Update a Used China Cabinet

HGTV Magazine looked beyond the red stained wood and the gold trim, and saw that this 1970s china cabinet had the potential to be a stunner. Here’s how you can remake a similar piece of your own.

By: Jodi Kahn and Nissa Botthoff
makeover a used china cabinet

For Sale: Old China Cabinet

makeover a used china cabient

Photo by: Rachel Barker

Rachel Barker

Materials Needed

  • seam roller
  • plastic smoothing tool
  • white paint and primer
  • wallpaper
  • wallpaper paste
  • painter's tape
  • cat's-paw
  • coarse sandpaper
  • paint roller
  • razor blade
  • pulls and knobs
  • screwdriver
  • pencil
  • tack cloth
  • paintbrush
  • sponge
  • hammer
  • nails

Superchic Storage

Revitalized with crisp white paint, glinting brass hardware, and hot pink honeycomb-pattern wallpaper, the cabinet is now any-room stylish. Vases, hardcovers, and metallic accents make for a fresh take on a living room bookcase. Change up the display and it’ll dazzle in a dining room, an entry, or a bedroom. (Follow directions below.)

updated china cabinet

China Cabinet Makeover

Wallpaper Amy Bethune Honeysuckle Honeycomb wallpaper, $60 per single roll, spoonflower.com CABINET paint Emerald Interior Acrylic Latex paint and primer in Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams knobs Glinted prism iron and brass knobs in bronze finish, $8 each, anthropologie.com pulls Round 3"-diameter ring pulls in satin brass, $38 each, lahardware.com wall paint Round Barn by Ralph Lauren Paint

Photo by: Lara Robby/Studio D

Lara Robby/Studio D

Wallpaper Amy Bethune Honeysuckle Honeycomb wallpaper, $60 per single roll, spoonflower.com CABINET paint Emerald Interior Acrylic Latex paint and primer in Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams knobs Glinted prism iron and brass knobs in bronze finish, $8 each, anthropologie.com pulls Round 3"-diameter ring pulls in satin brass, $38 each, lahardware.com wall paint Round Barn by Ralph Lauren Paint

Step 1

Using a cat’s-paw, pry off the back of the cabinet. Remove the shelves and lower doors (use a pencil to label each door to make rehanging them easier). Unscrew and discard the hardware from the upper and lower doors. If your cabinet has molding on the lower doors, pry it off with a screwdriver and discard it. Using a razor blade, scrape any decals off the glass doors.

Step 2

Lightly sand the entire cabinet, including the backboard and shelves. Wipe off dust with a tack cloth. Tape off both sides of the glass on the upper doors, as shown. Using a paintbrush, apply white paint and primer to the entire cabinet, including both sides of the shelves. Remove the painter’s tape while the paint is still wet. Let dry.

Step 3

Using a paint roller, apply wallpaper paste to the wallpaper. Affix the wallpaper to the backboard, starting in the center of the board. Using a plastic smoothing tool, smooth the wallpaper. Repeat until the entire board is covered. Using a seam roller, flatten the seams. Trim off any excess wallpaper. Wipe off stray paste with a damp sponge. Let dry. Tip: Seams should abut, not overlap.

Step 4

Replace the shelves. Attach the new hardware to the upper and the lower doors. Rehang the lower doors. Carefully nail the backboard into place. Tip: If your cabinet’s backboard isn't removable, go to hgtv.com/diy-cabinet for wallpapering instructions.

Next Up

Easily Transform a Cabinet Into Shoe Storage

Turn an unused cabinet into modern shoe storage with the addition of hairpin furniture legs and sliding storage shelves.

Make a Wall Organizer From Upcycled Hardwood Flooring

Concur clutter with this easy-to-build hanging helper made from hardwood flooring.

How to Build Oversized Garage Storage Cabinets

Say goodbye to clutter for good with the addition of extra-large garage cabinets. Inexpensive and easy to assemble, this DIY storage solution is a perfect weekend project.

Make Your Desk Accessory Set

Use various containers like Mason jars, vases and tin cans to create a matching desk accessory set that will keep all your school essentials organized and within reach.

Turn an Old Tomato Cage Into a Storage Basket

Make a colorful, fabric storage basket out of a tomato cage and cotton twine with this simple and super-affordable tutorial.

How to Make a Rolling Power Tool Storage System

Easily store long power tools such as weed eaters, pole saws and leaf blowers off the ground and out of the way with this rolling storage system.

DIY Two-Tiered Garage Storage Stand With Ramp

Double your garage or shed storage space with this two-tiered stand ideal for wheelbarrows and utility carts.

DIY Wall Bike Rack

Make an industrial-style DIY wall-mounted bike rack that will show off your bike and keep your riding gear organized.

How to Modernize an Old Trunk

The DIY experts at HGTV Magazine went digging in the attic for treasures that deserve a second chance.

How to Build a Floating Shelf With Hidden Charging Station

Don't let unsightly cables and cords clutter your living space. This DIY floating shelf has a built-in power strip tucked away in a drawer — the perfect spot to charge your phones, tablets and other gadgets out of sight.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.