One of the most vital pieces of equipment for any retail business -- small or large -- is going to be the register counter. This is the final place your customers will be and you want it to be an efficient and customer-friendly space. However, these counters do not need to be complicated or expensive, and can easily be made using prefabricated supplies from your local home improvement store. With some pre-planning and basic carpentry skills, you can build a functional retail counter.

Things You Will Need
  • Graph paper and pencil

  • measuring tape

  • prefabricated counter top

  • prefabricated drawer stand

  • prefabricated base

  • glue

Design your space. Most retail counters are located near the exit and toward the center of the store. Using graph paper, make a diagram of your store's future layout and where you want the counter(s) to be located. Alternatively, use design software to create your diagram -- this may give you more flexibility to make changes.

Map out your needs. List all the possible supplies your employees will need while performing their job duties and determine how many shelves and drawers your counter might need. Ensure you have adequate space on the counter top for the register or computer and leave plenty of space for your customers to lay out their purchases.

Visit your local hardware store. Browse through the prefabricated cabinet or counter section (located in the kitchen and bath areas of most home improvement stores) and determine which products best match your needs and taste. Order your supplies. Cabinets and counters may come in units, and you may need to buy more than one unit to build your counter.

Revise your original design, if your original diagram doesn't exactly match the new counter pieces you've purchased. Do this before attempting to assemble the counter units.

Assemble your counter. Your shelving units, drawers and cabinets need to be anchored for safety. With help, place your counter top on top of the base. Use the binding agent or glue to mount it in place.


Plan ahead -- try to anticipate the space and storage needs you may have at some point in the future. This will eliminate the need to rebuild at a later date.


A low counter top is difficult for both customers and cashiers, as is one that is too high -- a counter top that is in the mid-range (36-42 inches) is best for all.

Assembling a counter takes more than one person -- for safety, make sure you have enough help to lift all the components.