How to Apply Beadboard to Cabinets

Applying Beadboard to the side of existing cabinets is an easy way to spice up a boring cabinet.  (Old or New)

Often times, cabinets will have a 1/4″ or more “lip” on the side of the cabinet where the faceframe sticks out farther than the cabinet side.  Cabinets are built like this so there’s something to “take off” if the wall is not straight or the measurements were off by just a hair…the faceframe can be scribed, cut or sanded down to make the unit fit without having to rebuild the entire cabinet.

The end cabinet, in a run of cabinets, or a single cabinet will have this “lip” as well because cabinets are mass produced, all exactly same.  It keeps things easier for builder and the installer.  The lip looks fine if left as it is, but it provides the perfect opportunity to apply a piece of beadboard to JAZZ it up.

*I wouldn’t apply beadboard if the faceframe is flush with the cabinet side as you would see the edge of the beadboard — which, IMO, would translate as, “Afterthought”.


So, HOW to apply the beadboard?

Whether your cabinets are old or new, caulk as an adhesive will surely do!  (This sentence must be read out loud in Sing-Song voice!)  :-)

That’s right.  Caulk.  Regular old painters caulk will do, or whatever you have on hand.

The great thing about caulk is that it will adhere to any (clean and dry) surface, so if you have old cabinets that are coated with a glossy finish, or your cabinets are plastic/melamine…Caulk will stick to it!

Be generous with the caulk and then press your beadboard onto it.  You can use a little painters tape to keep it from sliding down or just stand there and hold it yourself for a minute.

It grabs fast and holds STRONG.  Just make sure you really press the beadboard INTO the caulk all over so the entire surface is “glued” down.


  1. Sandra, this is a beautiful workshop – you did an amazing job! Could you tell me how you attached the shelves in the upper cabinets? I don’t see any pocket holes or pins, so I wondered what is supporting them.

  2. Sandra,
    Thanks for the tip on the caulk. I just scored some free cabinets and the outside of them is not so pretty. I was thinking to add some beadboard to them like these, this is perfect. And your workspace is AWESOME as always!

  3. Sandra,

    You are so smart! And to think of the money I have spent on adhesives.


  4. *moisture. sigh

  5. Yup! You can do this to the cabinet doors too, since they usually have a inset face as well. I had to use clamps for that, though.

    My problem was that the beadboard would soak up the mousiture from the constuction adhesive and wouldn’t lie flat, which is why I had to clamp them down! You don’t have this problem with caulk? It even did the “bowing” thing when I used LockTite.

  6. This is great – Thanks Sandra! I would love to add beadboard to the ends of my cabinets (the cabinets are nice solid wood, but the ends are that wood-ish veneer that I just hate) – my issue is that the lip on mine is rounded (similar to quarter round that you would use over trim/flooring). What would you recommend? Removing that lip completely, or would I need to remove it, install the beadboard, then reinstall the lip? OY so confusing.! :)


  7. Sandra you have the nicest workbench space ever, complete with beadboard detail and that yummy stained counter space! You truly know how to increase the value of a home all the while making the spaces beautiful, I’d work there all day with you.

  8. Great tutorial. Caulk is a handywoman’s friend, for sure and this is another reason why!! I love your cabinets!