The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

Guide to Flatpack Cabinets

The majority of kitchen cabinets will come as a flat pack for self assembly. There are a few rules worth bearing in mind before you begin to assemble these ready for attaching to the walls.

  • Ensure you have a large area in which to assemble the units
  • Keep all the attachments, screws and fixings in a container to ensure they do not become lost during the process.
  • You will need a hammer, various sized screw drivers, a battery drill and a tape measure.
  • Assemble the largest unit first and continue in the order they will be positioned in the kitchen. This will make the best use of space.
  • Some units will require colour coordinated end panels. These will need to be bought separately and will replace the side panels provided in the packs.

Making up the cabinets

Most flat packs will contain the following:

  • The base
  • 2 side panels
  • 2 top rails
  • 1 back
  • 1 or 2 shelves
  • The fittings
  • Instructions

Make up one cabinet at a time in the following way;

  • Take the two side panels and fit the dowels and cams into the holes as shown on the instructions.
  • Fit the base, top rails and centre support (if required) to one side panel.
  • Fit the other side panel into place and tighten all cams until it is secure.
  • Now fit the feet using a drill to make the pilot holes for the screws provided.
  • Attach the back panel with small nails but do not hammer them all the way just yet as you may need to remove it later for pipework to be cut in.

Repeat this process until all cabinets have been made putting them in the planned positions in the kitchen as you go. (obviously wall cabinets will need to be stored in the work room until you are ready to attach them).

The sink unit

It will be easier to modify this unit while assembling it rather than later when you are fitting the sink. The front rail will need to be trimmed to around 37mm wide to accommodate the sink. The back rail should be turned so it is fitted vertically rather than horizontally.

Tall oven or larder units

These are often very heavy and may require two people to assemble. The shelves need to be positioned to accommodate the oven so take careful measurements.

Corner units

Follow the instructions supplied carefully as they can be slightly more complicated and once again they are heavy and difficult to move around.


Finally check that all the units fit into position as planned. Ensure the lines of the kitchen are maintained by making sure the door openings line up from the top units to the bottom.