Pimp My Furniture: Half a China Cabinet

Ok folks. I’m super excited about this project I’m about to share, and it’s only half done!! I’ve been working on it for a while, because it’s a big piece of furniture and I only have spare moments here and there to get it done. But it’s coming along nicely and I had to share my progress with you!

Remember a while back when I inherited this china cabinet from my parents when my dad was moving out of my high-school home?

Well it took me some time to decide the best makeover strategy for it. (If you follow me on Pinterest, perhaps you remember a barrage of china cabinet pins a few months ago.) But I finally did make a decision and got to work- starting with the buffet base of the cabinet. (China cabinets usually come in two pieces for easier moving- the base buffet and the top display.)

First I removed the drawers and sanded the whole thing down.

I hate sanding, so this probably took me the longest. But once it was done, it was off to the races. I wrapped and taped off the top of the buffet and spray primed, then hand-painted the bottom. Like so:

One layer of primer and three layers of paint later, and the buffet was starting to look pretty awesome to me. (I’ll have to get the name of the paint color for you when I do the second half of this cabinet. It’s late and I don’t want to run down to the garage to check…#lazypants) Now for the buffet top. I had the hub help me sand this down with a belt sander (it was a little tall for tiny me to get any good downward pressure), and then I hand sanded it extra smooth.

Maybe you’re wondering why I hand sanded the rest and not the top? Well, when painting furniture, I never worry too much about getting down to completely bare wood. As long as you can get the gloss off, and you use a decent primer, your paint should hold up fairly well. For the top though, I didn’t want to paint, I wanted to stain.  And that meant I had to get as much of the old stain off as possible so the wood would soak up the new stain.

Once the buffet top was sanded down nicely, I applied three coats of stain, waiting plenty of time between each to allow them to dry. I really wanted a deep dark stain, so I didn’t rub the stain off between coats like you normally would. I just gave it extra time to dry. It surprisingly worked out nicely for an untested technique, and I am smitten with the deep wood finish.

(At this point, Dania stopped in and told me it was looking a little “cookie-monster-blue.” I ignored her. Sorry, Sis. :) Sometimes when you’re finishing furniture, you do it to impress others. This time it’s for me, and I love cookies.)

On to the drawers! I removed all the hardware and painted these the same way I had the cabinet. I am really kind of in love with the original hardware that was on the cabinet, however a couple of the pieces are broken/missing, and have been for as long as I can remember growing up. For a while I debated looking for new hardware that was a little more updated. But I didn’t want to spend a lot on hardware, and like I said, I’m kinda in love with this vintage look.

So instead I decided to use what I had, and am still searching online for replacement parts for the broken handles.

I updated the hardware slightly and added a pop of contrast by spraying it all with Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint before reattaching it to the drawers.

Here is Vera and Bear giving their approval before all the drawers were attached.

Love that kid.

One of my favorite things about this piece is the amazing vintage contact paper that someone (probably my mother) lined the drawers with at some point in the past. It is a tad torn and stained, but I still love it and the unexpected pop of color you get when you open the drawers.

And finally, here she is all put together!

I think this buffet could easily stand on its own as a fantastic piece of furniture. I am seriously in love with my cookie-monster-blue buffet. But I still need a place to store my grandmother’s china (you know, besides that plastic tub in my basement) and I have big plans for the top display also. So as much as I love the half china cabinet, I’m working away on the top half too. It might take me a bit to get it finished up, but I’ll keep you posted.

Hope you had a great weekend!


  • Cindy

    Looks great, any thoughts for the top of cabinet

    • Dawn Sailors

      Haha, you sound like my husband! The top has been sitting in my garage for quite some time. I have some ideas, but haven’t quite gotten to it yet. :/

  • Lindsey @ Mediocre Mothering

    That is so beautiful! I absolutely love that the top is wood instead of all blue! Brilliant! I cant wait to see the rest!


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