Monday, February 25, 2013

My DIY Fancy French China Cabinet

That quarterly itch to repurpose a piece of furniture struck again and I'm excited to share my newest project with you. From the moment we painted our dining room the Ralph Lauren terracotta suede paint I knew that a large blue china cabinet would provide such a strong contrast against the wall.

I began scouring the local area thrift stores. If you're looking for furniture to give a second life to I'd suggest hitting up some of the religious based thrift stores. I've NEVER had any luck at our local Goodwill, in fact, I no longer even check it out. We have several Christian based thrift stores in the area that always have great furniture to choose from.

So the hunt was on and sure enough I discovered this little gem for $95!!!!

What I instantly noticed about this piece were the structured lines, the beautiful hardware, the glass shelves and the wood filagrees.

It had everything I wanted, glass shelves to display dishes, cabinets to store my crap, space above to install spotlights and enough raised wood decal to grab the stain effect that I had in mind.

Step 1- Chosing the right paint color. I am notorious for being impatient when it comes to painting a project and usually paint the first color I pick. This time, I did my homework. Since the only lighting source in the room is a chandelier and a whole bunch of natural light, I knew that I had to pick the right blue. I spent $15 on 3 different samples of blues, painted an old piece of wood and let it sit in the room for a couple of days. Testing out the colors in the afternoon with all the sunlight and in the evening with no light was extremely helpful. As you can see I even added the glaze effect so I could see which color would match best.

I chose Behr's Waterscape.

Step 2- Sanding. It seems so much more difficult than it is. I used my electric sander briefly and then realized hand sanding was far more effective in this case. You really only need to sand it down until the finish is gone, enough so that the paint will grab to the wood--trust me, don't go crazy. Taking off too much can be a bad, bad thing.

Step 3- Paint two coats, at least.

Step 4- Glaze. Knowing what type of finish you want is important in choosing the right paint color. I wanted a grayish-brownish finish added to the blue to make it look like an aged French piece. To achieve this I mixed together Martha Stewart's metallic black coffee glaze with a $1 acrylic brown paint from Michaels.

Using a rag, I'd rub the mixed glaze over the furniture and then use a clean cloth to wipe it off, leaving some streaks and a hint of the stain over the blue. Inconsistency is key here.

Make sure to let the glaze really settle into the grooves.

Step 5- Paint Hardware. Keeping in line with a French Provincial style piece, I wanted to fancy up the hardware and chose to repaint it with Martha Stewart's Vintage Gold metallic paint.

I love the contrast of the gold against the grayish-blue paint.

Step 6- Install spotlights. I purchased a $15 set of three under-cabinet lights from Lowe's and Eugene drilled some holes in the top to accomodate them. There was an existing flourescent light but it looked pretty tragic when turned on! This inexpensive update has had a huge impact on the overall look of the piece. We even included a dimmer switch on the lights and can adjust the light depending on the mood of the room.

Before and after

Overall, it turned out pretty great for a total cost of $130, right? I hope this encourages you to shop local and breathe some new life into something old.

It looks much more blue than it really is. 


  1. This looks awesome, Gina. You need to stop inspiring me to do furniture rehab! I already rehabbed a dresser into an entertainment center thanks to your last post. I'm afraid there is no room in my apartment for a china cabinet, but I'm totally keeping this one in my back pocket for the big day when we do own a home.

  2. I love painting's addicting.

  3. Gina!!! OMG! My Grandma Hazel had this exact china cabinet and we donated it to a religious charity that my dad called to pick up all of her furniture. How crazy would that be if it is the same one. It looks absolutely beautiful! You are so crafty!



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