Cream Cabinet Makeover

February 2, 2010

I’ve been reflecting on my master bedroom, and its décor and I’ve concluded it’s pretty nice so far, but in need of some modern upgrades.  I’m really seeking to take the bedroom to the next level.  You know, add some elegant wainscoting, change up the art display, add some dramatic sconces, some upholstered seating, and perhaps a glitzy mirror above the bed.  Really glam it up a with a hint of that Old Hollywood style.

Our master gets morning light, but becomes really dark in the afternoon and evening.  For the longest time, I was looking for a mirrored buffet like this one from Z Gallerie to put under the front window to pull light into the space.  Plus, I have a storage issue in my bedroom.  I have several dozen half finished books that I’m committed to reading, so they simply cannot leave the room.  And a ton of magazines piling up again.  Yet all of those books and magazines were collecting dust and I really needed a storage solution for my bedtime reading material.

Enter this downtrodden substitute from the local thrift store.

sideboard before

A beautiful piece of cabinetry in my eyes, but sad too.  I can tell that someone wanted to fix her up, but gave up.  Perhaps because the top and side panels are veneer and not real wood.  Or perhaps because this piece had taken a lot of abuse.

sideboard scratched

I saw so much potential here, and also a storage solution!  So I paid $25 dollars at the local St. Vincent de Paul thrift and brought it home.  As you know from last week’s ode to Opulence Pearl paint, I got to thinking that I could refinish the piece in a cream color, then glaze it with my new found best friend.

With my newest fixation on metallic finishes, I must tell you that I came so very close to giving it an antique silver finish. I even considered silver leafing it.  But then I realized I had a bronze thing going on in the master bedroom space.


lladro and mirror

As tempted as I was, I decided this cabinet refinished in silver in this space might be too Vegasy (is that a word?).  So I live to silver leaf another day.

I have absolutely no use for another wood tone in this room and the existing linens are cream.  Besides, I like to mix painted pieces with wood furniture.  So I opted to paint it in a cream color, and give it a  pearlescent glaze.  Here are the three tools I used to transform:  Zinsser primer, Rustoleum’s ‘Heirloom White’ latex in a can (can you believe it?) and Pratt & Lambert’s Opulence Pearl, all purchased from Orchard Supply & Hardware (OSH).

paint trifecta

Plus some new knobs from Anthropologie.

antique bronze crystal knobs

Love !

I sanded, then primed with Zinsser.

sand and prime

Then I gave it two coats of Heirloom White in latex.  The final third coat was a blend of one part Heirloom White to three parts Opulence Pearl, both latex paints.

Here she is After:

sideboard after

side panel after

anthro knobs

The existing linens in the room are a cream damask pattern.  Hmmm.  Then I really got to thinking.  Why not play off this pattern ?

existing linens in room

So I had a crazy clever idea.  I really like this etched look on these panels, like on these pieces that I featured yesterday.


I really love this carved detail.  It separates these pieces from the crowd and really makes them one of a kind.

On my piece, the inner panels of this cabinet separate from the door.  So I had this paintable patterned wallpaper that I plan on using in another top secret project to be revealed whenever I get around to it.

Available at Lowes:

Paintable Wallpaper 003

Excuse me, but whomever invented paintable textured wallpaper, let me kiss your ring.

I clipped off four sections, painted and glazed the wallpaper, then attached it to the removable inner panels to give it that etched panel look.

wallpaper panels sideboard

wallpaper panels from side

Cool, huh.  Reversible panels.  Two looks in one.

Seriously, they reverse with just a few tiny screws.  Takes five minutes.

I had the finished edge mirror custom made to fit the top of thsi cabinet for $60 dollars.  Pricey, but worth it since it pulls so much light into the room, and gives off a really beautiful reflection.

Whether it’s crystal and costume jewelry.

jewelry reflection

. . .or blooms and colored glass.

aubergine urn

Here’s a peek at the pearlescent sheen up close.  Keep in mind this is three parts Opulence Pearl to one part Heirloom White paint.  I know it’s called ‘Heirloom White’ but it’s really a cream color in my eyes.

I thought two coats of the Opulence Pearl on top of the Heirloom White was too shiny for this piece, so I mixed the paint with the glaze to arrive at the perfect subtle pearl sheen.

pearlescent sheen up close

Plain panels:

plain panels side view

‘Etched’ wallpaper panels:

sideboard with urn

So which look did I settle on?  I remain undecided.  In truth, I like them both.  One little voice says “Oh, the plain panels, they’re so elegant!” and the other voice hollers back “You wallpapered the inside panels ?  You go girl !”

So as you can see, I am torn.

What say you?



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278 Responses to “Cream Cabinet Makeover”

  1. Melanie says:

    OMG! I love love love this! I love the color, the knobs, and I love the wallpaper. I say keep them up. I love textured wallpaper:)

  2. Beth H says:

    i vote for the wallpaper panels – this piece looks aMAZing! nice work.

  3. Layla says:



  4. Kath says:

    Well, the choice seems clear – wallpapered ones on the outside, plain for the two middle ones…

  5. Momma Bear says:

    Super!! I know someone who did something very close to this in her “kitchen”. She had no cabinets so used this technique. She also added a high boy with glass doors to the room for storage. It looks like something out of a decorating magazine.

  6. Catie says:

    Wow!!!!! Just saw your site and I absolutely love it!! I love doing similar, painting furnture, knocking out panels on cupboards and putting in fabric etc etc. Love the wallpaper panels – definitely better than plain. How do you get the time to photograph everything and put it on line? I just wish I had time to do more stuff. I’m into cushions at the moment – want to make some really fab, funky, gorgeous ones.

    Keep creating!

  7. C. Hart says:

    Fantastic!!! I absolutely love it. Definitely with the panels. How much sanding did you have to do?

  8. Oh, I just love this! The color, knobs, and paper are just gorgeous. Well done on all of your choices and execution.

  9. Debra says:

    Love the transformation and the paintable wallpaper. It is a beautiful piece! I once used the paintable wallpaper that I painted and glazed as a temporary backsplash in my kitchen until I remodeled. It looked just like cool tiles.

  10. rosalyn says:

    “awesome”…..”beautiful”…..!!! I like both looks!

  11. Natalie A. says:

    Well cruddy, duddy. I didn’t know Lowe’s carried paintable wallpaper. A couple of months ago I wallpapered above our fireplace mantel & ordered that stuff online from England. It’s expensive! We have received so many comments re. the wallpaper. It would be fun to do one wall as a focal point in a dining room or living room. Woo-hoo, wallpaper is back!

    Also, I have found what I think to be the same knobs Anthropologie carries at Hobby Lobby. I’ve always bought them when they were on sale. They are a few bucks each when on sale.

    I just looked to see if there is a Hobby Lobby near you & I cannot believe they are not in CA (or NV, WA, & OR). Boo. Next time you are in a city that has one, check it out.

    Finally, this piece is amazing – I love it! Great work!

  12. Alison says:

    Wow! You did a fabulous job! I just found your blog and am loving all of the inspiration that I am seeing! I am looking forward to checking out more of your blog!

  13. Lana says:

    Love it! I like the plain panels no wallpaper, I am a sucker for simple, clean lines. The wall paper is too much on the eyes.

  14. Ryan says:

    I say you are a bit of a do-it-yourself savant. I haven’t had time to look through all of your past projects, but I am really, really impressed by the few that I have seen. There are a lot of do-it-yourself posts with pictures on the Internet that look pretty good, but the majority of them fall slightly short in fully pulling off the illusion that the piece was purchased from a store. Your projects have a very finished, high-end store quality to them.

  15. This turned out so beautiful and I LOVE the glass top, that adds just the right amount of sparkle to it too. Very nice.

  16. Simply Stunning and elegant! I love Damask prints and I love furniture rehabs! It’s great to recycle too! I have a sideboard in my living room/dining room area that is in great shape but needs an update. I’ve been wanting to paint it black or espresso and change out the hardware. Hubby is worried it will get ruined. However, it is a 50 year old piece of furniture, it’s had it’s time as an old, brown, boring sideboard. It needs new life! :)

  17. Apryl says:

    I am IN LOVE with this piece. Seriously, really well down, as always.

  18. carrie says:

    OMgoodness ~ you are so talented! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cabinet you painted white with the glass knobs! Just beautiful!

  19. Wow – you are not only centsational but extremely talented! I’ve done my share of furniture painting but your results are so professional. I love the wallpaper inserts.

  20. Dora says:

    BEAUTIFUL WORK! where did you get the mirror cut to size?

  21. Sarah D says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!! I like the etched version the best. Either way it’s gorgeous!

  22. […] the primer was dry, I gave it two coats of ‘Heirloom White’ in latex that I had leftover from this cabinet project.  Then I cut 2 inch foam to fit the top and covered it with batting to smooth out the foam’s […]

  23. Amy says:

    I found someone like me! I used textured paintable wallpaper on a few pieces of our bedroom furniture a few years ago, my husband thought I was crazy until I was finished. It’s a great product.
    Your rooms are amazing! Love, love, love the grasscloth!
    I don’t know if you have used it but try Rust-Oleum’s Hammered Paint, the black is great.
    I am off to buy some pearl paint! You are an inspiration. Nothing’s better then finding a bargain and giving it a new look!

  24. Ellie says:

    Hi! Just stumbled across the site via your guest post at A Soft Place to Land…I love what you are doing! I, too, prefer the wallpapered look. It’s not too busy at all because the piece is all one color. I think the plain doors just don’t have quite as much character!

    Keep up the amazing projects!

  25. April says:

    Two words: GOR. GEOUS!!!!

  26. sonia says:

    holy moly that is gorgeous~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Peach says:

    I say WOWWWWWWW.

  28. […] (or wallpaper?), and something stunning under the front window.  Maybe I should bring the cream cabinet downstairs and put it under the window?  I need some new or rearranged art.  Perhaps some […]

  29. shell says:

    If you’re still undecided about the panels I say leave the 2 middle ones etched & the ones on the end plain. Then you can have the best of both worlds lol Cabinet looks great btw!

  30. Linda says:

    I say I want that for my house! And I like it with the wallpaper. :)

  31. Erin says:

    Paint the wallpaper on the panels for a very chic look!

  32. Lauren says:

    Love love the textured look you gave cabinet!
    You just gave me a great idea for my headboard :) thanks!

  33. dana says:

    hi there. i love this dresser. where would one go for a custom cut mirror top? i love that idea and want to use it for one of my pieces.

    thanks, dana

  34. Juli says:

    Gorgeous finish. Did you use a brush? Roller? I have to know.

  35. Jaime Leigh says:

    The Wallpaper ROCKS!!!! I could just hug your neck for this most fabulous idea!!!

  36. Priscilla K. says:

    Hi! What a beautiful finished product. Did you use a paint brush, roller or a foam brush to apply the paint? Did you sand in between each coat? Your finish is so smooth. I’m painting some furniture and am struggling a bit with the process. I’m using a brush and having trouble with the paint drying too quickly and leaving some gunky brush marks. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. I love your blog!

  37. Anne says:

    I’m in love with this! I am sitting her yelling to my husband at how amazing this looks! Makes me wanna run to the local thrift store right now, buy the ugliest thing I can find, and beautify it with paint and textured wallpaper (along with everything else I already own)! Thanks for this wonderful idea!

  38. Loooove it! I prefer the wallpaper sides. I have that same wallpaper! Have used it in a project and am playing around with another idea to use it… so stunning!
    Thanks for sharing this.

  39. Michelle says:

    Loved the wallpaper tiles!

  40. omiword. I am in awe. I have *so* many pieces to refinish in my home and am an absolute novice. I am petriified to even begin so am reading e.v.e.r.y. word on your site. :-)

  41. Keila says:

    I love the wall paper side!! So elegant…

  42. Jenny Yackel says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your ideas and creativity!! I am so inspired!! I love the wall paper look.. subtle enough yet adds some interest. I will be doing a painting project in the near future and had a question for you.. do you use a clear coat at all on your projects? I would hate to spend all the time and effort using the primer/paint/pearlessence for it to get scratched up?!!

    Thanks! I look forward to seeing what is yet to come!!

  43. krystal says:

    I’ve got that textured wallpaper in my bathroom & on it’s ceiling too. I love it for covering major wall problems!

  44. spiceylg says:

    Wow, I’m new to your blog and you really are amazing. What an eye you have! Beautiful work!

  45. Ellya Brill says:

    Definitely the etched wall paper panel ! It’s beautiful, elegant, unique, ohhhhhh……….I love it…!! Especially with the glass top…….what a brilliant idea…..!!! You are such an inspiration……..keep posting your beautiful creative make over…..!!! I am glad I found you !


  46. Saby says:

    Love the cabinet!! It just looks so nice and fresh – what a difference! Hey I was curious – did you like the rustoleum brushable latex paint you bought? I bought some yesterday (kono brown) to use on the top of our buffet and after the first coat it looks purple. Did you find you had to do more coats with this type of paint? There is a picture of our buffet with the first coat at my blog Any suggestion you have would be greatly appreciated!!

  47. beth says:

    i have done this type of “crazy”on furniture, too! I would consider-as a compromise-faux finishing the center panels to play off the multicolored throw pillow…and add some metallic in the layers. WOW. Distinct but still subtle. I’ve tried that type of wallpaper and found it tends to be too…obvious. Depends on your decor!

  48. peggy printz says:

    I love it, I have the same wallpaper and used it on the ceiling in a hallway. Now it know what to do with the leftover pieces! thanks,

  49. Laurie says:

    I absolutely love this! I have an old cabinet of my grandmothers that I would love to paint. Its original color is the dark cherry wood. Something keeps me from painting an antique. What are your thoughts.

  50. Sarah Pierce says:

    I love the look with the wallpaper.. I am actually considering doing the same for the cabinets in our laundry room, white as well… With decorative, vintage knobs from Anthropology. I am curious though how you were able to cut the wallpaper proportionally to the cabinet door. How did you do that? I would love to know!

  51. Debbie H says:

    Absolutely amazing!
    I love the wallpapered panels too! So different. Just beautiful!

    Love the mirrored top and all the reflections of pretty things! Nice!!

  52. Tia says:

    This is so awesome and what a great touch the wallpaper added to this revision. Thumbs up!

  53. Cheryl B says:

    I love the anaglypta! My sister is doing the lower part of her dining room walls with it right now. I can’t wait to see what color she uses to paint it!

  54. jamie slay says:

    Soooo jealous of this one!

  55. AS says:

    I love this idea! Great job.

  56. Suzanne Byrd says:

    Wow! On my way to Lowe’s this minute for that wallpaper. What a fabulous look!

  57. FarialM says:

    Wow, I must say you are a HUGE inspiration to me. Every one of your projects amaze me! :)

  58. Lynda S says:

    You are so good and you have really inspired me to try and focus on my craft projects. My family demands always seem to take me away from my projects.

  59. Emily says:

    Is this piece made out of wood or laminate?? I absolutely love this look and hope to find something similar so that I can re-create this for my own home!

  60. aimee says:

    wow it looks so beautiful soooo much better painted cream i love it xxx

  61. Mary Kay Trilla says:

    Soooooo Clever Just Love It!!!!!!!!!!!

  62. Rebekka says:

    My best friend, husband, and I built an entertainment center and used your textured wallpaper idea for the cabinets. I was wondering if you could help me. It has only been in the house a few days and already has mustard splattered on the wallpaper! (how did this happen? Couldn’t have anything to do with my 2 year old….) When I went to wipe it off not only will it not come off but some of the paint started to come with it! We put layers of polyurethane on it but it’s obviously not enough to protect it. Is there any type of finish that will protect it better and allow me to wipe it clean if it is ever attacked with mustard again?

  63. Centsational Girl says:

    Oh my Rebekkah, why does this always happen with our 2 year olds??? So sorry all of your hard work is tarnished! As long as the wallpaper isn’t damaged, I’d simply touch up the paint and use several layers of a water based polycrylic on top. Gloss versions tend to be more stain resistant and easier to wipe down, at least that’s been my experience with furniture!

  64. Lindsey says:

    I am obsessed with your pictures and project above!!!! Absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!! Very inspirational!

  65. Zobiana says:

    I find your projects so inspiring! I feel like running out now and buying paint…

  66. Annette says:

    Wow… I have to say, I’m torn too. My initial response was, “GASP! WHAT???? Wallpaper? Over that gorgeous panel?” But I have to say, it’s really growing on me, quickly. Besides, who needs to decide? Like you said, it only takes a few minutes to switch them… You can do as your mood dictates. I think I’m going to have to find an unsuspecting piece of furniture to try this on! hehehe

  67. Yesenia says:

    What adhesive did you use to attach that wall paper?
    Would it work on laminate?

  68. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Yesenia, you could use wallpaper paste, but you’d have to prime your laminate first. A little watered down Elmer’s craft glue might work too! And there’s always Mod Podge.

  69. Yesenia says:

    Hmmm Mod Lodge might be easiest since I have it already. Thanks !

    By the way.. followed your tutorial for the wood applique dresser and it looks awesome! Just the thing to wake up my 10 year old boring Ikea dresser! Painted a glossy white with antique finish knobs. Can’t thank you enough for the easy to follow instructions an inspiration!!

  70. Kristy says:

    Hi Kate!
    I came across this post while searching for Pratt & Lambert locations online and I am so excited to use this finish on my dining room built-ins! I have stripped the paint from them with a heat gun and chemical stripper to reveal mahogany tops. After I restain the mahogany I plan to do the opalescent effect on the bottom half of the cabinets and drawers. Thank you for the inspiration!

  71. CentsationalGirl says:

    Sounds beautiful Kristy!

  72. Betty says:

    Just an FYI, Pratt and Lambert no longer carries the Ovation Opulence Pearl. Ugh!

  73. Diana says:

    Love your dresser! Would it be necessary to use primer if painting my dresser dark brown with turquoise? I’m planning to also add the distressed look. The dresser does have veneer top and side panels. Thank you so much!


  74. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Diana, I’d receommend Annie Sloan Chalk paint for the distressed look, no primer required!

  75. unbelievable!!!!!!! The best makeover I hav ever seen!!!! You are super talented!!!

  76. Katie says:

    You are incredibly inspirational! How do you feel about Anthropologie’s knobs and pulls? I absolutely love so many of them, but I’ve read on a couple of sites that they’re poorly made. Have yours held up?

  77. CentsationalGirl says:

    Yes those in particular have held up Katie, I haven’t had a problem with any of them.

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