This corner cabinet makeover took this piece from ornate and dated to crisp black and shaker-style with just a few pieces of trim, some wood filler and paint.
I have had this corner cabinet (my grandmother’s) since my grandfather passed away about 25 years ago.
It was a gift from him to her and it’s beautiful. I’ve had it on display everywhere I’ve lived and have had it chock-full of her china and teacup collection… unfortunately, it was never my style and never matched any of my other furniture.
As part of my dining room makeover, I decided it was time to update this corner cabinet to fit in a bit better with the rest of my decor.
Dining room makeover projects:
- Gorgeous DIY Wainscoting
- Refinishing hardwood floors yourself
- Grandma’s corner cabinet makeover. (you’re here)
- Installing a jaw-dropping chandelier (coming soon)
- Built-in bar (coming soon)
Corner cabinet makeover
This cabinet is a little ornate for my taste. With a fairly elaborate glass insert (that actually hid more of the china than it displayed) and the router details on the drawer and doors – it was just… “a lot”.
My kitchen cabinets (and the soon-to-be built in bar) are shaker style, so I decided to create some consistency and create that here as well.
I sanded the entire cabinet with 120 grit to rough-up the surface and remove any oils, polishes, and surface products as I could. The goal is to sand down to, and slightly through, the clear coat that was on it before. This ensures that there aren’t any oils etc left that will impede the adhesion of primer and paint and it gives the primer a surface that has a bit of grit to “grip” to.
Then I filled in all of the router details with DAP Drydex. I let it dry completely, sanded the surface smooth and then applied a second coat to level it out again (it never seems to fill perfectly on the first coat?).
I did the same on the drawer front, filling in the holes from the old handles as well. No point getting rid of the ‘ornate’ and then keeping the fancy handles right?
This next part I did in the wrong order – mainly because I forgot about trimming the cabinet doors and drawer out. 🤦🏻♀️. (so ignore the fact that there is primer under the trim)
I ripped down a 2″ x 4″ to 1/4″ strips and then cut them to size. Using wood glue and finishing nails, I tacked them in place and then filled the seams and nail holes with more Drydex.
Once the glue and filler had cured, I was able to sand the trim work down to give a nice, polished finish.
If you aren’t adding any trim to your corner cabinet makeover, then you can skip those last bits and just go right to priming your piece.
My cabinet was going from brown to Benjamin Moore’s “Black beauty”, so I went with a grey primer – 2 coats over everything except the backing. Apply one coat, let dry for about an hour, sand lightly with 320 grit sandpaper, wipe clean, and then apply your second coat.
I removed the backing to make spraying the cabinet easier, and because I wanted the inside to be white. I found the dark brown didn’t make the contents shine or stand out and instead it looked like a big shadow behind the glass insert. I wanted fresh, crisp, clean and a bright backer so that the contents would show.
The backer boards received 3 coats of white primer.
Again, I primed before attaching the trim work (and then had to prime again afterwards) so this photo is a bit off – but you get the idea of how pretty the new trim is going to look.
After a final sanding of the primer at 320 grit, I used my paint sprayer to apply the Black beauty – in Benjamin Moore’s Advance formula – onto my corner cabinet.
Three light coats of black with the required dry time in between coats (16 hours with the Advance formula) and my corner cabinet makeover was just about done.
I reattached the (now painted) white back boards and installed some brushed nickel knobs.
Isn’t it gorgeous?!
I’m so pleased with how this corner cabinet makeover turned out – I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner.
Truth be told, I actually put this cabinet up for sale before deciding to paint it.
When all it needed was a very small change to make it my own (and hers at the same time).
The contents of my corner cabinet are a mixture of treasures from my Grandmother (she hand-painted that morning glory plate), my Mom, and some hand-made pottery from my daughters.
It’s showcasing 3 generations of precious memories.
Just a reminder of what it looked like before:
(Don’t worry, I kept the glass insert – just in case)
And the after:
It really is beautiful in my new dining room – and I’ll show the entire makeover really, really soon!
Have a great one!