China Cabinet Makeover
I am so excited for this project, not only because I absolutely love how it turned out, but also because all I can say is WOW — what a transformation! After Christmas, I acquired a china cabinet from my grandmother. It was a piece of amazing quality that would stand the test of time. However, it wasn’t exactly my style. One of my goals for the new year was to be bold in my design choices (and to not be afraid of making my own rules!) I had a vision of transforming this antique into a bold, modern piece — and I did it using chalk paint and wallpaper. It was the easiest project that yielded a stunning transformation, and today on the blog I’m so excited to take you through the process and hopefully inspire you to transform a piece of your own!
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Chalk Paint China Cabinet Makeover with Wallpaper
Here is a look at the china cabinet when I got it from my grandmother. It’s solid wood and an amazing quality piece that really will last forever in our home. However, it wasn’t exactly my style. I knew right away that I wanted to transform this antique into a bold, modern statement piece to have on display in my home.
- Behr Chalk Paint in Classic Noir
- Nylon/Polyester Brush – My favorite is the Wooster 2 inch brush!
- Rub ‘n Buff – I used the color antique gold for this project!
- Black & White Sudbury Peel and Stick Wallpaper from WallPops
- Smoother Tool and Utility Knife
- Optional: Frog Tape – to tape off any glass! Thankfully, I was able to remove the glass panels from the china cabinet, so I didn’t need to tape them off.
What I Love to Use to Refinish Furniture: Chalk Paint
I’m a huge chalk paint lover. I’ve been using chalk paint to refinish furniture since I was a teenager. I started out by using Annie Sloan chalk paint, but I have recently fallen in love with Behr’s chalk paint line that you can find at Home Depot. I especially love it because you can have it tinted to a wide variety of beautiful Behr colors.
Chalk Paint Tips
If you’ve never used chalk paint before, it is so easy to use. There’s no prep work involved. All you need to do is wipe down your piece to remove any dust or dirt. You don’t need to use a primer — even on glossy finishes! If your piece is an antique and is chippy though, you’ll want to sand those spots down first to get a smooth, clean finish.
When you’re ready to paint with chalk paint, you’ll want to use a nylon/polyester brush, or you can use a dense foam roller. I love the Wooster brand paint brushes from Home Depot. I personally don’t like using a roller, so the key to using a brush and not having brush strokes is to do long strokes with your brush going with the grain of the wood. Keep in mind that it’s pretty impossible to not have brush strokes on your first coat, especially if you’re working in light, even coats. Be patient, and you’ll be amazed at how amazing the finish is after your second coat!
Chalk paint goes a long way, so the key is to use a little bit of paint at a time and do light, even coats and blending as you go. Chalk paint also dries super fast — which is why it’s important to do light, even coats and blend as you go so you can get a really nice finish without any drips.
Wall Paper Tips
I definitely think the thing that transformed this china cabinet the most is the Wallpops wallpaper that I put along the back wall. It complimented the modern look of the black paint, but it kept a little bit of the vintage vibe with the black and white fine line print with the floral and birds.
Wallpaper can be a bit intimidating, but peel and stick wallpaper like this one from Wallpops is super easy to use and install. I find that if you fold down the top 2 inches of the roll and place it up where you want it, you can slowly and easily peel the backing down and smooth it down as you go. I used a smoother tool to scrape downwards to avoid air bubbles. When you get to the bottom, press the wallpaper firmly into the edge using your smoother tool and then use a utility knife to cut along the crack to get a perfect edge. When you’re ready to go to the next column, simply match up the pattern and repeat!
Tips for Air Bubbles in Wallpaper
If you notice air bubbles in your wallpaper after the fact, a super easy way to get rid of them is to take the point of your knife / razor and puncture a tiny hole into the wallpaper. Then take your finger and smooth out the air bubble. Once smoothed out, you won’t be able to tell you punctured a hole!
The Easiest Way to Update Antique Hardware: Rub ‘n Buff
I’ve found that antique hardware can look super dull, especially against a newly refinished piece. Rub ‘n Buff is hands down the easiest way to update your antique hardware during your refinishing project. It’s formulated from waxes and metallic powders that give a finish that metallic spray paint can’t duplicate. To use, you simply just rub (or brush) on the product and gently buff to get a beautiful luster until you get your desired finish. It comes in a tiny tube, but I promise that a little bit goes a long way. No, seriously! I barely put a dent in the tube I bought. (I’m pretty sure it’ll last me for DIYs for the next 10 years…)
READ ALSO: Using Rub n Buff to Update Antique Hardware
For my china cabinet, I used the color Antique Gold. Watch the video below to see just how easy it is to apply it!
…And here is a look at the china cabinet after it was finished! It is everything that I envisioned, and I am absolutely in love with how it turned out! As you can imagine, it is easily becoming my favorite furniture piece that I own. Here are some photos of how it came together after I worked on styling it and filling it up with some of my favorite Waterford Crystal, Lenox, and Rae Dunn pieces that I’ve been gifted or have collected over the past few years. Each piece has a person or a memory attached to it to make it special — which makes displaying it in this gorgeous cabinet something now I’m going to cherish!
Well there you have it, friends! I hope you enjoyed this look into my recent project transforming this antique china cabinet from my grandmother into a bold, modern statement piece that I am so excited to have on display in my home. Can you believe what a little paint and wallpaper can do? I hope this project now inspires you to transform a piece of your own!
Beautiful 💗 I have a cabinet I will be using the same colors and paper on. Hope it turns out as nice as yours 🤞
Thank you so much, Andrea! I’d love to see a photo of it when it’s finished! Send me an email! 🙂
I will. One question though. Do you finish with a wax coating or just the chalk paint?
If it is a high traffic piece like a table or desk or something, I would finish it with a wax or even a water based polycrylic. Poly will last longer than wax and will be stronger. Make sure it is a WATER-BASED poly, otherwise the finish will yellow over time. Also keep in mind if you use wax as a seal for a table that you be mindful of hot plates being left in contact with the table. For this specific project since the paint is dark (will show minimal imperfections) and it is a very low traffic decor piece, I left it just the chalk paint.