Hide Your Ugly Electrical Panel With This IKEA Hack

  • 01 of 15

    How to Hide Your Circuit Breaker Box

    Deirdre Sullivan

    Every home has an eyesore. In mine, it's an in your face breaker box smack in the middle of the entryway wall.

    Sure, moving it out of sight would be ideal, but it's a pricey endeavor. So instead, of living with the big ugly, I rummaged the internet for tips on how to disguise it. Unfortunately, the great ideas I found didn't quite work for me. 

    Then, while ambling through a local IKEA, I had a light bulb moment. Just like breaker boxes, IKEA cabinets come in a broad range of sizes. Here's how I concealed my electrical panel by hacking a small IKEA cabinet.

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  • 02 of 15

    Ways to Conceal an Electrical Panel

    Deirdre Sullivan

    At first, I was going to hang a framed print over the tacky gray door in my entryway (thanks for the tip Pinterest!) Unfortunately, nothing I owned worked in this particular spot. 

    Related: 20 Stylish and Inviting Small Entryways

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  • 03 of 15

    DIY a Decorative Breaker Box Cover

    Deirdre Sullivan

    Later, I decided to camouflage the panel door with faux leather contact paper, a total misfire that made it even more conspicuous. Getting the paper to lay flat was impossible because of the panel's rounded edges.

    Related: 7 Cheap and Chic Ways to Dress Up Walls Without Paint

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  • 04 of 15

    The Perfect Cover for my Electrical Panel

    IKEA Brimnes Red Cabinet

    Then during a shopping trip to IKEA, I found a wall-mounted display case just big enough to cover my cover my 14-inch-by-12-inch panel. Even better, the 15-inch-by-15-inch cabinet from the BRIMNES series only cost $39.99.

    Related: 19 Best IKEA IVAR Cabinet Hacks 

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  • 05 of 15

    Checking the Clearance

    Deirdre Sullivan

    Before installing the BRIMNES cabinet, I did two things. First off, to avoid electrocution, no one except a licensed electrician or licensed contractor should remove an electrical panel cover, not to mention replacing it. So, I pulled out my measuring tape to confirm that the door on my electrical box will fully open after mounting my new cabinet over it.

    Second, I cut the cabinet depth from nearly nine inches to four inches.

    Why did you do that, you might be thinking? The new display case was simply too deep. If installed without cutting it would make accessing and also seeing the circuit breakers a little challenging.

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  • 06 of 15

    Head's Up: Melamine Veneer is Tricky to Cut

    how to cut particle board
    Courtesy of New England Woodworking

    Many IKEA items, including the BRIMNES wall cabinet, are made of Melamine-coated particleboard. Melamine is a plastic coating that's easy to clean and maintain. On the downside, melamine is also tricky to cut. Sawing through it in one pass will chip and splinter the material as shown (top board).

    Related: 5 Ingenious Ikea Furniture Hacks That Save Major Space

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  • 07 of 15

    How to Set Up Your Table Saw

    Deirdre Sullivan

    To avoid damage, I cut the four red boards that made up the cabinet (not including the door components) before assembling. I chopped the extra material off the exposed ends of the board.

    Before diving in, here's a tip: A dull saw blade will also chip Melamine.

    After drawing a line with a pencil that indicates where to cut off the extra, set the blade on your table saw. Note the photo above. The incision you make should only cut halfway through the board. Doing so will greatly reduce or even better, completely prevent any chipping.

    Related: 13 Easy IKEA Hacks You Can DIY in a Weekend (or Less)

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  • 08 of 15

    How to Cut Melamine

    Deirdre Sullivan

    Next, score the penciled line using your saw. When the job is complete, it should look like the scored board shown here. Now, flip the board over and cut all the way through the incision you just created.

    Related: The Best IKEA Storage Hacks and Products for Small Bedrooms

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  • 09 of 15

    How to Hang a Wall-Mounted Cabinet

    Deirdre Sullivan

    After cutting the four boards, I assembled them together and added the door hinges according to IKEA's printed instructions. I didn't use the shelves, backing or wall brackets that came in the package. Instead, I added four L brackets as shown for mounting. But here's the trick, I didn't want to drill holes into my entryway wall to attach.

    Related: 9 Tips for Buying and Assembling IKEA Furniture


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  • 10 of 15

    Wall-Mounting the Display Case

    Deirdre Sullivan

    I made sure the holes in the L brackets lined up with the existing holes in the electrical panel's gray door and also the wall. To install, I did not remove the gray panel. First, I removed the top two screws on the metal cover. The two lower screws kept the cover in place. Then I reattached the top two screws after slipping them through the L brackets and the metal cover as shown in the photo. Afterward, I repeated the process with the two lower screws.

    Related: 7 Folding Hacks That Save Major Closet and Drawer Space

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  • 11 of 15

    How to Level a Wall Cabinet

    Deirdre Sullivan

    Then I placed a level on top of the cabinet and gently adjusted each screw until the display case was perfectly horizontal. Trust me, while this step may sound complicated, it took seconds to do.

    Related: 9 Hacks For Fixing Common Bed Making Mistakes

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  • 12 of 15

    Hide Ugly With Decorative Film

    Deirdre Sullivan

    While I love the glass door on my new, red cabinet, I didn't want to see the ugly gray panel through it. Translucent window film solved the problem.

    Related: No Sweat Ikea Hacks for Customizing IKEA Furniture

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  • 13 of 15

    Self-Adhesive Window Film

    Deirdre Sullivan

    I used a self-adhesive film in a cute rice paper pattern. Unlike static cling window films, the self-sticking stuff doesn't involve a messy spray solution. The kit came with a trimming tool for cutting and a felt edged squeegee for application. It cost less than $10 on Amazon. 

    Related: 9 Tidy and Stylish Storage Hacks Using IKEA Shoe Cabinets

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  • 14 of 15

    Installing the Hinges

    Deirdre Sullivan

    After applying the window film, I installed the cabinet doors using the hardware and instructions that came with my BRIMNES purchase.

    Related: 7 Smart Storage Solution to Steal From Tiny Houses

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  • 15 of 15

    How to Hide an Electrical Panel

    Deirdre Sullivan

    Now the eyesore breaker box is beautifully concealed yet easy to access. At some point, I may cut two more inches off the back of the cabinet, so it's nearly flush with the wall. See the rest of this entryway makeover.

    Related: 20 Stylish and Inviting Small Entryways