I have a furniture makeover for you today that I was inspired to complete by an idea from a reader who asked me to post more painted furniture ideas.
Judy wrote to me a while back asking me if I could give her a few ideas about what to do with a piece of furniture that she picked up for $15.
Here is what she wrote:
Diane, I enjoy your blog very much and look forward to it arriving in my Inbox. I recently ran across one of my long ago thrift store purchases and I need inspiration. I wondered-“What would Diane do?” I really enjoy your thrift store transformations. Perhaps as an occasional feature on your blog, you could show a reader’s object and offer suggestions on how to transform it.
Her note made me smile. I get a lot of questions from readers about all sorts of stuff and do try my best to answer as many as I can. I wrote back to Judy, telling her I loved her idea since I thought it could help many others come up with new ideas and inspiration on how to transform similar pieces they may have.
Judy’s cabinet is the first piece of furniture in an on-going series I am starting called – What Would Diane Do?
I will try my best to give you ideas on how to makeover your finds. I will consider all photos sent to me and post the series from time to time.
I wish I was a Photoshop wizard and could add the changes I envision right on the photos Judy sent, but since I am not, I have taken a piece of furniture that I own and transformed it to better show a few ideas I had. I have also included more ideas at the end of the post.
Here is Judy’s pine corner cabinet. It has lots of potential and classic lines.
It is in great shape, except for the top that has some stains on it. It is approximately 48″ high. Her decorating style is traditional, but not ‘staid’!
I have a similar cabinet. It is not a corner cabinet, but has inset panels. Judy’s piece has one long inset panel on the door.
Idea # 1: Since Judy’s style is traditional she could simply paint her cabinet in one solid color and then run sandpaper around the door inset and bottom raised decoration to accent them. This is what I did to a tall cabinet in my mudroom. I painted it black with latex paint about 10 years ago.
Black chalk paint, distressed and waxed would look equally good. Since her piece is pine, I would use a stain blocking primer like Kilz over the knots in the wood, so the wood tannins in the knots don’t leach into her paint color. If the inside is holding any kind of odor, use Clear shellac to get rid of it. Zinseer makes a good one.
Idea #2: For a color surprise, she could paint the inside a fun color. She could even remove the door. Set in the corner, the cabinet would look like a corner shelf unit.
After 10 years of enjoying my cabinet in its black attire, I needed a change. I am trying to lighten up my spaces with brighter colors and less dark accents.
Idea #3: Paint it white and add paintable bead board wallpaper to the inset panel on the door. That is what I did to lighten up my cabinet, but I added it to the side panel insets.
Bead board is only one of a few styles of the textured paintable wallpapers that are available. It also comes in a basket weave pattern, ceiling tile pattern, and a leaf pattern. I bought it at Lowes. It runs around $20 a roll. One roll has covered two projects so far, and I still have some left.
Very classic in white.
Adding the bead board wallpaper is super easy. I recently added it to the back of the sideboard in my family room. Cut it a little bit larger than the size needed. Wet the back and fold it in half for a few minutes so the pre-pasted adhesive is activated.
Apply it to the surface and then cut excess with a craft knife. Smooth out the air bubbles with your fingers or the side of a credit card.
Idea #4: A walk-in one with a chalkboard door to write grocery lists or just to have fun and draw on. I thought about doing it on my Pantry doors, but I didn’t want to make personalized changes to fixed parts of the house if we moved. Now I finally have it, but on the cabinet next to my pantry.
I can change what I draw or write on each panel. I am going to have lots of fun with it. It I tire of it, I can simply paint over the chalkboard paint or can continue the bead board wallpaper to the front panels.
I used 3 coats, letting each one dry before applying the next. I didn’t have any black paint to make my own “chalkboard” paint. Since I have been wanting to know how this paint stands up against DIY versions of “chalk paint”, I bought Valspar black chalkboard paint to experiment with.
Once the chalkboard surface is dry – season it first by rubbing chalk all over it and then wipe it off. This will help with ghosting. To learn more, see my post on tips and tricks about how to draw like an artist on a chalkboard.
Idea #5: I made a chevron pattern template and just drew it onto two of the panels with colored chalk. If you have ever tried to draw a Chevron pattern yourself, it looks simple, but is maddening! I created a cardboard template to use whenever I want to add the design to something.
I am including the chevron pattern for you to download.
How to Draw a Chevron Design On a Chalkboard
1. Download template. Trace onto cardboard and cut out with a straight edge and craft knife.
2. Hold the template to the top of the surface you want the design. Make sure it is centered and straight. Simply trace around it with chalk.
3. Move the template down, lining up the top of the template with the bottom line of the zigzag you just drew. Trace around the template again. Repeat until the surface is covered with the zigzag pattern. Fill in top or bottom sections with just the tips of one of the points in the zigzag.
3. Fill every other zigzag strip with color.
Idea #6: I also drew a laurel wreath with a centered letter to embellish the top panel. You can download the free printable .pdf to create it yourself. I used the font Imprint Shadow for the letter.
Just a note: When I first traced my design to the surface with chalk, it was quite faint and messy. I had to go over it with wet chalk, I used a wet rag and Q-tips to clean it up. So if yours doesn’t look this clean at first, don’t stress and think it is not going to come out. It just takes a little detailed clean-up. You will be rewarded for your efforts after a few swipes of a wet rag and Q-tip.
How to Trace a Design Onto a Chalkboard
I drew the design to size. If you download it, you may have to resize it to fit your surface.
I rubbed white chalk all over the back of the paper I drew the design on. I taped it to the surface with a tiny bit of painter’s tape. I traced over the design with a pencil. The pressure from the pencil transfers the chalk that you rubbed all over the back of the paper to the surface of the chalkboard. When you remove the design – you will see the image. It may be light, but you can then go over it with chalk to brighten and fill in. You can read more about the process in a post I wrote for Momtastic. How to transfer a chalkboard design.
Idea #7: My cabinet had painted black hardware. Judy’s has a wood knob and it looks like a fake key hole plate. Contrast can add lots of interest, so I think I would change the knob. Vandyke’s Restorer’s has a great selection of knobs as does Anthropologie.
Since my hardware was painted black, I stripped it using furniture stripper and then cleaned off as much of the rust as I could with WD-40 and 000 Steel Wool.
This cabinet has gone through many changes. When it was handed down to Ed and I from his parents, it was grey with Pennsylvania Dutch Hex signs centered in each inset. Over the years it has been painted white, then dark green, and then black. Now it is white and black. Life would be so boring without paint. It is truly a budget DIY decorator’s best friend.
More Ideas For Judy’s Cabinet
Idea #8: Attach a map to the inset on the door. Paint the rest of the piece in a favorite color.
Idea #9: Cut the inset door panel out, leaving the door frame still intact. Have mirror or glass cut to size and add it to the door. Paint the cabinet in a favorite color.
Idea #10: Add picture frame molding to create inset panels on the sides of the cabinet. Fill in with the paintable wallpaper. Add decorative molding vertically on the flat panels on either side of the door. Consider adding a few decorative small rosettes, stars, and flat wood embellished designs that they sell in the molding department at the home improvement store to the center of the door panel.
Idea #11: Stencil an all-over design/pattern or furniture pattern over the entire piece or to accent the door.
Now that I have the cabinet painted, it is time to make a new sink skirt – I am thinking pink :) . I am also going to paint the wall in a fresh new color.
Click the links below to download the designs.
If you have any ideas for what Judy can do to give her $15 find a new look, please leave them in the comments.