$10 Cabinet Makeover

September 9, 2013

So I’d been on the hunt for months for a little media console cabinet thingy to house books (for now) and a future flat screen TV (when the budget permits) for the studio above our garage. Lucky me, I popped into the Goodwill last week and I found this $10 cabinet that was the perfect size but not the coolest look at first glance.

But you know me, never deterred by initial appearances, I worked a little DIY magic on this old relic and brought it into this century with a modification that included new mirrored panels with a X pattern, primer, and white paint.

thrift store cabinet makeover


I think this bi-fold door cabinet would still be cool if all four panels were that raised geometric pattern but the iron grill combo totally threw me off.

iron geo combo

Whatever the original designer was trying to say wasn’t working for me so the first thing I did was to verify the panels could be removed. Yep!

removeable panels

Oh but most importantly. Check it, ten dollars for solid wood.

10 dollar price tag


(If you spy one of these old fuddy duddy cabinets always check the panels to see if they’re removable. It’s a more difficult process to cut them out if they’re not but it could still be done.) Anyway, I wanted to simplify the busyness of the panels and make it look more contemporary, hence the new mirrored panels with the criss cross X motif.

I sanded the top with my orbital sander since it suffered from surface damage, a few scratches, etc.

quick sanding

I’m a Zinsser girl so I’ve gotten in the habit of using the spray formula for vertical surfaces but rolling on a coat of the brush on to the top (sometimes two coats). I find for heavily used horizontal surfaces (coffee tables & kitchen tables), the brush/roll on formula provides extra durability. I always use foam rollers designed for cabinets and then toss it when I’m done.

two kinds of primer

roll on primer


Just like with this mosaic tile bathroom mirror, I went to Lowes to have mirror cut to fit my cabinet doors. $11.51 for four pieces yes eleven dollars and fifty one cents total for custom cut mirror, can’t beat that!

custom mirror

To secure the mirror to the inside of the primed cabinet doors, I used a household silicone adhesive sealant, this one has always worked well for me for adhering glass to most anything.

silicone adhesive


I painted the cabinets with Chalk Paint in Pure White. I’d been wanting to try this color for a long time since I’ve always used Old White in the past, and this hue is what it says it is: pure white.  AS Chalk Paint doesn’t usually require priming but old stained oak will bleed so a primer that blocks stains saves you time and headache if bleeding should occur.

pure white chalk paint


To create the X pattern, I picked up two 8 foot pieces of flat lattice at Lowes.



Matt cut the angles with our miter saw with the same technique used on these criss cross planters. I adhered the pieces to the mirror with more silicone adhesive and filled any small gaps with lightweight spackling.

spackling to lattice trim


A little touch up paint and new glass knobs was all the cabinet needed and it has a whole new look.

painted thrift store cabinet after


For now I’m using it for storage but the plan is to use it as a media cabinet in the future with a flat screen on top and equipment/DVDs below.

bifold x pattern mirrored doors

thrift store makeover centsational girl


The acrylic lamp I bought at Target years ago, it’s been sitting in a closet waiting for a new spot, but good news it’s still available. The typographic Manhattan print by Famille Summerbelle is available here (frame from IKEA), and the retro silver wall phone I ordered a few months ago from here.

thrift store cabinet makeover centsational girl


I know I’ve been saying it for years, but it’s true, the Goodwill can be such a goldmine!


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184 Responses to “$10 Cabinet Makeover”

  1. Peggy says:

    Excellent Work! Our local goodwill would have that item tagged at $80.00.

  2. Cammee says:

    Incredible! This is a stunning makeover!

  3. Jamie Merg says:

    WOW! Love this!! And I love the way you took the pics to make it an easy DIY

  4. That is so beautiful. I never would have thought you could have that “after” when you started with THAT “before”!

  5. Ariane says:

    That’s some spectacular makeover !! Good job indeed :)

  6. OMG! I can’t believe you did all that with $10. Amazing. It looks fantastic – congratulations. Cheers, Alison

  7. Kristine says:

    C-A-RAZY bargain! I did something very similar to a credenza a few years back though it cost me closer to $70! You get the BEST deals. Love the x’s (I am slightly obsessed with x’s on furniture).
    PS The previous issue with the weird links is working fine now, so hopefully it is no longer a problem for you.

  8. Teresa says:

    AMEN on the Goodwill. I have said many times on Houzz that if you want to decorate your house for less money and maybe a little elbow grease (remind me where I put that jar of elbow grease at) go to the Goodwill or other Thrift Store. You truly have to be open to the experience and what you might find.

    The cabinet looks amazing and I have wanted to try the chalk paints out myself. Did you seal it with anything? I may have missed that.

  9. What a fantastic before and after! I didn’t realize it was so easy to take the panels off of some of these cabinets. Great job!

  10. the price was right with the finished product looking amazing. Wouldn’t mind having this in my living room.

  11. Debbie says:

    I have to tell you this is the BEST revamp that I have seen from all the other sites that I visit. You did a really awesome job. It takes a good imagination to see past the ugly to the beauty that you have created. Best wishes to you and your future projects. What a GREAT JOB !!!!!!!!

  12. Debra says:

    OK! You are amazing! You certainly have creative vision.

  13. Chandra says:

    Kate, this totally reminds me of Ballard’s Belgard Cabinet. Fantastic redo! http://www.ballarddesigns.com/belgard-cabinet/14278

  14. Christie says:

    I am AMAZED! What vision you have. Makes me sad that we just sold an old record player console at a garage sale.

  15. Julie says:

    Wow! Really nice! I was wondering if the grates that were in there could be used for anything interesting? The top of a coffee table with glass, or just to hang on the wall…or are they just dated?

  16. Karen Baer says:

    Obviously you are not old enough to remember! This may have been an old stereo cabinet, hence the grill work with fabric on two of the doors. This was for the speakers. My folks had a similar one!

  17. Jane says:

    Haven’t tried chalk paint. Did you apply wax or another sealer?

  18. Angela says:

    The after picture completely blew me away. I totally expected that there were mirrors behind the iron which was newly panted—nope! Can’t even tell it’s the same cabinet. And I love to know that Lowe’s custom cuts mirrors. I’ve had an empty frame for awhile. Can they do ovals?

  19. This makeover completely blew me away and completely inspired me! That is the true joy of creativity, sometimes all you need is a little inspiration and you’re off and running on your own project. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Jen says:

    All I can say is wow! I wish I had your vision.

  21. Megan W. says:

    Seriously! I mean can I just walk around the inside of your creative mind for like, say, an hour? I mean I used to think I was a creative soul and then I stumbled upon you a couple of years ago and you continue to blow me away with your ability to see beyond what is in front of you. What a gift, and the fact that you share it with us without charging! That is the true beauty of “paying it forward” the gifts God has given you! Thank You.

  22. Holly K says:

    Stunning! You did an amazing job. I have been out searching for the same type of piece and this would have also been much more expensive in my area. Lucky! I just used ASCP Pure White this weekend on a project, for the first time and was considering doing a table with it. Did you use a roller for the top of this to get a smoother finish?

  23. Feral Turtle says:

    Wow. That is an amazing transformation! Looks like a designer piece….well I guess it is! Cheers

  24. Cindy says:

    HA Your age is showing….It is a throw back to the Mediterranean style, so very popular in the 70’s.
    Great deal and an awesome make over to something way better then faux Mediterranean style.
    I love it, clean and contemporary.

  25. LOVE it! Reminds me of a stereo cabinet my parents had when I was a kid. :) Lovely makeover.

  26. SueL says:

    “Say what” is right! What an AMAZING transformation. You are truly brilliant!

  27. C Carroll says:


  28. Kristi says:

    Gorgeous!! Wondering if you sealed the top?

  29. Melissa M. says:

    Did you finish this piece with the Annie Sloan wax or something else? Just curious what your preference is and how the durability is :)

  30. maggie says:

    I would never have envisioned that! I love it but would have looked at that cabinet and thought ‘ugh’ and walked on by.

  31. Megan Frank says:

    This is brilliant. I’m inspired to do more thrift shopping. I usually get discouraged when i find nothing of value or at high price tag at Goodwill. Maybe I need to have a little more faith in good luck.

  32. CentsationalGirl says:

    Yes the top is sealed with clear wax, forgot to mention Kristi!

  33. CentsationalGirl says:

    Just a good quality brush on top Holly, but be sure to paint in temperatures below 80 degrees, that allows for more open time when brushing.

  34. WOW!! you did a phenomenal job with this transformation! love it :)

  35. CentsationalGirl says:

    I gathered it may have been for stereo equipment Karen because of the speaker like backing behind those grills, but then observed it was a solid panel, hmmm. Perhaps it was meant for the doors to be opened when playing, but we’ll have to keep one door open and folded to the side when TV/DVD watching is happening. :)

  36. CentsationalGirl says:

    Wow, great comparison Chandra!

  37. CentsationalGirl says:

    That is so kind, thank you Megan. :)

  38. Sharon B. says:

    Wow!!! I think this is one of my favourite makeovers ever! You took good solid but ugly piece of furniture and turned it into something absolutely beautiful. Now I’m going to be looking for a cabinet with removable inserts in the doors. Thanks for the inspiration.

  39. Sharon B. says:

    That is GORGEOUS! Amazing transformation. Love all the accessories too. I can’t get over that is the same piece as before!
    So after using ASCP pure white and old white, which one do you like working with better and which color? I’m thinking of trying ASCP but not sure which of the whites to get. Thank you! Sharon

  40. Monica says:

    Turned out great! My local Goodwill is very pricey. But our local Salvation Army has awesome prices.

  41. Grace says:

    What a beautiful piece this project proved to be. Great job on the make-over.

  42. Marisa says:

    Never in a million years would I have guessed that was the same cabinet – fabulous!

  43. Bonnie says:

    L0VE it!!!

  44. Bonnie says:

    LOVE it!!!

  45. Kathy says:

    This is amazing …your so talented and it turned out amazing..thanks for sharing the how to !!

  46. AHHH!! This is amazing! I love it so much I want to punch my computer screen!! hahaha

  47. Ami P says:

    This post could not be more timely. I have been looking for EXACTLY that type of console/sideboard! I actually saw a near identical piece (mirrored with x-design) on Hooked on Houses ‘Little Couple’ and fell in LOVE and looked everywhere but never found one less than 1000 buckaroos. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the after. I NEVER would have looked at that cabinet and thought it could be made to look like that. You have soooo inspired me. Thank you!!

  48. Rita says:

    Kate, that is truly amazing. I just love it! I have never seen anything that cheap at any local Goodwill stores.

  49. Claudia says:

    Love how it turned out…I have to agree with several of the other posts, our local Goodwill stores do not sell that cheap.

  50. Julie B. says:

    Wow, what an awesome makeover! The Goodwills by us are so expensive! They would charge $100 for that cabinet, easily. Nice score!

  51. CentsationalGirl says:

    I was really surprised by the pricetag too, usually these kinds of pieces are $50 or more but it was in the front of the store in a “reject” pile and I think that’s why I got so lucky with the $9.99 price tag. :)

  52. Diana says:

    You make it seem so easy. I tell myself “one day” I will redo furniture like Centsational Girl. Thanks for sharing.

  53. april says:

    This is truly fantastic. I’ve been dying to paint / update an armoire my husband and I bought a million years ago at an antique store, but he’s a stickler for keeping the original wood tone. :( I’m gonna show him THIS transformation so he can see that painted furniture can look really amazing.

  54. Agnes says:

    Amazing Transformation!

  55. jessica pappa says:

    you do aazing things!!!i LOVE EVERYTHING you are soooo talented!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. Elfya says:

    Wow!! Super nice!! Shows that possibilities are endless when you are willing to put some extra work into things!

  57. This is a crazy awesome makeover, and you did a fantastic job!

  58. CRAZY GOOD Kate!!! I hope this inspires DIYers that have been simply painting over original cabinet to hide all the heavy scroll work for the 70’s. Your makeover brings it current and very budget friendly. So crazy how good you are :)

  59. It’s perfect. You NEVER fail. And where do you find the time. I’m a sucker for the Classic “X” detail- always!

  60. Nancy B says:

    That cabinet looks absolutely amazing!! I’m constantly floored by the things that can be done. Thanks for sharing!!

  61. Ally says:

    AMAZING makeover. I cannot believe that is the same piece. Great find and great work.

    Plus, I’m totally jealous. I have been searching high and low for a similarly sized console table to replace my aged TV stand.

    Yours looks amazing.

  62. Lisa says:

    Wow!! a great transformation!

  63. Good heavens, Kate! This one takes the cake! You’ve done some pretty fabulous furniture makeovers in the past, but this one tops them all in my book. This is fantastic!

    Thanks for the tip about the mirrors at Lowe’s–I had no idea they could cut glass and mirrors! That’s an awesome resource!

  64. Amazing the difference some paint and elbow grease can make! I love it!

  65. leslie says:

    That transformation is smashing!! Just gorgeous. When I saw your before I thought it would end up looking like a clunky dresser I transformed, ah, but no…. You tricked it out so elegantly with mirror!!

    Here’s a good indication of what all that geometric work would have looked like painted. I do still love mine and I’m not sure mirror would have worked, maybe on the drawers?


    I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for a proper candidate!!

  66. marox79 says:

    I was on holiday abroad when you initially published this, but I was so blown away by this incredible cabinet makeover that I’ve been searching my reader for this post so I could tell you how much I love it.
    It’s hard to believe this is the same piece of furniture.

  67. CentsationalGirl says:

    Thank you Leslie, and SO pretty! I love your makeover, thanks so much for sharing!

  68. Jenny V says:

    What a stunning makeover! Thanks to you I was inspired to paint my 6 year old Ikea Billy bookcases from black-brown to white. They have doors on them and now I’m excited to add mirror and the “x” design as will. Wow!!!!

  69. Melissa S says:

    That is AMAZING!!

  70. Deborah sacchi says:

    So inspired by you! I’m redoing a guest room, have old but solid cherry wood dresser and end table. I would love to do the same to. I cannot find the Annie Sloan chalk paint near me. What else could I use?

  71. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Deborah, you can certainly use conventional paint too, I really love the Ben Moore Advance formula for cabinetry.

  72. Hilary says:

    Shut the front door! THIS IS AMAZING!!!!! Wow! If I find something similar I will absolutely be copying you. I generally like before and afters as inspiration. This I am taking as direct orders and am now obsessed on finding something similar to work for storage and a buffet for our dining room/family room transitional wall. Patience will be necessary, but with that classic design it’s not like it’s going out of style any time soon. Thanks for the inspirations. One of my favorites ever from you! From anyone for that matter.

  73. Luckily there are people like you in the world who see one thing and can imagine it as something completely different. What a great choice you made to swap out those old panels for these modern, clean ones. Quite the transformation!

  74. Barbara Zimmerman says:

    FABULOUS! What a glamour puss of a silk purse from an ugly sow’s ear!! Well done!

  75. Reena says:


  76. Angela says:

    “Unfreakingbelievable!” Amazing what you turned that cabinet into. I’ve got a ton of stuff I consider trash which you would probably see as treasure! Wish you were my neighbor. But I’m sure I’d be picking your brain so much you’d end up moving away!!

    Awesome job!

  77. Brittney says:

    That is FREAKING AMAZING! Lol My Goodwill would have that at $100.00 smh

  78. Stacy says:

    Please, please, tell me how you get these big, heavy pieces home. My Salvation Army has great prices, but I can never figure out how to get these things to my house.

  79. CentsationalGirl says:

    I have had the big ones delivered (some thrift stores offer that service) or find a friend with a truck! You can rent Uhaul types by the hour I think.

  80. Chrissy says:

    Can I just say I’m TOTALLY jealous?? I live on the Gulf Coast, and good luck finding any piece of decent furniture at a thrift store for $10. I can pretty much guarantee that if there was something even remotely similar at any of our local thrift stores, it would probably be marked at least $75 if not more. SIGH!! Awesome redo though – thanks for sharing the whole step by step process, so much nicer/easier to follow.

  81. Melissa says:

    Amazing transformation! Finished piece looks like it came from Ballard Designs catalog!

  82. Kimber says:

    I wish all DIY instructions were so well done. You did a beautiful job!

  83. Screendoorgirl 3 says:

    Awesome makeover! Thanks so much for sharing. Beautiful job..

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