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. Holly says:

    Truly amazing! My jaw was to the ground on this one. It is just fabulous!!!! So jealous…

  2. Jessica says:

    Love it!! You did a great job as always. My vote is for the wallpaper as well. It just gives it that extra something. Either way, it’s simply beautiful!

  3. Hallie says:

    Definitely the wallpapered side – love that!

  4. Love the wallpapered panels. You did an amazing job!

  5. Irene R says:

    Seriously, that is absolutely amazing! I cannot believe that is the same cabinet. You’ve outdone yourself!!!

  6. Amanda says:

    This weekend I found 6 rolls of textured wallpaper at Goodwill for $1 a roll, all still in their original packaging. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them, but now I do! Thanks for sharing another fabulous project!

  7. Andrea says:

    I sighed audibly at your initial reveal with the plain panels…beautiful transformation! But when I got to the wallpaper panels, I let out an audible gasp…stunning! You do great work girl and continue to inspire me!

  8. Gina says:

    This is just too, too beautiful. Love the etched panels – so understated yet adds texture to all the cream. Really love the knobs. I am in awe of this transformation!!

  9. Lisa says:

    I just LOVE it. Plain is beautiful but the etched is FABULOUS! Beautiful transformation.

  10. Sharla says:

    This turned out great. Do you put a protective coat of something on after you are done painting to keep it from chipping?

  11. Morgan says:

    Wallpaper! Beautiful either way but really love the wallpaper look. :)

  12. ButterYum says:

    Ooh…. I love the wallpapered panels. Stunning transformation!!


  13. Nice job, Kate! I love the way the color turned out and the mirror on top ~ genius, instead of just using plain glass. I like the panels both ways. Maybe you could alternate every six months ~ plain for Spring/Summer and textured for Fall/Winter.

  14. Heather says:

    I LOVE the wallpaper. I’ve been swooning over paintable wallpaper for the last week. I can’t wait to put it to good use!

  15. julie says:

    wow! I’m so inspired! I have a cabinet from my grandmother that looks so similar…with reversable inserts….hmmm….do i dare paint it….walpaper it…?! The finish is so old and needs a makeover soooo bad. Ooooo….Thanks for Sharing! I’m so excited!!

  16. Breanna says:

    i would definitely go for the wallpaper panels!! you can always change them later.. and they add so much originality.. looks like you paid top dollar for that piece!! good job!!!!

  17. Rebekah says:

    The addition of the textured wallpaper on the door panels was INSPIRED. Wow! This makes me want to throw everything else I need to do today out the window and get to work on the buffet I got at Goodwill right after New Year’s. Too bad it doesn’t have any removable panels I could put textured wallpaper on!

  18. Kristin says:

    What a gorgeous makeover, I love it! I didn’t know they made paintable wallpaper, what a great idea!
    Thanks for sharing :)

  19. casey says:

    wow, wow and wow. enough said!

  20. AHH! I love this!!!!! I have a similar dresser that is on my list to redo and I love the wallpapered panels! Keep those for sure! This is fantastic! I love the iridescent look and the metallic look, I am incorporating that into my bedroom thanks to your suggestion months ago! I am posting about it this week!:)

  21. Andréann says:

    oh, I’m totally in love with this! You always come up with the right solutions…
    My fav would be the wallpapered panels, it adds a great texture to it all.

  22. This is gorgeous, Kate. I love the mirror on top, just so glamorous.

  23. Erin says:

    Fantastic! I love the wallpaper!

  24. This is so gorgeous…Love the wallpapered panels…Subtle texture. Beautiful! Good job.

  25. Grace says:

    This is such a beautiful makeover! I am curious to see what you did with the insides of the buffet, do you have any photos?

  26. laurie eller says:

    they’re both gorgeous, if you ask me. personally if i could keep only one side showing i might go with the plain side. with all the other things you have going on in the room, you won’t miss the etched paper…but in the end, you did such an amazing job with this piece. i’d buy it in a heartbeat! lurve it!

  27. Evy says:

    Oh my, I love it! I love the wallpaper, it adds a lot of charm to the already beautiful cabinet.

  28. Kate, that is absolutely stunning – way to go! My vote is for the textured panels, it just adds the “and then some.” :)

  29. Tana says:

    I am in love with this project and not ashamed to say I am doing this to my bedroom furniture! Love the wallpaper!
    Thank you!!!

  30. Shea Lynn says:

    Kate this is awesome!!! The mirror on top is my favorite part. Oh, and those knobs……WOW. It’s so beautiful. Great job, as always.

  31. Theresa says:

    WOW! This is absolutely stunning!! I really love the wallpapered panels. You did a wonderful job! Thanks so much for sharing.

  32. Julie says:

    Seriously amazing!!! I’ve been wanting to paint my ugle bedroom furniture white but I’ve had such bad luck. I did a dresser for my daughter’s room and the top already pretty much ruined. I sanded and primed, but it’s like it never quite set or something. We had a fan on it last summer and where the feet sat it pulled the paint off. Any tips?

  33. vicki says:

    What a beautiful transformation! I really like the idea of the paintable wall paper and I think both are really beautiful but I think I like the one with the wallpaper because it makes it unique. I also love the idea of the mirror on top. Great project… I am going to try this with a cabinet in my dinning room. Probably won’t go with the mirror for mine because my interior is less formal. Will use glass instead but the rest of it…absolutely!

  34. Claudia says:

    omg that is AWESOME!!!

  35. sarah h. says:

    GORGEOUS. wallpapered panels ALL the way. so clever and such a remarkable outcome!!

  36. This is my favorite post of yours~ GREAT GREAT GREAT job! I’m still drooling!

  37. theresa says:

    Love, love, love it!!! The etched panels! And I like how you decided to use mirror for the top.

  38. It’s gorgeous ! You surprised me, I thought you were going to put mirrors inside the doors……

  39. Cheryl in Edmonton says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I like the etched panels myself, even though I lean toward clean modern style most of the time.

  40. Shazia says:

    I love, LOVE the wall paper textured side.!! Well done

  41. Ann says:

    I like the plain panels because of the knobs. I don’t think the knobs are quite right for the textured option.

  42. sharon says:

    “You wallpapered the inside panels ? You go girl !”

    Great job … love the mirror on top.

  43. Sarah says:

    Jaw droppingly GORGEOUS!! I prefer the ‘etched’ panels. Great, job!

  44. ally says:

    I LOVE the subtle contrast of the wallpaper. It mixes it up a bit. But just a bit.

  45. Tonya says:

    Both are awesome, but I think the wallpaper takes it up a notch! LOVE IT!!! Great redo!

  46. Jenna says:

    This is INCREDIBLE! I’d love to see a pic zoomed out, so we can see how the new piece looks in the room!

    Also, I vote for the wallpapered panels. It just adds so much texture and interest, and it makes the piece one-of-a-kind. You’re incredibly talented, and if you started a design consulting business, I’d totally hire you!

  47. Pam says:

    Fantastic! I love the wallpaper panels in there. Great job

  48. Struggler says:

    I suspect the popular vote is coming out in favor of the wallpapered side! We like them because they’re creative and unusual :)

  49. michelle says:

    This cabinet looks fantastic. I love the panels both ways.

    I made your chicken tortilla soup and it is my new favorite soup of all time! My husband loved it too (and he is not a “soup person”). Thanks again for sharing. I am so glad to have your recipe.

  50. Jenny says:

    You’re my hero! Keep the panels!

  51. Sarah says:

    What a find! It looks beautiful. I’ve been searching for that perfect piece from craigslist and local thrift stores to re-do too. But this looks great.

  52. Jenoside says:

    So you painted over veneer? Have you done this before? How does it stand up to wear and tear? I have all kinds of things that are veneer that I want to paint over, but I’m oh-so-frightened!

  53. Alice A says:

    What a fabulous job! And how fun that you can change it out at will….. the best part is how much book and magazine storage you get along with the beauty… Sure beats the plastic and cardboard under my bed! Your whole house is so gorgeous and chock full of wonders! The master bath is too beautiful… thanks for all you share…. Inspired!

  54. Heidi says:

    I love it! Can I ask where you got the glass top? I refinished a desk a couple months ago and have been wanting to find a glass top for it. Any advice? Thanks!

  55. Heather says:

    I’m headed out first thing in the morning to buy this paint, wait a minute, better head to my local Thrift store first and find something to paint!
    Love it,

  56. Patti says:

    That is GUH-OR-GEOUS!!!! Love both “looks” but the textured side wins, it looks like a million bucks! Great job. I gotta get me some of that textured wallpaper.
    Thanks for posting this!

  57. cribtales says:

    Who hasn’t seen this exact type of cabinet at a thrift store (or their mama’s back room) and thought it a hopelessly out of date piece — but alas, you have done it again, made it beautiful and timeless and elegant. I prefer the panels with the texture – it would fit right into my own bedroom thank you very much! Well done, just lovely!

  58. meghan says:

    Loved the etch look.
    This cabinet is divine!
    Gosh, you are so talented.

    I am using your blog for inspiration to redo my bedroom while dh is out of town for awhile.
    Hee hee.

  59. Mari says:

    Textured wallpaper has my vote!

  60. Michelle says:

    It looks beautiful!! Fantastic job!! I like it both ways but my fav is without the wallpaper.

  61. Oh I may need to go buy some opulence pearl for the bookcase I am currently working on.
    I absolutely adore the painted wallpaper (who knew?) accents.

  62. Allison says:

    LOVE the wallpapered version! Your so crafty girl!

  63. Natalie says:

    Oh my! I saw a very similar hutch at a local thrift store that I am beating myself up for not buying. I love it both ways. I tend to like a clean line/simpler furniture so I am leaning toward the plan panels but really like the wallpapered ones too. That wall paper would look fab behind a bookcase! Ooo…got to go get some!

  64. Rugger says:

    Nicely done!!!! The wall paper panels are just the thing to give it, well the more refined look. The mirrored top was a Centsational idea. I’ve seen dozens of those cabinets and I think they belong at the dumps. However, your transformation is just amazing!!! Yet again, you’re simply amazing!!!!!

  65. I say you could put me out of business!!!!! Marvelous! Keep the anaglypta paper!!!!

  66. Laura says:

    Totally love it! Beautiful!

    I used paper like that in my dining room, just the bottom of the wall, love it!

    You do such good work! I wish I had a piece to do like that! We have old 80’s oak b/room furniture. Can’t for the life of me figure out how to redo it!. Has rounded edges and is solid as a rock.



  67. Love it! I so have to start painting my furniture white.

  68. Sarah says:

    Oh my that looks so lovely! I am redoing my little girl’s room and the theme is Marie Antoinette (inspiration is the movie with Kirsten Dunst) and you just convinced me to paint her bed this color. It is gorgeous!
    One question – did you use rollers or a paint brush to paint your piece? It looks awesome with no streak marks from a brush. I want to have a very smooth finish for her bed. What did you use/recommend?


  69. jeffrey says:

    What an inspiration! i’d love to paint something, anything and see if it turns out half as good as yours.. but i am still not brave enough! can i just ask, do you have to paint the insides of the drawers/shelves too? and do drawers slide out easily thereafter, if they are painted??

  70. chelsea says:

    Definitely the wallpapered panels. I love them!

  71. Ellen says:

    papered panels…definately…and I love the whole package…as you said…you go girl! smiles.

  72. Lynne says:

    Gorgeous! I love the glass knobs!
    I like both looks, but like how the textured pannels add unexpected detail. Great job!

  73. T-Bone says:

    Love the wallpapered panels…it gives it a personal touch. Unexpected. I have a piece that I’m getting soon from a friend. I’m thinking of doing the same to the front panels of it.

    Love the idea of using that type of wallpaper for the back of bookshelves!

    So many projects…so little time….I have to get to work!!

  74. Jen says:

    I prefer the smooth side. Although I do like the textured side, the finer details, like the shape of the cabinet moldings, the door cut out shape, and the pulls, makes it a little overbearing for me.

    As someone else asked, did you add conditioner to the latex to get such a smooth finish? A high quality brush?

    I am totally into the pearls shades too. That’s how my master is, but with chocolates, steel blues, and a splash of cream.

  75. Jen says:

    Oh my that’s lovely :) And I heart textured wallpaper – looks fabulous – and that sequined/beaded pillow on your bed? Calling my name. I can still hear it.

  76. suzanne says:

    Oh, I LOVE the patterned wallpaper! it adds so much! GREAT job!


  77. Meredith says:

    I’d totally go with the textured side, it looks excellent.

  78. kate says:

    Elegant and gorgeous! Love it! My vote is for the papered panels. I would have said the plain ones, but after seeing the bedding…the two go perfectly! ….speaking of the bedding, I must know where your duvet cover came from! I’ve been looking for a plain white(ish) for our room, but everything is really *too plain*! Yours is perfect!

  79. Tauni says:

    W.O.W. This piece looks amazing!!! I am sitting here wondering how many times I have walked past a similar piece at the thrift store and thought, ug, ug, ugly. If only I had the vision you do…In any event, LOVE the textured side, it is VERY glam.

  80. This piece of furniture is almost beautiful enough to make me teary-eyed! You are a wizard with furniture. I love the etched panels. Le sigh.

  81. It is beautiful either way. Wow, I am impressed you have the time to do all this!!!


  82. Ralu says:

    Both versions are centsational :), but the plain one is more up-to-date, modern look, because of its minimalism; the textured version adds a more elegant, retro feeling, because it’s more baroque.

  83. Lee Laurie says:

    Amazing! I love it. I think that I love the textured panels the best but the other way is beautiful too!

  84. lindsay says:

    Oh I love the texture panels. I could also see just them painted a fun color with the pearl paint over it.

  85. denise says:

    When I saw the pic of the plain panel I said, “oh, she’s usually right on and this is missing something.” and then you brought on the texture. A definite yes in my opinion.

  86. Stephanie says:

    Geez….you should have your own television show!!!

  87. Megan says:

    Love what you did, what a transformation. I love the piece of glass on top, looks very classy. I just did a post on “leaving on a Jet Plane”, because my sister just went back to California. How funny, great minds think alike.

    Super fan of your blog!


  88. Donna says:

    I can’t take it! So amazing. I’m going to Goodwill right this minute. The snow is coming this weekend and they describe it as “plowable” YIKES but I don’t ca re cause now I have something to do ha! Thanks for all you do and now “I’m outta here too! ” <3

  89. Nice! You are crazy-talented. I’ve enjoyed reading through your blog and decided I should say hello!

  90. Lily says:

    Wow!!! Truly amazing. You’re such an inspiration.

  91. Jacquie says:

    Love the wallpaper version!! What a great idea – go Kate!

  92. Wendy Pearce says:

    Beautiful! You could also replace the panels with mirrors! Just a thought! :)

  93. stephanie says:

    Hello there – I just found your blog via Design Sponge. I must say, I am so impressed by your talent & I find myself meticulously studying your photos for tips on how to update my own home. I love the look of the patterned doors!

  94. I was just about to recommend maybe mirrored panels in the doors if you can find a way tio do this, and reattach the knobs. I think it would be AMAZING.

    Between plain and wallpaper, the wallpaper no doubt. It’s fabulous!

  95. Lovely transformation!

    I’m hosting my first giveaway on my blog and wanted to invite you to stop by for a chance to win fine art print(s):

  96. Kristin says:

    You are seriously a genius and I am jealous of your decorating abilities! lol That is amazing!

  97. Condo Blues says:

    I like the textured panels. It adds an unexpected pop. Nice knobs. My husband calls Anthropologie “the knob store.” It’s one of the few stores I can get him to go in with me.

  98. I just love this. It is so beautiful.

  99. Tonya says:

    I just wanted to say that “vegasy” is totally a word. I wouldn’t go looking it up or anything, but it’s real. For sure.

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