I’m proud to be a crazy cat lady! Yup, I said it. Don’t get me wrong, we love dogs but it’s just not the right timing for us to have one right now.
Have you seen those pieces of furniture that conceal a litter box inside? They are really expensive. To some, it’s worth the investment. We would have spent the money on it, BUT all the furniture we found was simply too big (think low and wide) or just didn’t suit the room we needed it to be in.
So, DIY to the rescue! I researched a TON of different ways to do this and found lots of cool ideas on how to take a piece of furniture and turn it into a litter box cover up. Because of very limited space in our apartment, we knew the litter box had to stay in the exact place we had it originally and find something that would be appropriate for the room both size wise and aesthetically speaking.
In Houston we live not far from one of the best 2nd hand stores in the city (I’m pretty sure it has been voted “Best Antiques” for a few years now). We went one day just to browse around with low expectations; since stuff rotates through stores like this, you can never be sure you will find what you are looking for. But we had our fingers crossed!
We ended up finding this 2-door storage cabinet that we thought would work just perfectly. The size was right, and our litter box would already fit inside (no need to downsize the litter box or anything! yay!)
This thing was downright UG-ly. It had been painted a few too many times, and just looked very used and old. The fact that it had doors in the front meant easy access for scooping litter too! for less than $30 we snatched it up and I got to Home Depot for the makeover!
Materials I used:
- 1X4’s for the top of the cabinet, cut to fit
- poplar strips, cut to fit the cabinet door inset
- new knobs
- white paint + primer in one
- minwax stain
- a second helper!
- Paint stripper
- puddy knife
- paintable wood filler (for any gouges in the wood)
- electric sander
- screw driver
- power drill
- old paint brush
- wood glue
I had to remove this mesh screen stuff that was in the inset of the cabinet doors – it was terrible looking and very dated. I cut it with an xacto knife and then just pulled it off.
Next, remove the door hinges – if they are painted and really gummed up, put them in a slow cooker covered with water and turn the sucker on. The paint will soak right off in the hot water!
I had a shelf inside that I needed removed. It was literally built into the sides of the cabinet, so I had to use the jigsaw and cut it out. It doesn’t look pretty in there, but no one will see it. The point is to make room for the kitties to be able to stand in their litter box without having to crouch and be uncomfortable.
Take the paint stripper and pour it/paint it on one side of the furniture at a time. Follow the directions on the can, let it work its magic, and then scrape the old paint off! Try and get the majority off with the paint stripper, and THEN resort to the electric sander to get the rest off.
If there are any gouges in the wood, use paintable wood filler to fill in the holes. This takes a few goes, as it shrinks a bit when it dries. Be patient! Once it’s dried, sand it carefully by hand until smooth to the touch. If you feel any bumps, it will show once painted, so get it smooth!
Decide which side you want the hole to go on where the cats will enter inside the little box. I chose to do it facing away from where people would see it. Draw your hole on that side, and drill a hole where you will be able to start sawing. (I recommend measuring where the top of your litter box pan starts so you know to start your hole around the same height…otherwise you will be looking at the litter box pan through the hole because you started too low.)
Use your jigsaw to cut out the hole – this was my first time using a jigsaw. Power tools are no joke. They are powerful and LOUD. BUT more scary than they actually are. Just use common sense people and go SLOW. Better to cut wood than a finger! Once you have the hole cut out, sand the edges so they’re smooth with the electric sander.
Sand the entire body of the furniture until smooth – this is prepping it for painting. I didn’t have to do the top of the cabinet because I was covering it with wood planks. While you’re at it, do the doors of the cabinet. If you’re using 1X4 planks, sand the edges to round them a bit – it gives it that farmhouse chic look when the wood cuts aren’t so angular and square.
Get to painting! Paint the doors, the body of the cabinet etc. I had to do 3 coats to get it even.
While the paint is drying, stain your wooden planks and poplar pieces for the top and the cabinet doors.
Once dry take wood glue and drizzle it liberally on the inset of the doors. Put the dried poplar pieces in the door and make sure they’re spaced properly before letting it dry.
Get your helper! I didn’t want to see screws from the top of the cabinet in that pretty wood, so that meant we had to drill from the underside of the cabinet to secure the wood planks. PRE DRILL your holes people! I have had SUCH bad luck in past projects with not pre-drilling holes, and it’s just frustrating as all get out. So just do it! I made Geoff do the drilling as I held the wooden planks in place. If you are the one holding the wood in place, you MUST push DOWN on the wood or it will move as the drill is going through the wood and screw up the alignment of the entire thing. We did three holes per plank – on both ends and in the middle.
Once you have this done and the doors are dry, reattach them with your clean hardware from the crockpot! Add your cute new knobs to where the old ones were, and if you have to realign the magnetic door closure (so the doors stay shut), do that now.
After all is said and done you can either take your sander or do it by hand to distress the white painted parts to get more of that rustic look.
Put your litter box inside and let your kitties enjoy their new throne! (and our printer for that matter too).
This project took me a weekend, but was so worth all the effort I put into it! Would you ever consider hiding your litter box in something like this?
love & cupcakes,