell post with updated post, installing vinyl plank flooring, building a drop-down ledge desk, and best of all — a big, craft table with a lot of storage. 

Demolition 

First, we removed the drywall on the knee wall.

Then we removed the studs in the knee wall.

Neal also had to move the HVAC vents. They were originally in the knee wall about (eye level). He relocated them to the floor, which is more aesthetic.

 Remove Carpet

To remove the carpet, we started by prying up a corner of the carpet with a flat bar. Once the corner was loose, we pulled up the carpet in sections, using a utility knife as needed to cut it into sections. Cutting into sections made it easier to remove it from the room. 

The challenging part of carpet removal is pulling up the tack strips around the room and removing the MANY staples in the floor. We used vice-grips locking pliers to remove the staples.

To learn how to remove carpet (including how to remove the tack strips), check out the video below.

Build Shelves

Now that our knee wall space is cleared out, the next part of our craft room renovation was double-checking our measurements and starting to build our shelves in three sections. We had to make some decisions about how to build our shelves around the existing ceiling beams. The beams became part of each end bookshelf. 

First, we built a base from 2x6s on which the shelves would sit. Below is a picture of the base installed where the knee wall was previously.

Each shelf was constructed out of three-quarter-inch cabinet-grade plywood. I wanted each shelf to be over 12 inches tall to accommodate several 3-ring binders and for them to be deep (the knee wall gave us plenty of space for depth). This would give me plenty of space if I eventually used larger storage baskets. 

Using our table saw, we cut the sides, shelves, backs, and tops for each of the three shelf units.

Our next step was to prime and sand each piece. Then we assemble them like a puzzle. We put them together using screws. For two of the bookshelves, we had to cut out part of the backs and top for the ceiling beams.

We assembled the shelving units.

Neal also had to cut out openings for electrical boxes that he would install in the shelf base — one on each side of the base.

We built a new header above each shelf out of 2x4s and replaced the drywall above and on each side of the bookshelves. 

To give these shelves more stability and to give them a finished look, we added horizontal and vertical trim. 

Next, we installed the trim pieces.

Below is a picture after the trim was installed and the shelves were painted.

Then, we caulked all the cracks and painted each shelf. I am still amazed by how much caulk and paint transform a project. The picture below is after we built the half wall and installed vinyl plank flooring (more on these projects later in this post).

Here is the final result after the craft room renovation was completed.

For a more detailed blog post about how we built our shelves in the knee wall, click HERE.

To see a detailed video on how we built our shelves in the knee wall, check out the video below.

To see a time-lapsed video of how we built our shelves in the knee wall, click HERE.

Build Half Wall/Wainscoting

We opted to remove the existing handrail, metal spindles, and cedar post, which did not provide any structural purpose. Removing the post left a hole in the ceiling, so we patched this with a small piece of drywall and used sheetrock mud and a stipple paintbrush to make it match the existing stipple ceiling. 

Neal replaced the railing with a half wall. We built a frame with 2x4s and screwed this to the floor. Notice we added an electrical outlet in the half wall.

Our next step was installing drywall on both sides of the wall.

To learn more about how to install drywall, click HERE.

Using our table saw, we ripped a pine board for the top of the half wall. We cut it to overhang about a half inch on both sides of the knee wall.

We opted to install wainscoting on the stairwell side of the half wall. To do this, we installed a wider horizontal piece of trim on which the batten would rest and a 1 x 4 horizontal piece of trim that the top of each batten would touch. We cut battens from 1 x 2 pine wood. We caulked the top and sides of each batten as well as the other trim. Our final step was to paint this wall. 

For a more detailed blog post about how we built the half wall with wainscoting, click HERE.

To see a detailed video on how we built the half wall, check out the video below.

To see a time-lapsed video of how we built the half wall, click HERE.

Update Light Fixture

The next step in our craft room renovation project was removing the ceiling fan with light and replacing it with flexible track lighting. 

Paint Walls

We painted all the walls and the trim as part of our craft room renovation project.

To learn more about how to paint a room, click HERE

Paint Doors and Door Hinges

We opted to paint the existing doors. Because they had a natural finish, they took several coats of paint. Their first coat of paint was primer. Each door required three coats of white trim paint.

Click HERE to learn about how to paint a door.

The existing door hinges were brass. As we have done in several houses, we spray-painted the door hinges flat black.

To learn how to paint hinges, click HERE for the blog post and/or check out the video below.

To see a time-lapsed video of how to paint hinges, click HERE.

Replace Newell post & Build new post

As is typical when you are updating a room, you quickly realize some other areas or items need to be updated in the process. Replacing the Newell post was not on our initial list when we started our craft room renovation project. It was a 1980s-style Newell post.

Once we removed the old post, we attached a 1×4 to the wall to secure the three-sided box post we built to replace it.

We used 1 x 6’s to build the three-sided box.

For the trim, we used 1x2s, 1x4s, and 1x6s. See the picture below that shows where we added each piece.

The picture below is before we painted and caulked.

We made a cap for the top of the post with 1×6. We caulked and painted it.

For a more detailed blog post about how we built/replaced the Newell post, click HERE or check out the video below.

To see a time-lapsed video of how we built/replaced the Newell Post, click HERE.

To see how we wrapped our posts on our porch, click HERE

Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

The next step in our craft room renovation project was to install vinyl flooring, which transformed the appearance of the room and gave it a finished look. We have installed vinyl plank flooring at my mother’s home and in our entire basement. We love the result but it is labor intensive, especially when it is a large area (our entire basement).

Below is the final result. We love how this completely transformed the room!

To see the projects and learn how to install vinyl flooring, click HERE for the blog post or check out the video below.

After installing the vinyl plank flooring, we installed quarter-round as the shoe mold.

To learn how to install quarter-round shoe molding, click HERE

Build and Install Drop Down Ledge/Desk

I use the loft in our home as a craft/sewing room, office, and practice room for violin. I had a large traditional desk in this space. We removed it and opted to install a dropdown ledge on the half wall that I could use as a desk. This ledge can be used as a desk or extra counter space. We chose to make it a drop-down desk to allow for more flexibility when large projects.

First, we used a table saw and cut cabinet-grade quarter-inch plywood 58.5″ x 18.5″.

We also ripped pieces of trim (quarter-inch) to cover the plywood edges and give it extra support. Each piece of trim was cut at a 45-degree angle at each corner. We applied wood glue on each piece of trim and nailed in place using finishing nails.

We ordered these 14″ hinges from Amazon. Each bracket was installed in a stud. Neal used a level to ensure the brackets were level. Then we installed the desktop on the hinges.

Neal also cut a hole in the back of the ledge so I could thread electrical cords through the hole. I wanted this hole off-centered. He also added a double electrical outlet on the half wall. 

We primed the ledge/desk, sanded, cleaned, painted gray, and added a coat of polyurethane. 

It is very easy to raise and lower this desk ledge.

For a more detailed blog post on how we built this drop down desk, click HERE and for a more detailed video, see below.

To see a time-lapsed video of how we built the drop down desk, click HERE.

Now for the really fun part of our craft room renovation project. . . 

Build Craft Table

Let me say from the outset, that I LOVE my new craft table. It exceeded my expectations and might be my favorite DIY project we have ever done!

As part of my research, I watched many YouTube videos trying to determine what I wanted for a craft table. I would use this table for sewing projects, preparing hoops/frames for my embroidery machine, using my Cricut, small painting projects, and many other craft projects. 

Here are some things I wanted in my craft table: 

-counter height (36”) so I could comfortably stand while working on a project. (I previously cut fabric on a full-size bed in this room or on the island in our kitchen.) 

-large table top (plenty of space for sewing and craft projects). I used painter’s tape on the floor to visualize different size options to determine what size would work best for this space.

-ample storage, including some file drawers

-casters so I could be moved it as needed

-kneehole, so I could sit comfortably and work on projects

-space to store bolts of fabric

-toe kick (like a kitchen countertop has so you can comfortably stand and work at a counter/table). Adding casters gives me a little space for my feet but this is a nice addition. 

Design Craft Table

Building a craft table was the heart of our craft room renovation project. Neal thought through this project too. He wanted to build something that met all my sewing/crafting needs.

So, first, we designed the table – – we sketched out several versions and finally settled on our final design. I ALWAYS suggest sketching out (including all measurements) for any such building project. This helps to plan what materials and how much you will need. It also helps you to visualize your design and its functionality in the designed space. Taking time to plan is well worth the investment. If you need to alter your design along the way, that is ok too. We do this sometimes too. 

Use IKEA Drawer Units

We viewed many YouTube videos and Pinterest posts using IKEA drawers or shelving, which we thought was a good option to consider. 

Neal found two types of IKEA drawer units that became the core of our design. 

Alex HERE for the Alex 5-drawer unit.

Click HERE for the Alex drawer unit with file drawer.

We ordered five of the Alex drawer units (each with 5 drawers) for one side and two of the Alex drawer units with one file drawer each for the back side where the knee hole and fabric cubbies will be. 

Build Platform

To build a platform, we used 2 x 4s. Notice we built a U shape.

This is to allow space for a 26” knee hole (where I will be able to sit and work) and the bottom of fabric cubbies (one on each side of the knee hole). We used a table saw to cut the length and width of the plywood and a circular saw to cut the kneehole space. Using screws, we installed the plywood onto the 2×4 base. The plywood will help the IKEA drawer units to sit flat on the base consistently, as well as provide stability.

NOTE: the side of the base is actually smaller than the base of the cabinets. This is to allow for toe kicks. In other words, the base will not be flush with the bottom of the cabinets. This will be obvious later in the description. 

Install Casters

We installed 8 casters. Neal researched different casters and the weight each would hold. We originally installed larger casters, but they were going to make the table too tall. Hence, we recalculated the weight of the caster we eventually installed and decided they would hold the weight of all 7 draw units, the base, the tabletop, and all the items I would store. Fast Forward: I am able to move my table with no problem. 

Compensate for the Cabinet Height Difference

There was a slight difference (about a quarter of an inch) in the height of the two types of cabinets, so we added these slats on the base on one side to raise the cabinets on one side. 

Assemble & Install IKEA Drawer Units

We spent an afternoon putting together all seven IKEA drawer units. 

Then, we were finally ready to install the IKEA drawer units on the base. We placed each cabinet and then carefully measured each under edge to ensure the overhang (over the toe kick) was consistent around the base. We used two screws to install each cabinet to the base. Notice that each unit does not have the drawers installed yet. This enabled us to manage the cabinets easier and to screw to the base (and later screw to the top). 

Install Metal File Drawer Labels

I wanted a way to label each drawer so I ordered these metal file drawer table holder frames from Amazon. We installed these when we assembled each drawer. 

HERE is the link on Amazon.

To install them, I determined where I wanted the frame on each drawer and then made a template out of card stock. This made the installation process much easier. I held the template on each drawer, used a fine-point sharpie to make the screw hole on each side, and then tapped a small nail to start the screw hole on each side. Having a small hole started made it easier to start each screw. 

Later, I made a three-column label template in MSWord (a little trial and error to get this just right) and then printed my labels on card stock. I am so pleased with how these turned out. 

Install Toe Kicks

We priced toe kick boards in the cabinet department at Home Depot and were shocked by how much each piece cost. So we decided there had to be a more cost-effective option. Hence, we purchased a piece of shiplap paneling and ripped it (one section at a time) on the table saw. We used a finishing nail gun and installed this around the base. 

I used a white cabinet wax pencil to fill in each nail hole. I carefully touched each corner (where two pieces joined) with white paint to make the cut ends blend with the cabinet. This worked like a charm. 

Build & Install Table Top

We used 3/4” cabinet-grade plywood as the tabletop. Neal did not want this to look like a sheet of plywood, so he added strips of wood (each cut at 45 degrees on each corner of the tabletop) to give the appearance that the tabletop was thicker. He is so smart!

Because the edging would hang below the table top and block the opening of the top drawers, we inserted strips under the table top so that the top would be elevated and thus the top drawers could open. 

When screwing the tabletop to the IKEA drawer units, we make sure our screws were long enough to go through the top of the drawer units and catch the bottom side of the tabletop but NOT TOO LONG to go through the tabletop.

After constructing the tabletop, we primed and then sanded it while it was still outside. We will paint and put polyurethane once it is in place. 

Build Fabric Bolt Vertical Cubbies

Our next step was to build vertical cubbies to store bolts of fabric. We used the part of the protruding plywood base for this. Neal installed a piece of cabinet-grade plywood for the wall of each cubbie, which also served as part of the knee hole (where I will sit). The side of each IKEA drawer unit will serve as one side of the vertical cubby. We also cut a piece of cabinet grade for the top and bottom of each cubby. To give it a finished look, we installed strips of trim around the front perimeter of each vertical cubby.

We caulked, primed, sanded, vacuumed/dusted, and painted the plywood and trim for each vertical cubby. We did not paint the side or back of each cubby because they were part of the IKEA drawer units. 

Finish the Knee Hole

We added a thin piece of PCV shoe mold around the bottom of the knee hole where the back of the IKEA draw units came together with the toe kick. This covered a gap. We also added this same trim on both sides of the knee hole on the outside of each vertical cubby above the toe kick. 

We caulked and painted this trim.

Caulk, Paint, Sand, and Polyurethane Table Top

Like putting the icing on a cake, it was time to finish the tabletop. I chose country gray to match the ledge/desk we previously installed. We painted, lightly sanded, vacuumed/dusted, and then rolled polyurethane to give it some protection. To date, I only put one coat of polyurethane. Because I rolled it, it went on a little thicker and seemed to have enough protection. I can always add another coat of polyurethane if I think it needs it. 

Here is the front of my craft table.

Here is the back of my craft table.

To see a more detailed blog post on how we built our craft table, click HERE and for a more detailed video about how we built our craft table, check out the video below.

For a fun and time-lapse video about how we built my craft table, click HERE.

Final Thoughts on My Craft Room Renovation Project

 The real joy was organizing and moving sewing and craft supplies in the drawers. I was stunned by how much room I now have. The same goes for my new shelves built in the knee wall. I have several 3-ring binders (many Bible study notebooks, sewing patterns notebooks, smocking pattern notebooks, music notebooks for violin), books, and other crafting supplies. In addition, I have more shelves and crates with sewing/craft supplies in the adjacent room. I was able to spread out and organize all of these items. This also enabled me to sort my fabric (gingham, seersucker, stripe, polka dot, etc.) in my crates. I can find things so much easier now and it makes working on a project that much more enjoyable.  

I absolutely love my renovated craft (sewing) room! It is beautiful and functional! 

To see the video of our loft/craft room renovation from start to finish, watch the YouTube video below.

Don’t forget to Pin this for future reference.

Pinterest Pin Craft Room Renovation

Let us know if you have any questions or what you think by commenting below. Happy DIYing!

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