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Refinished China Cabinet | Modern DIY

Updated: Jan 20

Check out the stunning transformation of this vintage walnut china cabinet!

My first step was removing the glass to make sanding and painting easier. Unfortunately, one of the pieces of glass broke as it was being removed (because it's old and brittle) so I reached out to one of our local glass shops with the dimensions and bought some new glass. Next I removed the handles by unscrewing them from the inside.

I wanted to make sure the doors and drawer fronts were fully sanded because I love the natural wood grain and wanted it to show through. Since the rest would be painted black, I sanded it enough to scuff up the surface so the paint would adhere better. The moulding on the doors was quite fragile so it cracked. Instead of repairing it I decided I wanted to go for a modern look and pried the rest off.

Once it was all sanded, I vacuumed all the sawdust then used a damp microfiber cloth to get the rest of the dust.

I used a clear, soft touch Varathane on the doors and drawers. It took 3-4 coats of Varathane, letting it dry between each coat. It was astonishing to see this antique walnut suck in the moisture and really come back to life!

I tried to find handles that had the exact same holes, but they were really difficult to find so I decided to paint the existing ones. If this hole distance on the new ones isn't the same, I would have to fill the holes and it would be noticeable if I was going to keep the natural wood.

I scuffed up the handles with a high grit sanding pad in all the nooks and crannies followed by wiping the dust with a dry microfiber. Then I spray painted them with a glossy black spray paint.

There was a couple of imperfections on the front of the doors but I didn't want to commit to painting the entire door. So I played around with masking tape until I found a design that would allow me to cover the imperfections but leave as much of the natural wood as I could.

I found a black 'milk paint' that I love (all materials are linked below). Everything except the back wall was painted black because I knew I would be applying wall paper to the back.

The handles on the big glass door and lower doors will be gold so I picked a wall paper with a gold accent. It was an easy peel and stick wall paper, it took a try or two to get the pieces lined up so it looks cohesive. I also decided to add some to the back of the lower shelves.

I think the blend of the original and updated hardware fits this make over perfectly. And the milky black paint is such a beautiful contrast to the wall paper and natural wood.


Black Paint (for cabinet)

Black Spray Paint (for handles)

This was the biggest project I've taken on so far, but I am so thrilled with how it turned out!

Check out @PrairieMamasBlog on Instagram to follow along with more DIYs or send me pictures of the projects you're working on!

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