reuse an outdated china cabinet
September 7, 2012 in Design Dilemma
I have a 30 year old china cabinet, dark wood, some detail on it. I would love to "update" it. Could i sand and paint it myself? Thinking also of getting rid of the top hutch and keeping the base unit only. Any suggestions out!
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Vikrant Sharma Homez
The China Cabinet looks amazing and as good as new , and goes very well with your Wall colour . if you still want it can be painted a colour of your choice but bear this in mind , painting it will be a irreversible process .
1 Like   September 8, 2012 at 1:59AM
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Vikrant is right - painting it would be an irreversible process. And a very big project. But yes, it can be done. I'm not sure why you would want to lose the top hutch, it's what gives the unit its character.

Is the back of the hutch mirrored? And is it flat, or rounded? If it's flat, you could remove the glass shelves and measure the back wall. Get some foam core board cut to the exact size and cover it with a beautiful fabric, using spray adhesive, and put it in front of the mirror. This will change the look dramatically. Change out the hardware for something more modern and you will have a "brand new" unit. This can even be done seasonally, or for the holidays.

Lose everything on top and the tassels. Maybe thin out some of the contents.

But if you're sure you want to paint it, see if you can remove the glass from the doors first, it will make this task much easier.
2 Likes   September 8, 2012 at 2:59AM
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You might want to try Annie Sloan chalk paint. It's not cheap, but it can go on without prepping or priming. And if you want a polished finish they have a wax coat too.
3 Likes   September 8, 2012 at 6:31AM
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Thanks all for your help, I'm thinking about doing the wrapped foam core board, also you are right need to thin out the inside, my parents moved in with us and acquired all my Mom's beautiful crystal pieces but its too much.
1 Like   September 8, 2012 at 11:11AM
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Custom Home Planning Center
Sell it as is and buy what you want in its place as your more likely not going to change it to the positive.
2 Likes   September 8, 2012 at 11:22AM
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strip it down to bare wood it will be stunning and carefully curate whats inside and maybe mix in some
colored glass pieces
0 Likes   September 8, 2012 at 11:26AM
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momatyl, i never liked china cabinets for storage- i like it for display..that's just me. before u consider painting it- i would empty the hutch and maybe take out a center shelf to make a bigger display area- try making the side glass shelves NOT in line with the center glass shelves..(at least on my old china cabinet i could do that- maybe u can't). Put a HUGE platter/tray asand add some "visually weighty" items along with it- like candlesticks. Add items back into the hutch and eyeball it.. maybe a set of glasses on one side shelf- striking bowl on another.. play play play until you have the right items. :)
in the end- if you still don't like it- i would take the hutch off.. and paint it a silver metallic and replace the knobs :)
0 Likes   September 8, 2012 at 5:36PM
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My friend, a spectacular decorator, had a cabinet just like yours...French. She had shirred fabric put inside the glass panels. It changed the whole look of the cabinet. Or, how about this pix for inspiration?
2 Likes   September 8, 2012 at 5:43PM
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It would look great lacquered, for a bolder look, or painted with chalk paint for a softer look. You could also distress it, which would look nice. Also, if you wanted to, you could replace the hardware to totally update it. And, one last thing! It would look very good to wallpaper the back of the shelves in any pattern you want. Depending on what you keep in it, it could look amazing!
Hope that helps!
0 Likes   September 8, 2012 at 6:09PM
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HI --- I wouldn't bother , i think you should just sell it and get something more in style . Painting it is a lot of work and it's still going to be out of date . I have never known of painting a piece of furniture to be irriversible , it's just a lot of stripping to bring it back that's all, and I don't think anyone would want to anyway. The reason I would not bother putting the time and effort into this piece is, it's just too big . You could just use the console part and top it with a piece of marble or something but I think you will be better off with a new piece of furniture.
2 Likes   September 8, 2012 at 6:21PM
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it be a shame to paint. if anything, you would have to sand and stain to allow the details to come through.. a lot of work, with the type of detail involved. I think embrace it, or move on!! :)
0 Likes   September 8, 2012 at 7:54PM
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Probably best to have piece professionally painted for best relults. If you have no fear, do it yourself!
3 Likes   September 9, 2012 at 1:13PM
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I like this hutch! I just would make one shelf in the middle and decorate with less things...
0 Likes   September 9, 2012 at 1:48PM
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Donna Lucas
It's pretty for what it is. China closets have to be functional. If you use all that crystal it needs serious reduction and arrangement! Plus a nice place to store wine you plan to use quickly. A case of good stuff just in. A row. The furniture is not hand carved so not that valuable appears to have a pressed or machined design. The purpose of this type of cabinet is to keep dust off the pieces
. I have three china closets plus built in glass fronted storage in the kitchen area. A closet like this is a poor display cabinet, as it.

Make it a functional piece for entertaining yourselves or friends. Your favorite serving pieces small interesting personal plates for appetizers the glasses that go with. Silver in a drawn out drawer, another with napkins. Glasses for reds, whites, and champagnes.

Put the bar glasses elsewhere near a bar set up. throw all the doors open for family or guests when you serve let them help them selves. Things brake replace with the glasses you may be storing below. remove the dust collectors off the top.

2. sell it and get what you really want. 3. Make is a bookcase plus storage in an office with one or two display items you have as clutter now. I have an old china in my office has books, storage, plus a few photos some collector pieces plus 6 glasses just in case.

4. Now not seeing your color schemes or anything else in the room but the walls, I suggest dark grey matte paint, distress slightly, Remove center doors, leave the mirrors, trim with thin lines of antique brass color around framing. Blacken the pulls and knobs, consider replacing the glass shelving with painted wood. Ignore the carving just paint with the matte dard grey. Thia I reccomend for a more casual/up to contemporary look. Then do what a suggested in the first paragraph. Intersting even rotating seasonal serving pieces, with limited specific glasses , storing balance below hidden til needed, great linen napkins, easily handled single serving plates to guest even a huge stack, wine etc. remove those center doors add the painted shelves.

All of this can be tried before you even attenpt the painting. See if you can make a pleasing clean arrangement with less...door removed pieces collected here and there from your home with all that crystall you have a stash elsewhere I am sure. Not everything you own has to be on display all the time.

In my formal dining room I have a larger china closet it is filled with glasses and china much is stored below it is very formal but I still throw open the doors for guest during events even with only a few guests. These days we do no usually have anyone serving. For us. I still set tables but once the event of meal begins everyone even small can get the second course dishes or another drink from the buffet or seconds or appetizers and may want another plate, sherbet glass or change from flute to robust burgundy glass. Again your china as it looks above is just display and not very interesting since its all crystal. Which you must love but put 2/3 of it away for the next season, or everyday breakfast orange juice, or crashing I to the fireplace after a fabulous wine.
1 Like   September 9, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I liked judyg's picture that showed "chicken wire" replacing the glass in the upper doors. If you like that look, Outwater Industries offers a variety of similar wire that you can purchase to replace the glass. You could also use the Annie Sloan paint mentioned above to refinish the cabinet. It might be a fun project for you.

If that's not the case, then I fear you must get rid of it.
2 Likes   September 9, 2012 at 5:10PM
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I dont think it can be sanded. Its probably just an ultra thin veneer over mdf. I believe women like these things but china cabinets just feel dowdy to me. Just the base with a nice mirror would make feel much less grandma
0 Likes   September 9, 2012 at 5:22PM
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I love all your great suggestions, we have decided to empty the entire cabinet and the first drawer in the base cabinet. We are going to repurpose it as a bar. We're going to change out the hardware also. We have a very large livingroom which we never used, and a smaller diningroom we we use,
So we switched, we now have lots of room for our diningroom, we don't have a hanging light fixture but lots of lamps. Now our livingroom furniture looks cozy and comfortable in its new room, leaving the china cabinet ... now our bar looks awesome. Will post pictures once all is done.
2 Likes   September 9, 2012 at 11:05PM
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Christina Cessor
I am currently painting a china cabinet that I inherited. Here are some pics but I am still not finished.
2 Likes   April 1, 2014 at 12:33PM
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Christina - post your cab on before and after!
0 Likes   April 1, 2014 at 12:48PM
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