A corner hutch (also called a corner curio cabinet) is a great way to gain some useful storage space from a wasted corner. Its unusual shape allows display objects to be clearly seen from almost any angle in the room, something a square cabinet just cannot do. Plus, it takes far less material to build than a square cabinet. A corner hutch can add something special to just about any room.
The basic corner hutch is a triangle, two sides of which face the wall. Use either lumber or plywood to make the sides of the cabinet, but plywood is the easiest to use. Cut two panels for use as the sides; join them at the back with cleats or 90-degree metal braces. Use this V-shaped case to determine the proper size for the shelves that fit inside; make them flush with the outside front edges of the sides (bevel the edges of the case to create a flat front with the shelves). The top and bottom of the case should be securely attached to the sides.
Mount the shelves using cleats or metal braces, or you can make the inside shelves adjustable. Commercial shelf brackets are one option; you can also drill several rows of holes and insert wooden or metal dowels. Make sure the rows of holes are lined up so the shelves will be level.
Most builders put a lumber frame on the front of the case, both to cover the edges of the plywood and to provide a connection point for door hinges and latches. This is why you must bevel the front edges of the case, so the frame will lay flat against the shelves and the case edges.
Some hutches use only exposed shelves, but most are covered at least partially by doors. Make these doors from solid wood, or just make door frames with glass or acrylic inserts. That way, you can display what is inside while minimizing dust buildup.
If one of your shelves will be at the proper height, extend it outward to serve as a desk. Just add two legs in front to support the larger shelf.
Some corner cabinets have diamond-shaped shelves. After the two sides of the case are joined, two more small panels are added; these panels often measure no more than 6 to 8 inches wide and are set at a 90-degree angle to the sides of the case. The front of the shelves complete the top of the diamond shape. All the shelves (as well as the top and bottom of the case) have this diamond shape.
Corner hutches can be built with a lower section that extends into the room more than the upper section. Use the larger shelf (which forms the top of the lower section) as a small buffet or server.
Many corner hutches are built with a Shaker feel – very plain, no ornamentation. However, there is no reason you have to do the same.
Routers are a handy tool for ornamentation. Add shaped edges to doors, as well as to the case's frame. Also cut patterns into the side panels with them.
Moldings are extremely useful. Glue them onto any of the hutch's surfaces you want, including any glass or acrylic inserts. They are particularly useful for colonial and Victorian hutches.