Hiding Modem And Router – DIY Storage Cabinet

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Hiding modem and router before and after

Modems, routers, and other small electronic items are a necessity in today’s world. However, these items often create an unsightly mess in an area with wires running all over the place. If your equipment happens to be in a visible area, it can make for a sore spot in the room and leave you scratching your head over what to do.

There isn’t much escaping this since wiring is essential for providing us with connections to the outside world. However, if you are like me, you’ve had enough! I got tired of seeing such a mess and no matter how I tried to neaten it up, it was still an ugly sight.

I decided to design and build a simple piece of furniture designed to house these items and hide the mess. This was a fun project that turned out nice and left me with a much more presentable solution than I started with.

There are lots of solutions that you may find that give you a unique way to hide items but if you are looking for a more permanent method utilizing a nice piece of furniture then I have created a cabinet that you may find appealing.

The main thing I wanted to accomplish with mine was to clean up the mess where my router, modem, security camera sync module, surge protector, and battery backup all took up space in the corner of my office. It was very ugly and I kept it this way for a long time before finally creating a box to hide the mess.

Modem and router looking messy on the floor

I didn’t want just any way to hide mine. I wanted a cabinet that looked like a nice piece of furniture but did the job specifically of hiding these necessary components. I modeled my cabinet on another piece of furniture in my house that I had purchased years ago at Pottery Barn. In total, I only spent about $40 on parts and supplies.

Beyond that, it just took a little time and patience in creating it.


Modem and router cabinet opened and closed

The plan calls for a small cabinet that allows for airflow but just looks like a standard piece of furniture from the outside. My idea is to have a solution with slotted shelves that allows air to flow and doesn’t have a back. It will allow the cords and router antenna to poke out the back while still looking neat from all other viewing angles.

I will install doors on the front that will easily allow me to reach inside the cabinet to reboot the router and modem as needed as well as plug and unplug other accessories.

I plan on building two shelves which is plenty for the equipment I have. You can always customize the design to fit your needs and add additional shelving that will support more equipment as needed.

Parts Needed

This article assumes that you already have the woodworking tools necessary to build this cabinet. For mine, I used the following:

  • Circular saw
  • Circular saw guide
  • Miter saw
  • Drill
  • Drill driver
  • Kregg Pocket Hole Jig
  • Wood Glue
  • Kregg Screws – 1-inch course thread
  • Wood – Edge-glued pine panel, 1x2s, 1x3s, 1×1, 1/4″ plywood
  • Brad Nail Gun
  • Router
  • Router bit
  • Acrylic Paint – Reds and browns to mimic an antique finish based on the furniture I modeled it after.
  • Kregg concealed hinge jig
  • Kregg door handle jig
  • Trigger clamps

Step 1 – Build The Main Cabinet

The outer cabinet consists of pine wood made from an edge-glued panel. The top piece measures 22″ x 14″, the sides measure 20″ x 11 9/16″. I cut these to size using a circular saw and guide. These three pieces of wood will complete all the sides of the cabinet. These are held together with pocket screws which I drilled into each side and screwed to the bottom part of the top of the cabinet. I also added wood glue for extra secure hold.

For the side panels, I made a cutout in order to raise the cabinet off the ground so that only four feet would be touching the floor. You don’t have to do this but I thought it added more interest to it.

Once that was complete, I had a box with a top and two sides.

Step 2 – Install Bottom Shelf

bottom shelf on cabinet

The bottom shelf will complete the fourth side of the cabinet which will make a complete and sturdy box. For this shelf, I used 1″ x 2″ prime boards and spaced them with gaps to create airflow. The boards are spaced at about 1 inch apart but I just eyeballed them to make the spacing look uniform. The completed shelf measures approximately 19 3/16″ x 11 9/16″.

I used pocket screws and glue to assemble it as it was held tightly with trigger clamps. I allowed for it to dry overnight but there is no need to wait since it is screwed together.

Once the shelf is completed, you’ll need to clamp the shelf to the bottom of the cabinet and use pocket screws to secure it to each side. Now is the time to make sure your cabinet is squared and the same distance can be measured diagonally from corner to corner. Once you are sure of this, the bottom shelf can be screwed in, and then you have a completed basic cabinet.

Step 3 – Install Face Frame

I chose to add a face frame onto the front of my cabinet to make it look more finished and make it easier to install the doors. I used 1″ x 2″ inch wood for this. I measured, cut, and installed the outside pieces first. After that, I measured the center piece and installed it. You can install these with glue and brad nails but I chose to use glue and pocket screws from the inside.

I added my pocket screws in locations where they wouldn’t be seen so it would have a clean look from the inside. For the side pieces, I created the pocket holes to where the shelves would cover them up when installed.

It’s probably easiest to just use brad nails to put the face frame on but I was having fun with the Kregg jig so I went overboard. Plus, I didn’t want to have the patch the holes on the front.

Step 4 – Create An Additional Shelf (or More)

Cabinet shelf

This shelf will be created the same way you created the first shelf that rests on the bottom. I created mine at the same time using the same measurements. I ended up with another identical shelf that could then be placed in my cabinet wherever I needed it.

For this shelf, I wanted it to be easy to take out if needed. I chose to create supports inside the box that the shelf would rest on. This would allow me to slide the shelf in and out as needed making it easier to work with the equipment on the shelf. Rather than screwing the shelf to the sides of the cabinet, I screwed 1″ x 1″ pieces of wood to the sides and then rested the shelf on top of these.

Shelf supports installed in cabinet

I didn’t use glue on these in case I wanted to move them up or down in the future.

This left me with a shelf that easily slides in and out.

Second shelf in cabinet

During this step, make sure you measure your equipment thoroughly so you place the second shelf in the proper position. In my example, I needed 7 inches of room on the bottom shelf and at least 8 inches of room on the top shelf.

As you can see, the way I have my equipment positioned in my cabinet may be different from what you’ll have since the sizing varies from brand to brand. Make sure you custom-fit it to your exact needs.

Step 5 – Build Doors

My doors were designed and built using a Shaker-style using 1″ x 3″ pine and 1/4 inch plywood. Each door measures 16 1/4″ x 9 1/16″. The long pieces measure 16 1/4″ and the short pieces measure 4 1/16″. The plywood in-between measures 11 3/4″ x 4 5/8″.

Once all the pieces were cut, I routed a groove in the wood that the plywood would fit into. This was done using a tongue and groove router bit (only the groove part). This gave me a 1/4 inch slot to install the panel inside. I simply installed it using a little wood glue to let it dry overnight. I also put a couple of brad nails on each side of the door to make sure it held together tightly.

The glue will probably be all you need but I like additional reinforcement just in case. It’s easy enough to put a few brad nails in and then cover the tiny holes up.

Once the doors were built and finished, I installed concealed hinges which were made easy using a Kregg concealed hinge jig.

Step 6 – Finishing Touches

The first thing you’ll want to do is sand the cabinet so that it has a smooth feel all around. I rough-sanded mine so that it would look imperfect to create a rustic look to it. I achieved this by simply sanding harder in certain areas than others. I also rounded the corners on the top piece to give it more of an aged and worn look.

As mentioned earlier, my cabinet is finished using acrylic paints that are combined to create a vintage look. The first phase of doing this included putting a light brown coat on the wood and letting it dry. Once dry, a red coat was put on roughly and then wiped off in certain areas and finished with a darker brown in various spots. These spots were also rubbed in to create the look you see.

I think it turned out well but of course, that is my opinion and you can choose to finish yours in whatever way you wish. The cabinet would have looked fine in its natural state or a light stain. It could also be painted a nice color if you wish.

Step 7 – Install Doors

Hinges holding door on cabinet

Line the doors up and screw the hinges to the cabinet facing. You may have to add some shims to make everything perfectly straight. I ended up having to add a small shim underneath one side so that the door where perfectly straight but your results may vary.

Once the doors are installed, the knobs are ready to go on. Knobs are fairly easy to line up and install but you can use a Kregg jig for this as well to make it even easier. The jig keeps you from drilling a crooked hole so that everything fits together perfectly.

Knobs on cabinet doors

In the end, the doors should be straight and lined up perfectly with each other. They provide a finished look with great functionality allowing you to open it up from the front so that you can easily reboot the router and modem as needed or work on other accessories.


Modem and router cabinet against wall

This cabinet has served me well and has certainly tidied up my office space allowing me to see this piece of furniture rather than wires and electronic devices everywhere. It’s certainly not an eyesore any longer. It gives my office a nice look with an additional piece of furniture in the corner. The only exception is the upside down electrical outlet making the surge protector cord look less than ideal.

There is plenty of airflow since the back is completely open. The doors have a small gap in the center which also helps air to flow freely. The shelves serve multiple purposes as they allow air to flow between shelves and they allow cords to easily run from shelf to shelf. This could come in handy if your cabinet was bigger and you had more shelves and equipment in it.

The cabinet does NOT restrict my wifi signal as I still have the same amount of signal throughout my house as I did before placing the equipment in the cabinet.

It’s a good idea to keep a thermometer in the cabinet and check it regularly until you know the air inside isn’t getting warm. Electric equipment does get warm but mine is no different inside or outside this cabinet.

Don’t sit this cabinet on vents especially in the winter when warm air is blowing. This could add additional heat to it and cause issues.

Overall, the cabinet was an easy project that ended up solving a problem that I’ve had for years. I can’t believe it took me so long to do it. For the small price I paid for all these parts, it was so worth it.

If you have the tools and the know-how to use them, this is a simple project that can be done in a weekend. It will help to fix your space up and make it look tidy.