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I have 2 Ikea wardrobes units, each in a corner. There's about 9" of empty space above them, which I want to close off so the units run smoothly to the ceiling. I was thinking of adding a simple wood frame to the top of each unit (I can't drill into the ceiling) and attaching either 1/2" drywall or plywood. Is there a reason to choose one material over the other? Or can someone suggest a different, better approach? Some possibly-helpful info:

  1. My walls are plaster and probably a little uneven.
  2. I plan to add crown molding, so I'm not concerned about the drywall/plywood fitting perfectly against the ceiling.
  3. I plan to paint everything, so I don't need to match the laminate color (and there's no benefit to using melamine as suggested in this answer).

Thanks so much for any and all help!

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    Are the wardrobes "in a corner" parallel to the walls, or diagonal across the corner? Do you need to build soffits above the corner returns? Some pics would sure help...
    – Huesmann
    Jul 14, 2023 at 14:43
  • Apologies for the lack of clarity. These are two separate wardrobes, each approximately 30"x23" and each aligned with the walls of its respective corner (i.e., not on an angle). With the relatively small size (and since I can't attach anything to the ceiling), I don't need full-fledged soffits, just something that closes the space along the two sides that are open to the room. Jul 14, 2023 at 20:42

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For something very small and non-load bearing like this, a simple frame of 2x2 screwed together with some 3/8" drywall over it should be more than sufficient. The only reason to use 1/2" material is if you already have enough on hand for the project.

I'd suggest drywall only because around me, it's about $10 per (4x8) sheet and plywood with a decent, paintable surface is around $20 per sheet.

Of course, as small an area as you're covering, you could look at 1/8" underlayment which is a very lightweight plywood like material and usually has a very nice, smooth finish. You could use Luan™ veneer as well (the kind of stuff they use to cover cheap hollow-core interior doors with).

Basically, it doesn't really matter. Go with what you know and is cheap at your local suppliers bearing in mind the amount of prep work you'll need to do to give it a nice looking coat of paint. i.e. spending 3+ hours filling and sanding down a BC grade plywood is far more expensive than purchasing a sanded plywood in the first place.

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  • Personally, I'd use a piece of 1x10 board instead of drywall. While pricier than drywall, it'll be easier to work with.
    – Huesmann
    Jul 14, 2023 at 14:42
  • That falls under the last paragraph, @Huesmann - "Basically, it doesn't really matter..."
    – FreeMan
    Jul 14, 2023 at 15:47
  • @Huesmann, are you saying don't bother with a frame and just use two pieces of 1x10? That might work for me, maybe with some 2x2s at the bottom to help brace them. Actually, 1x8 might even work as long as it's tall enough to attach the crown molding, since that'll cover the rest of the gap. Thanks! Jul 14, 2023 at 20:44
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    @Huesmann may be worth an answer of its own, should you be so inclined.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 15, 2023 at 11:22
  • @SpackleIsMyFriend I totally missed that you intend to use crown molding. In that case, you might be able to get by with 1x8 (which is really 0.75x7.25), depending on the height of your desired molding. YMMV. (1x10 is really 0.75x9.25.)
    – Huesmann
    Jul 15, 2023 at 11:48

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