Using a china cabinet in your house might seem like an old fashioned idea, but you can’t get a bigger storage solution for your buck! I looked for a few months for a used china cabinet and saw them going for at most $150, but frequently given away for free. If you’re looking for extra storage and a fun piece of furniture to makeover and refinish, consider painting a china cabinet!
I bought my china cabinet for $125- such a good price for a quality vintage piece! I knew I needed a big piece with storage on the bottom (for my crafts), and display on top.
The scale is perfect for the room and it looks much better than my old kitchen cabinets stacked. I thought I could create a built in with them, but that didn’t work out, so the China cabinet was a better solution!
painting a china cabinet
Here’s how the china cabinet looked when I first picked it up. I think it’s adorable! I was tempted to leave it the sweet yellow, but my husband requested that I paint it, so I figured, it’d be fun to paint it and make it more my style.
- Liquid Sandpaper and Deglosser
- Beloved Pink– 50% lighter (I used 2 sample pots)
- Beloved Pink– full strength (1 sample pot for the contrast trim)
- Paint Brush
- Ainsley Pink Wallpaper
- Wallpaper Paste
how can I paint my china cabinet without sanding?
For this cabinet, I didn’t want to sand because of all the curved trim and edges. Instead, I gave it a good cleaning with a deglosser (also known as liquid sand paper).
To use the liquid sandpaper, I simply rubbed it over the wood areas that I’ll be painting. Once it dried, I wiped it off. Easy peasy!
Because the finish was already painted and I knew it wouldn’t get daily use, I choose not to prime. If you’re worried about if the paint will scratch off, paint a small patch, let dry, and then try to scrape it off. If it scratches off, prime before painting. This is my favorite primer.
how much does it cost to paint a china cabinet?
How much does it cost to paint a china cabinet? I bought 3 sample pots of paint which cost $5 each. The liquid sandpaper is $9. I used a paint brush I had on hand, but to buy a new one is affordable at $6. The total to buy everything is $30- not expensive at all!
To paint the cabinet, I worked on one section at a time and slowly used the brush to cover the surface with paint. I should have put down a drop cloth as I had to clean paint off the floor.
Around the windows, I slowly cut in so I didn’t have to tape off the glass. I did get a little paint on the windows, but just used a razor blade to scrape off the paint on the glass.
It’s hard to see, but on the trim, I painted it a few shades of a darker pink. It barely shows up in pictures but it’s a sweet detail!
how to update a traditional china cabinet? Wallpaper!
Once the china hutch was painted, I decided the inside could use some pattern! So I grabbed some wallpaper I had on hand to add to the inside.
To add the wallpaper, I started by cutting two strips that match up on the seam and are the length of the back of the china cabinet.
Then, I measured each section of the back of the china cabinet and cut the wallpaper in smaller pieces. I started from the top and worked my way down.
Last, I pasted it into the back of the cabinet piece by piece using wallpaper paste. The ends on the right side had to be trimmed. It was a 30 minute project to add so much personality with the wallpaper.
Can you see how the pattern lines up from top to bottom and from side to side? It’s a small detail that makes the whole piece feel higher end.
ideas for using a china cabinet besides dishes
Since my cabinet is in my office/guest/craft room, I didn’t want it to be full of dishes (though I love that look!). Instead, I decided that books would be fun. And, of course, I had to do a rainbow moment!
I love birds, so I scored eBay for vintage birds in 9 different color for each window on the cabinet. I am partial to vintage birds made in Japan, so that’s what most of these are.
What can you put in your china cabinet besides china? Books, collectibles, quilts, towels, crystal, framed photos, seasonal decor, bathroom supplies, items you collect, magazines, or you could hide any type of storage in pretty boxes.
rainbow leather bound classic books
Besides the birds, I also put traditional books that are leather bound on the shelves. I LOVE these books. They’re gorgeous with gold leafing on the sides, illustrations, and the covers are lovely.
I’ve been slowly reading these books to my son. Having a book out looks beautiful. Reading something so pretty feels like a luxury. I just love pretty things- ok?!
Aesop’s Fable / Beauty and the Beast / Heidi / Persuasion / Little Women / A Little Princess / Alice in Wonderland / Journey to the Center of the Earth / Black Beauty / Winnie the Pooh / The Awakening / Anne of Green Gables / Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / Sense and Sensibility / Robin Hood / The Wind in the Willows / Little Mermaid / The Secret Garden / The Wizard of Oz / Peter Rabbit / Call of the Wild / Peter Pan / Pride and Prejudice
Ta da! And here is the china cabinet all painted with the books and birds inside in rainbow order. Isn’t this cabinet so pretty pink?!
This cabinet nicely fills this space. It feels right at home and my crafts are perfectly organized in the bottom. Aren’t the lines so pretty on this piece?!
Below is the paint swatch for Beloved Pink- the pink I use on my doors and shutters in my house. I ended up lighting it by 50%. You can see on the swatch the lighter blob. I wanted it really light so it felt airy and not overwhelming. The color looks really nice!
add a tassel
The last detail I put on the china cabinet was the icing on the cake! It’s the tassel on the handle. I love this traditional decor item. I did a similar tassel in my kitchen and it’s one of my favorite details!
If you like this look too, I thought I’d round up some pretty tassels. I used number 11 on my china cabinet!
Anyway, there my directions on painting a china cabinet. I’ve dreamed of having one for years for my kitchen. Since it’s too small for one there, this is a great back-up option. I can still decorate and it looks so pretty while being great for storage!
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