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  • Writer's pictureZach

Building a Workshop with Pegboard Wall Storage

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Growing up my dad always had all his tools in a basement workshop hanging up on a giant peg board. They were always nicely organized and he always had antique items from his childhood hanging on it as well. I have collected antique sports items for a long time and wanted a room like this. Our house has a huge unfinished storage room. They had a ping-pong table in here, it's that big. One side has big built-in shelves for storage but the wall to the back was empty and had a little jut out. I knew it would make a great place for a workshop so I started sketching out what I wanted to build.

empty store room
Our store room in a post-move state of chaos

My plan was to use lower cabinets with a counter on top. I wanted a pegboard to go from the top of the cabinets to the ceiling, giving me plenty of room for my tools and antique sports games. I figured I could save a little money by painting the unfinished cabinets myself. Next, I needed to figure out what I wanted for the actual work bench. While searching online I found that an unfinished butcher block makes for one of the best workbenches. It is more expensive so I began looking for the best deal at hardware stores. My plan was to simply drill some wood boards into the wall with concrete screws and hang the pegboard up. It might work, but as I started researching and asking others questions, I learned it’s not always that simple.

Master Workshop Plan

My secret weapon when I build is my wife’s uncle Gary. He is one of the handiest guys I know and is just a great person. He has all the tools, know-how and equipment to get any job done. He basically served as our general contractor when we finished our basement at the last house. He has taught me a lot about building, and I try to help him out as much as I possibly can. He doesn’t just build; he brings in creative ideas to help. (Kiersten wasn’t thrilled that I had him coming over for a basement storeroom project so soon after the move - she wanted to "save him" for more important things like the living room or kitchen but I just knew I NEEDED that storeroom.

Gary knew what I wanted to build and he also knows where to shop for the best deals. He called me one day and let me know that our local Habitat ReStore got in a big shipment of unwrapped, unfinished butcher block about the size of a door.

butcher block counter top
Butcher Block at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore

When hanging peg board, one of the most important things to plan for is what you don’t see. It's common sense, but the pegboard hooks have to be able to go through the walls so you need space behind your pegboard. Smaller pegboards you can simply place wood around the edge and screw in the pegboard and it’s done. For larger size sheets that need to carry more weight we basically built a wall frame, stood it up and connected it to the top of the wall.

framing wall
Framing in the wall for the peg boards

We placed the unfinished cabinets along the bottom and made sure they were level. We screwed them into the wall and into each other. Unfinished cabinet simply means it’s not painted or stained. The entire cabinet comes already put together. You simply have to screw them to the wall.

unfinished cabinets
Unfinished cabinet lowers in position

Once that was complete, we carefully cut and hung each pegboard around the walls. We puzzled smaller pieces together on the finished drywall.

workshop with countertop
Pegboard in and prepping countertops

The final part was cutting the butcher block and then staining it. Before staining it I went over it quickly with a sander. It was already smooth and unfinished so this didn’t take much time. I went to Home Depot and looked at stain colors. I have always enjoyed dark wood so I picked out a small can of stain called dark walnut. I tested it out on the bottom of the butcherblock to see how it would dry. Once it dried it didn’t look dark at all. It was more of an orange color. As you know, orange isn’t allowed in my house. I went back to the store and found a dark espresso color stain and tried that out. I liked it much better. They looked so similar on the labels but had very different results. To stain the butcher block I simply dipped a microfiber old cloth in and out of the can and rubbed it all over the top with the grain. I did this each night for three days. It only took about ten minutes.

Varathane Wood Stain colors:

Once I had the stain on, I put multiple coats of clear polyurethane on with a paint brush. This is really important if you want to keep your workbench from getting nicked and dirty. Everyone I talked to said to put plenty of this on. I put on eight coats. Polyethene dries really fast so you can easily put on a couple of coats each night.

Varathane Water Based Gloss Coat

I had some leftover white paint from another project so I painted the bottom cabinets white to match the pegboard. If I was painting kitchen cabinets, I would recommend taking off the doors and spraying them. However, for my use I simply painted them with the doors open. Once the paint was dry, I closed them and made sure everything was solid white and looked good enough for a workshop. Lastly, I put the countertops on by screwing them in from the bottom.

white cabinets with dark countertops and pegboard
Countertops on!

We had some extra butcher block so Gary built us a rolling table with the remaining material! (Seriously - marry into a family with a handy uncle.) I stained and painted the table to match the rest.

carrying table through doorway
Bringing in the new table!
two guys in a workshop
The man. The myth. The legend. The family carpenter - "Uncle Gary"

To finish off the project, my father-in-law came over to help us wire in some new outlets over the workbench and new overhead lighting. He’s really good at electrical stuff and figuring out wiring. There was only one fluorescent light fixture in the middle of the room, so he installed two new LED shop lights over the workbenches. Unreal difference the extra light makes!

workshop with lights on
Shop lights in!

The best part about finishing this project is getting to organize and display my tools and antiques. I might have bought a few more tools just to fill it in... It looks much more impressive with matching tools.

Workshop Basement Store Room Pegboard
Workshop Basement Store Room Pegboard

Workshop Basement Store Room Pegboard Workbench
Workshop Basement Store Room Pegboard

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I'm out of hanging space, but my antiques are all on display. Kiersten eventually came around to the workshop and really likes that she has a place to stand and wrap Christmas presents!

Need a Fix Up? Here's what we used:

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.Thank you for your support!

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we're kiersten and zach

Follow along with us each week as we work to make the very 2000s home we bought during the middle of a pandemic more “us.” We’ll share everything from quick fixes to more permanent changes, along with projects you can do in your own home. Zach will also share all his lawn and garden advice as he starts over on the yard.


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