Reader Redesign: Cabinet Quick Change

When Emily sent us her amazing china cabinet makeover we just had to share her before & after pics. Here’s her letter:

I’ve been following your blog and have been inspired to move away from a house full of dark furniture and lighten things up a bit! We had some dark $10 clearance dining chairs that we purchased last summer but we decided to give them an airy overhaul (we found discount fabric and payed a professional to paint and upholster the chairs and they still came in under $100 a piece!). We also had been on the lookout for a china cabinet to store all of our servingware (which was sadly being stored in our guest room’s closet) when we came across one on Craigslist for just $75. It even had a working light! All it took to totally transform it was some leftover topcoat and fabric from the chairs along with around $40 of primer, paint and brushes from Lowe’s. We just love the new look- and we hope you like it too. Keep up the good work! And thanks for sharing your lives! – Emily

Here’s the cabinet before the big makeover:

And here’s the same china cabinet with a crisp new paint job and some leftover chair fabric lining the back:

Isn’t that incredible? It looks like a $1000+ piece and it was just $75 on Craigslist. This is such a great reminder that old pieces of seen-better-days furniture can always be upgraded in any number of ways (new hardware, paint, fabric, playful paper drawer liners, antiquing, etc). There really is no limit to what you can do with a smidge of determination and a little elbow grease. Great job Emily- thanks so much for sharing!

Psst- Looking for a step by step furniture painting tutorial? Well look no further.


  1. says

    I love a great Craigslist find/makeover! I wish my dining room was big enough to accommodate one of these beauties! Emily, you did a great job! Without plates, the fabric looks like a frosted print on doors :) Nicely done.

  2. Connie says

    I absolutely love how you turned that “old” piece into something new and unique. Hey John and Sherry do you have any suggestions for small dining rooms? My dining room is too small for a hutch or cabinet. I barely have room for the table and chairs.

    • says

      We feel your pain Connie! We loved adding floating shelves to our dining area so we could stack some plates and some art and some other eye-pleasing items without using up too much floor space. Hope it helps!


  3. says

    Wow, that is stunning! It seems like I can never find deals that great on my local Craigslist. I suppose I should just frequent it more often (and count down the days before I lose my job ;). Great work, and I love that chair fabric!! At first I just thought you frosted the glass in a cool pattern, but the fabric in the back looks great!

  4. TG says

    What a fantastic makeover. The China cabinet is amazing. Are those the chairs she mentioned in the picture that had upholstered? If so, they look amazing as well. If they weren’t they really did a great job coordinating.

  5. theresa says

    Love it! I especially love the fabric as I have been infatuated with a similar pattern sold by an online retailer. Great job!

  6. Pam says

    Beautiful Emily! I’m sure the quality of the furniture is so much better than most you can find for sale today. This is one of the best ways to help conserve our natural resources. Two weeks ago, I saw gorgeous chairs going for $5 each at an auction. They only needed a bit of elbow grease, some paint and fabric. You did a great job with this piece!

  7. Holly says

    Love love love love love love love love love. Okay, so I’m a bit dramatic, but I LOVE to see before and afters on affordable furniture! Great job, love that fabric as well!

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