Furniture Makeover: Goodbye Knotty Pine

I FINISHED one of the DIY furniture makeover painting projects that I have been working on the past two weeks!   It is the oak hutch in my dining room. 

I am thrilled how it turned out and also thrilled to have my garage back. 

How to paint oak furniture

I originally was going to spray paint the hutch a sisal color and the walls white, but that felt too cold to me so I reversed the colors and could not be happier.  I also took a bit of inspiration from this photo from the Pottery Barn catalog.  I don’t love everything in PB, but I always go for the white built- in look. 

Pottery Barn Dining room  


Hand me down hutch.  I loved the size of it, but not the pine.  Too dated, especially with the curved sides.

Furniture Makeovers - Before and After


I didn’t want to spend money on purchasing bead board for the back of the shelves and didn’t want to just paint them as I wanted to add some dimension and contrast.   I also want to keep the furnishings neutral so that the table setting and food are center stage.  More on this in an upcoming post.

How to Line Furniture with Book Pages

I opted to wallpaper the interior  of the hutch with pages from some old books which are FREE. After removing the pages from the book, I put matte Mod Podge on the back and attached to the wood.  I repeated the process overlapping each piece until the inside was completely covered.   Make sure to apply enough Mod Podge so that you don’t have any air pockets.  As I worked, I  brushed Mod Podge on the surface to seal the paper .

You may see  wrinkling of the paper occur as you work. When the Mod Podge dries, the wrinkles go away.   Make sure to adhere each page thoroughly and seal in one step, this way you will get less wrinkling of the paper.  The thicker the paper the less chance of wrinkling.  If you don’t want to seal the pages, you can adhere them with spray adhesive.

 I love how it looks.  I keep walking into the room to look at it – with the hutch white now, the room looks so much bigger.  (yellow cast on upper shelf, only in photo)

*When I moved to my new house, there was no room for this piece. I broke it apart and refurbished the top to be a fireplace mantel. Sometimes, you just need to look outside the box for ideas.

Dining room furniture makeovers


Painted Furniture makeover

My decorating marathon is a “thrifty” one.  I didn’t like the dark hinges and pulls, but could not afford to buy new ones so I white washed over them.

white painted furniture makeover

The baskets are from IKEA.


Before and After Interior.  I traced the curved edge of the hutch onto the book pages then cut them out with scissors to get a perfect fit.


I like the off white of the book pages against the white plates, platter, and pitchers.  It adds a bit of contrast, don’t cha think?


One project down, three more to go… and then I will unveil the entire room just in time for Thanksgiving – my deadline.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Hello again Diane,
    Im still painting and would like to know if the back of the Hutch was a flat sheet of panels?
    I have a lovely dresser now almost 50 years old but looking somewhat jaded and remembered this Hutch but it has paneled pine back and I wonder what your thoughts would be about using the book pages on this?
    My thoughts are that it may not stick in the grooves but never having used Mod Podge am not sure and although the inner side and shelf is flat I wonder how the wear of plates etc would be on the shelf.
    So good to see you still online and gives me inspiration as I recently turned 75 and wonder if I will ever stop renovating and restoring :)
    Kind Regards and hope are all managing to stay sane in such crazy times.
    Patricia Nield

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patricia – I love reading that you still enjoy making your house your home. :-)

      Clean the surface well and let dry. I would make sure to add a coat of Mod Podge to the area, then apply it on the back of the paper also. Use the edge of a plastic scraper, spatula, or credit card to push the paper all the way into the grooves so the paper connects with the wood. Then brush over the paper with the paint brush to make sure the paper is really in the groove.

      Repeat the process until you have all the grooves covered and then cover the rest of the back.

      As it dries, take a look that no air bubbles surfaces. If you see one, prick with a pin, apply Mod Podge over the area and brush over the area again.

      The last year has been crazy, but my working life has not been impacted too much since I had already worked from home. I do miss getting to go more, but hopefully soon we can do more and more. Both my husband and I have gotten the first dose of the vaccine and get the second shot in early April.

      I hope you are hanging in there – sounds like you are. :-)

  2. I love your ideas and thank you for sharing.

  3. I LOVE this white hutch! I have been painting odds and ends of junk finds for about 18 months (using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint when I can afford it) and I even stripped the top of an oak claw foot kitchen table and then painted the bottom in chalk paint. Now I’ve suddenly become afraid of trying something “new”. Everything I’ve painted is either in my house or my daughter’s house – never to sell or really to show to anyone!! Funny, my daughter doesn’t “need” anything until I’ve finished painting it. I bought an old Waterfall dressing table at our local antique (junk) store for $30. It has been stuck away in my garage for about 9 months and my daughter-in-law just realized it a few weeks ago when she was telling me that she wanted some type of inexpensive vanity for my granddaughter’s bedroom. She’s now ready to re-do the room so I’ve been searching pinterest for the last few days for ideas. I’m trying to decide what I need to do to even begin. After using chalk paint and not having to sand or prime, I find myself lost as to where to begin. Did you have to sand this hutch and then prime it before painting it? This vanity I’m going to paint might have some areas of the wood damaged so I know it’s going to be a job. I’m just looking forward to working on it since it will go in my granddaughter’s “big girl” bedroom. She has no idea that she’s getting it either! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much! By the way, I love reading your blog. I’m still technology-challenged so I enjoy reading but haven’t ever made any comments! Thank you!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Karen – I didn’t use chalk paint on the hutch. I sanded it first and used Kilz Original primer – 2 coats. Then used latex paint in a semi-gloss to paint it. Sand between coats. I have a page on my blog that explains how to paint different surfaces. One of the first items listed explains the steps I use on wood furniture. I hope your granddaughter loves her surprise.

  4. Hi Diane

    I know this post is older and I’m late to the party, but can I ask what you originally used to get the book pages to adhere to the cabinet? I tried to read all the comments so I wasn’t asking the same question over and over but didn’t seem to find what I was looking for. I have struggled with getting paper to adhere to a piece I’ve worked on. You mentioned touching it up with mod podge. Did you do that for the original application? Did you seal it? Thanks for your time and I absolutely love your work! Makes me wanna go out to the garage and get to work but at 12:38am I don’t know how happy my neighbors would be! ; ]

    1. Nevermind! Ugh! I RE-read everything and saw the answer I was looking for! Apparently I skipped over that part!! Typical! haha

      Thanks for your time!

  5. Ellen Brown says:

    I wonder how the book pages are holding up several years later? I have built in shelves that have family photos and books on. I thought the book pages might be a neat look.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Ellen –

      That is a very good question. It has been a few years and 99% of the paper is good still. There is one edge that I had to reapply Mod Podge. If you make sure to seal everything, especially the edges well, it will last a long time. I dust it with a soft cloth. If I did it again, I would use prettier book pages.

  6. I have never used it but I have read a blog or two that mentions using beadboard wallpaper. Having said that, it is probably not cheap and I understand being on a budget.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Rivka – I have never used the beadboard wallpaper, but I don’t think it very expensive. For my hutch I wanted to do something a bit more out of the ordinary, but still have a white look. The wallpaper would work perfectly though.

  7. Hi,
    I am so glad I stumbled across this site.. I have knotty pine kitchen cabinets that I just hate !! I have been wanting to paint them and your hutch has me enthused !! I love what you did especially the inside with the book pages… Looking forward to doing mine soon and seeing more great ideas of yours !!

    1. Enjoy all your blog posts….the new as well as the old posts. As a retired teacher, I also have had to make something out of nothing to fit into a nothing budget. It is amazing how the end products turn out.

  8. Gina Leitz says:

    The transformation gave it a WOW factor. It looks so impressive, you make me wish I could stay home and get busy on all my pieces that need work. You are an inspiration to us all Diane. Keep those brainstorms coming. I can’t get enough.

  9. Sandra Hart says:

    I just found your site. I was initially attracted to the tuna can/zinc lid. Then the transom, ribbon board and white hutch! I can’t stop! It’s a wonderful place to get lost in. You are a DIYr after my own heart.

  10. HI i love this, would like to try this myself on an old bookcase. What kind of paint did you use to get that nice effect. did you have to sand it first and seal it?

    1. Hi Tina –

      I used white Semi-gloss Valspar paint. I rolled it on with a high quality low nap roller and used an angled brush to the recesses areas. I sanded it first – not to the bare wood, but just enough to rough it up. I then applied 2 coats of Kilz Original Primer. Let dry between coats. It is oil based, but dries in 30 minutes. It is the tried and true primer. The latex versions do not work as well if you are going to paint over a dark stain. After it was dry – roll on 2 coats of paint. Let each coat dry before applying the next. I did not seal it.

  11. Karenmarybutterfly says:

    OMG… this!

  12. Diane, I just stumbled upon your blog and I LOVE that you do things with creativity and on a strict budget. The hutch and cabinet painted white with the book pages insert are so clever and so affordable! Thanks for sharing,

    1. Thanks so much Mindy. I never liked my dining room before. Once I painted the hutch, it transformed the room into one that I love and enjoy spending time in now. I only wish I had painted it sooner :)

  13. Celeste Berkley says:

    Very nice.
    I am sad. We burned a set like this.
    OH how sad! Your style is like my style so I will add your site to my favorites. Rock on!

    1. Hi Celeste –

      I smiled big time when I read your comment. Almost every piece of furniture in my house is a hand me down and let me tell you there have been many times I felt like burning a few of the pieces myself. I love the size of the hutch and am not against stained furniture at all, just not a fan of knotty pine. Now that it is painted I love the piece and the room has just come together since I did it.

  14. Hi! Coming over from the Kitchen blog hop today…I am your newest follower. What a cool idea for your hutch!! I have a hutch I want to paint and give a makeover to as well…I see we both like white kitchens, white dishes and the modern country style!! Have a great week end!

  15. Very nice! I spied this after coming to your site via Apartment Therapy. I have been mulling over the idea of doing this to one of my Ikea Billy bookshelves, but I wasn’t sure I’d like the final look. Now I can visualize it much better. Thanks! I’ve added you to my RSS feed.

    1. Hi Catlin-

      Billy bookshelves are the best – they are so versatile. I have two that I have owned for 20 years. If you do decide to go for it – use a gripping primer first- Glidden makes a good one that you can buy at Home Depot. 2 light coats and then two light coats of paint. I would use a roller and an angled brush to get into the corners. Thanks for connecting.

  16. I love it!!! I am in the middle of a china cabinet/hutch makeover too! Yours is beautiful and great inspiration….and your entire house is just lovely. Your lovely details shine. I am visiting from the parade of homes tours! Thoroughly enjoyed my stop at your home!!!!

  17. Absolutely beautiful! The paint alone transformed it, but then to put such a cool touch with the book pages….awesome!

  18. I wonder how this would look on an ikea dresser…?

  19. Love what you did and have a question about painting knotty pine…

    As I also loved your kitchen makeover, but was concerned that my cabinets are the dreaded knotty pine, so when I saw you were successful in painting this pine hutch, I felt a renewed sense of possibility! What paint/primer did you use and can you tell me how you tackled the “knots” as I was told by a contractor that I’d always see them. Of course, he is also trying to sell me on new cabinets (and I can’t see spending that kind of money!).

    Thanks again for your inspiring blog!

  20. Mod Podge Amy says:

    This is GORGEOUS! I love it!

  21. I saw this on Better After Blog and had to come read the whole post. This is FABULOUS!!! I know it was alot of work; I’ve painted and redone stuff all of my life. but it’s so worth it when it’s finished. This is Beautiful!!!
    Great job!

  22. It’s breathtaking! I’m hoping to find something amazing like this to refinish for my kitchen also.

  23. aninchofgray says:

    Geeez Louise! I love this! I have been having SUCH a hard time not getting wrinkly mod podge. You have inspired me to try again.

    Here from Better After!

  24. Incredible! I saw the photo over at Kim’s, and I just had to come see more. Fabulous job. Thanks for the inspiration. laurie

  25. That is really a stunning transformation! I found you through Miss Mustard Seed’s. Loving the pages that you wallpapered- great idea! Looking forward to following you and more transformations!

  26. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says:

    Hey, Diane, that is just beautiful!! What a great update for your pine piece. The power of paint, it always astonishes me. Great job with the book pages too.

    And congrats on winning the Homegoods card at Kate’s!!

  27. I just found your blog and so happy I did, I’m going to become a follower and add you to my blog list. Love the hutch how wonderful with the book pages just fantastic!


  28. This really turned out great~ I love how it turned out!

  29. LOVE this transformation! What color white did you use? Thanks!

    1. Hi Maureen-

      Since this was a thrifty transformation I tried to use what I already had on hand. I had a little bit of white semi gloss and a little bit of an antique white semi gloss. To have enough to paint the hutch I mixed the two together.

  30. Oh! It’s lovely and I absolutely adore the book page technique! Great job!


  31. LaurieatTurnerFarm says:

    Very Creative! Looks wonderful

  32. Erin @ Where Beauty Meets Function says:

    What a beautiful transformation!!!

  33. This is just amazing! The book pages are a brilliant idea…like the contrast between the pages and the dishes. You hit the mark on this one!

    Take care!

  34. I love this! Your white dishes look amazing in it!

  35. Love this piece it is so very unique, glad I came here from Savvy Kim, nice to meet you!

  36. Wow, this looks fabulous! Clever idea to wallpaper the inside of the shelves. Beautiful piece of furniture.

  37. ButterYum says:

    I love the white color of your hutch… great choice!


  38. Absolutely gorgeous! I really love the look. Great job!

  39. Thanks so much for linking. I just love the way that piece turned out!

  40. Great transformation. I love it. I like the pages used in the background. Would love to have you join my before and after party. I get lots of traffic.

  41. Really like the book pages inside. Very neat!

  42. Kim @ Cheap Chic Home says:

    How pretty. That is a nice hutch. That’s a great use of those book pages. -Love the white pottery in it.

  43. Love, love, LOVE it!!!

  44. This is a BEAUTIFUL transformation and you should be SO PROUD! I absolutely love the idea of the shelves covered in book pages. BRILLIANT! I would love to make over my hutch but it’s got glass doors and GLASS SHELVES! YUCK! I don’t even have a clue how to start that one. Perhaps ditch the top portion and keep the base and use it as a buffet type server-type piece… hmmm….

    1. Hi April –

      Glass shelves can be a good thing when you want to light up the interior. Maybe you can take the doors off to update it. Not sure without seeing it. I think you are onto a good idea by thinking of changing out parts and perhaps even seperating the pieces. Just keep playing with different ideas until you get to that A-ha moment. Keep me posted on what you end up doing.

  45. By the way, my sister loved your ideas for fixing up kitchen cabinets and I know she will love this hutch idea too :)

  46. Diane, it looks awesome! It really looks like a different hutch in white. I love the book pages that you decoupaged on the inside too.

    I am going to forward your link to my sister because she has a very similar hutch and she is in the process of remodeling her kitchen/dining room.

    I can’t wait to see your dining room when it is all ready for Thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks Amanda-

      I have had this hutch for a long time. I always knew I would paint it someday, just wish I had done it sooner. Now I feel like it is really mine – not just a hand- me down.

  47. WOW Diane this is beautiful, every bit of it! I can see all the time and love you spent on it! Thanks for your visit, yes I”m so glad I was able to roll it :)
    Have a wonderful day!

  48. annabelle says:

    wow!!!! What a terrific job….I wish I could tackle a job like this but i´m a little scare. Let you know if I take the plunge

  49. Linda@Coastal Charm says:

    What a great idea to use the book pages…looks outstanding!


  50. Just beautiful, Diane! Love the white dishes against the book page wallpaper background.

  51. Great transformation, Diane! La

  52. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    It turned out beautifully, Diane! I love the idea of paper on the inside and, in this case, book pages. It looks very French Country now! I’ll bet you are glad this project is completed.

    1. Hi Kathy-
      I am glad it is complete, but I do love to see the transformation taking place and working on pieces – Just wish I had more time.

  53. Becca @ Adventures in Decorating says:

    I love this! So creative to add the book pages too … yes, serves as the perfect contrast against your lovely white dishes. Wow … thanks for sharing! *Becca*

  54. You really did an amazing job here. I have a pine table and hutch and have been debating painting, but it’s off of my light maple kitchen and I’m not sure about the white against such a light wood. Just curious, is this off your kitchen and if so, what colour are your cabs?

    1. Hi Steph-

      My dining room is off my kitchen. You can see into the room, but they are not open to each other. There is a french door between the two. My kitchen cabinets are off white and I have light tan grasscloth on the walls. The color scheme is similar, but the dining room has darker walls for more drama and contrast. I love to mix white, off white and tan (light and dark). They go perfectly together. Having such a neutral color palette lets you bring anythting into the room and it automatically goes! You can see my kitchen cabinets in this post, and a close up of the wallpaper, here

  55. Pam @ diy Design Fanatic says:

    Your hutch looks really great! I love it!

  56. Diane-That is a perfect fix for the shelves! I love all those pages affixed to the shelves and sides/back of the unit. It is absolutely perfect…especially to showcase your ironstone/white dishes. Love it…love it. Did you use HomeDepot’s paint called Wicker? That is one I used and I still love it! Have a great night- Diana

    1. Hi Diana-

      You are going to laugh, but when I said I was doing a thrifty makeover I meant it. I mixed two half gallons of paint together so I would have enough to cover the hutch. One was Sherwin Williams Creamy and the other Alabaster. It is not a pure white, but not as deep as a pure off white or antique white. I will have to go check out Wicker. It sounds like a perfect color.

  57. Pine Tree Home says:

    What a creative idea to use those book pages. Such texture it gives. Great transformation.

  58. cindy @ cottage instincts says:

    Perfection! Love the book pages…..I think limited budgets let our imaginations soar! Such a beautiful piece….great job!

    1. Hi Cindy-
      I agree with you – limited budgets do make us use our creativity more and I think we end up putting our personality into our homes more which creates one of a kind and/or unique pieces that show our individual style. Thanks for hosting the link-up.